Interview with Melinda McGuire (@melindamcguire)

Starting a new feature on my blog: interviewing other writers or bloggers about their writing or blogging. It’s still very early stages, but I think it’s only fair to shine some light back on some people who have encouraged me in my beginning  as a blogger.

Melinda McGuire, @melindamcguire on Twitter, is a sweet Twitter friend. She had an idea about interviewing Southern creatives (#STHRN) on her blog (melindamcguirewrites) and has interviewed some great people. I had the good fortune of just returning from a trip to William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, pitched her my idea and she was gracious enough to accept it.

In a spirit of “paying it forward” or helping expose readers/book signing lovers to new people and events- I interviewed Melinda. Read on to out more about The Grand Festival of Books in Fairhope, AL; Melinda’s favorite book, #literaryconfessions she has, and her advice to beginner writers!

Thank you, Melinda, for taking the time to answer the questions. I sincerely hope you have a fantastic time at The Grand Festival of Books and meet tons of interesting folks!

Interview with Melinda McGuire

Why did you decide to become a writer? Was the decision a life-long dream?

I can’t remember a time of not writing or at least writing stories in my head. If I didn’t write, my house would be much cleaner, but I would be miserable! It wasn’t really a decision so much as filling a need. I knew I had to write, that I was meant to write, so I went about acquiring the skills to do that. Thankfully, the most important skill in being a good writer is being a voracious reader!

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

My favorite part is sitting down with a blank document pulled up on the computer and listening to the story the characters tell me. I just try to transcribe as fast as I can. That’s my favorite part – getting to know the characters, where they are coming from, what’s happening, why they are important.

Do you like meeting fans at book signings? What is the best part, in your opinion, about book signings?

I LOVE talking to people at book signings. I am meeting people who like to read and I like to read, so automatically we have that in common. I am not a very good salesperson, so I focus on meeting new people, getting to know them, where they are from, what books they like. I like being around people, especially readers, so book signings are wonderful opportunities.

The Grand Festival of Books at Page and Palette in Fairhope, AL will be October 5th and 6th. What can visitors expect from this event?

There’s going to be over 150 artists and authors there, so I hope that visitors can expect to have a great time! I am excited to be going and thrilled to have been invited. This is my first time there, but I am looking forward to being in such a creative, artistic environment, and I cannot wait to meet the readers, writers and artists who attend.

When you write, are any of the characters based on real-life people?

Tamara, are you trying to get me in trouble?

I think that all writers take bits and pieces of people, whether it is conscious or not, and morph them together to make their characters. Some writers borrow more directly from the people in their lives, but for most of us, our characters are compilations of people we’ve known.

Any advice for beginner writers?

1 – Write, write, write. Stop talking about writing and write. Stop thinking about writing and write. Nothing’s going to happen until you get the words out of your head and on the paper.

2 – Write for your IDEAL reader. Once you get your first draft out of the way, do your revising and editing and subsequent drafting with your ideal reader in mind. There are going to be people who do not like your style, your character, plot, setting, whatever, but you aren’t writing for “everybody”. You are writing for your specific audience, and your specific audience starts with your ideal reader.

What is your favorite book of all time?

No question – Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner. I have many other favorites – To Kill a Mockingbird, In Cold Blood, but for me, it all starts with Faulkner.

What books are you currently reading?

I am re-reading Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. James Franco is filming the movie version in Mississippi in October. I am excited to see his adaptation. I am also reading $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

Name an author (dead or alive) that you would like to meet.

Besides the obvious answer, Faulkner, I would like to meet Hemingway, maybe even at the same dinner so I could watch as they threw literary insults at each other!

Do you have any #literaryconfessions?

One of my #literaryconfessions is that I hated poetry until I watched Dead Poets Society, and then I went and read every poem mentioned in the film and tried to force myself to like ALL of them. It didn’t work, but I did develop a greater appreciation of poetry. And, because of that film, I wanted to sound my own barbaric yawp!