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An Exclusive Interview with Barbara Hoffbeck
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
March 2019
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
March 2019

She Writes got the opportunity to chat with Barbara Hoffbeck Scoblic, the author of Lost Without the River about her writing routine, the publishing process and getting personal on social media.

Share your writing routine.

Get up. Toast and coffee. Still in my pajamas, begin writing or editing.

I  begin every story by writing in longhand. Even when I’m considering a problem that isn’t related to writing, I think better with a pen in my hand.  At some point, I go to my computer and transcribe those very rough ideas to a printed copy. I always edit from a printed page.  And then I revise, revise, revise.

Describe your writing style in three words.

Sensory, immediate, lyrical.

What is the first thing you can remember writing?

A poem when I was ten or so. Long lost. Just as well.

When did you start to feel like a writer?

In high school, more so in college when I began to take journalism classes. On my first job as a city reporter, I found that I enjoyed writing feature stories, and my editor encouraged me to write more. He handed me a list of suggestions. I still remember one. In those days, postmen (there were only male postal carriers at that time) left the post office early in the morning and didn’t return until late afternoon. The editor thought readers would be interested in where, with  several feet of snow on the ground, the men stopped to eat their lunches and how they found places to relieve themselves. I set up interviews and kept the appointments, but because I never had the courage to ask the second part of the question, the article was never published.

Was there something about the publishing experience that surprised you?

How much of yourself you have to “give away” on social media for the sake of publicizing your book. I’m a very private person, and I’m still struggling with this.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Read the publications you hope to reach and research their requirements before you spend time researching and writing. I learned the hard way. Does anyone know of a publication that’d like a 4,800-word short story?

What do you do to help develop your craft?

When I segued from writing fiction to writing memoir, I bought several books on the art of memoir writing, and studied them, as I had my textbooks, by underlining and affixing tabs. As always, I  continue to read with an eye to finding the perfect word,  a revelatory description, an unforgettable sentence.

What methods are you using to market your book?

I’ve teamed up with a wonderful publicist, Caitlin Hamilton Summie, who’s been great in helping me focus my efforts in this daunting marketplace. She’s connected me with bloggers who have similar audiences, and who’ve invited me to write guest posts and feature excerpts from my book on their sites. I’ve also started an email newsletter for friends and family to keep them up-to-date on these posts and other news about my publishing journey.

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