This week's winner of our new "15K" contest -- which will feature the writer who referred the most new members each week from now until we hit the 15,000 member mark -- is SUE MAYNARD! (WE LOVE YOU SUE!) SW Founder Kamy Wicoff asked her Five Questions...invite writers to join SW, and next week, it could be you!
Kamy Wicoff: Tell us about yourself! What kind of writing do you do, and why?
Sue Maynard: Well, let's see...I was born in a little town...no wait. You've probably heard that one already!
Basically, I've been writing for myself for about as long as I can remember. All through my school years, I was always starting little extra projects on my own - trying to write down all the stories in my head. But I rarely ever finished them. I took a few continuing education writing courses online through Ryerson's Chang School (shameless plug - they've been wonderful to me) a few years ago, and found I loved being part of a writing community, but again let it slip away from me for awhile. Then, during a period of time when I was feeling particularly down, NaNoWriMo came around for another year, and I decided - why not? So I picked some characters I'd created for a previous course - but to whom I had never given a story - and just sat and wrote what would end up being my first novel, Carving The Light. From the moment my proof copy arrived in the mail, I knew I was hooked. I've been working on other writing projects ever since!
Kamy Wicoff: What do you think is the hardest thing about writing?
Sue Maynard: Honestly, for me, the hardest thing has been SHARING it. With other actual people. Strangers, even. Reading to my cat isn't the same as putting it out there in the world for people to judge. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster, really, because even while I was writing it, I never really intended to let anyone else read it. Heck, I didn't really think I would even finish it. I was writing it for me - it was cathartic. And I was, in my imagination at least, also writing it for the person I dedicated it to. To give us a place we could exist together. I was most anxious when she was reading it (and lucky for me she loves it), but I've found that all of the comments and thoughts I've been getting back on it - even the awesome ones - are leaving me feeling a tad exposed! lol
So I think that's been the hardest thing. Writing it is easy - until you consider the idea of someone else reading it. Then you second guess EVERYTHING.
Kamy Wicoff: Share the most important lesson you learned from self-publishing your book.
Sue Maynard: Oh my gosh, I've been learning so much! I've learned that CreateSpace is awesome and easy and they have a terrific team of customer support staff! I've learned that marketing and promoting a book once it's printed can be the hardest, most fun, and really rewarding experiences ever - and that it requires way more time and energy to succeed at it than writing the novel did in the first place!
Kamy Wicoff: When did you know you wanted to become a writer? Were there special storytellers in your life?
Sue Maynard: I think it's one of the things that I just always wanted to do. It was the best way for me to express myself, no matter what I was feeling at the time, or how overwhelmed I was. The struggle to find the "right words" was a sort of calming thing for me. And reading was my main escape. I still read pretty much every night before I go to bed. It's the perfect way to end a day, and I feel sort of indebted to all of the authors who helped me create my imaginary world while I was growing up; they gave me magic and adventure and joy. If I could do that for someone now with my own writing, that'd be the best way I can think of to pay it forward!
Kamy Wicoff: What are you working on now? Use this space to promote your work -- your blog, your website, you name it. You earned it!
Sue Maynard: Okay! I'm always looking to get the word out about Carving The Light, of course. It has its flaws, but it's my first baby, and I'm extra proud of it! (To get Carving The Light: Paperback ($9.95) Kindle ($2.99))
My next project is for younger readers (and the one after that will be YA), and I am hoping to have it out later this summer. It's a re-imagined version of Snow White titled "Ebon Black and the Seven Dryads". It's about a boy, Ebon, whose evil stepfather tries to keep him from becoming the Richest Of Them All. Ebon is rescued by a group of female Dryads who live in the forest caring for the trees. There are, naturally, 7 of them: Joc, Weepy, Cranky, Sleazy, Nerdy, Needy - and Pam. It's a brand new twist on a classic tale, and I am ridiculously excited about it!
For details on that and more, you can check out my blog at http://suemaynard.blogspot.com/
And don't forget, if you are the one to refer the most new members to She Writes this week, from Monday, April 18th to Sunday, April 24th, YOU AND YOUR BOOK, WORK OR BLOG will be featured next Monday on 5 Questions!