JN – My mother was a writer and an artist, she used to read her poems to us for critique even when I was a toddler, so it was just a part of my life from birth. I remember the shock when I learned that not everyone could draw or make up stories. But I gave it up for a few years – from 2000 to 2004 – then picked it up again thanks to an online Role Play group, and I guess that’s when I discovered that I actually *enjoyed* it – I wasn’t just doing it because I was “supposed to”.
VAH – What is your best advice for emerging writers?
JN – Learn to take criticism. I know, it’s the same thing everyone says, but you have to do it. The first time I got critiqued – really critiqued – I got mad. Now, I still think “Hrmph! They don’t know what they’re talking about!” Only instead of stopping there, I let their comments percolate and most of the time discover they were right. You really need more than one perspective on order to have a good book, because no two people think alike, and no two people notice the same plot holes or artifices or overused words or typos or…
VAH – Do you have a favorite conference or writing retreat, seminar or workshop?
JN – Alas I have never been to one of these either. I keep thinking one day I will work up the courage, but… well, I won’t lie. After reading some self pubbed author’s experiences I’ve shied away. I understand the climate has changed in the last four years, but…
VAH – If a full time writer – what would you be doing if not writing as an occupation? If not a full time writer – what is the day (or night job) that sustains you so you may write?
JN – I do book covers for other authors, as well as random freelance graphic work and some formatting and things like that. Most of the time I do more of that than writing, sadly.
VAH – What books or authors keep you up at night (because you can’t put them down)?
This is where I have to admit that I don’t have much time to read. The last book I stayed up all night for were the second and third of the Hunger Games books. It took me awhile to get into them because of the distracting fragmented, first person style, but after I moved past it they were quite engaging.
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