Monday, October 20, 2014

St. George Book Festival Keynote Speaker Dean Hughes




Dean Hughes has published more than 100 books.  He has written fiction as well as non-fiction for all ages: children, young adults and adults. He is best known for Children of the Promise, a series of historical novels about the World War II.  He and his wife Kathy have three children and nine grandchildren.  They live in Midway, Utah.
 

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? 
I started pretending I was writing when I was four.  I didn’t know all my letters quite yet, and I couldn’t read, which made it tough.

Where did the inspiration for (title of book here) come from?
I’ve written many books, and my “inspiration” varies.  But I don’t set out to teach.  I set out to create a good story—one that challenges readers to think and feel and care.

What made you choose to write a novel?
I’ve always been a story teller.  By the time I was in junior high I was telling people I would be a writer when I grew up.

What is the main message or theme that you hope readers of this book come away from it with?
My books have had many themes, but I hope no “messages.”  I’ve written several books about war, and I hope that a reader comes away from them feeling what a horrendous thing war is.  But I don’t preach that idea; I try to show it.

 Who is your favorite author?
I’ve never been good at “favorite” questions.  Why do people like one color better than another.  I just don’t get that.  Would we want to give any of them up?  Well, I’m the same with writers.  I read children’s books, novel, non-fiction, and a lot of history.  How could I choose one author from all those different fields.

 Do you have a writing routine? A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?
Pen?  Do people write with pens?  Somehow the idea has gotten around that writers need a certain set of circumstances to feel “inspired.”  That’s another thing I don’t get.  Mainly, I sit down in the morning and write all day.  Every now and then I get a new computer and adjust to the latest word processor.  I do have a favorite pen—but only for autograph parties.

 Do you enjoy edits/rewrites, or not?
Writing is mostly editing and rewriting.  What I find tough is first draft.  After I get a draft into my computer, I have something to work with.

Please tell us a little bit about your journey to publication:
I wrote my first book when I was eighteen.  It was turned down.  I wrote another in college.  It was turned down.  I became an English professor and wrote a young adult novel.  It was turned down.  I wrote a children’s historical novel in 1978.  By then I was thirty-five.  That book was finally accepted.  I decided to take a year off from teaching and write full-time.  That year ended up as seventeen years.  Since 1978, I’ve published almost every year of my life.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?
Getting started in the morning.  (And filling out interview questions.)

Are there any common themes that you feel are particularly important to write about?
I am always trying to create believable characters.  What I want is for readers to gain a deeper understanding of other human beings.  That’s what fiction can do, and that’s what makes it worth doing.

When you're not writing, what are your other hobbies/passions?
I love to read, of course.  I also enjoy traveling and photography.  (I combined those two with a trip to Antarctica this last winter.)  I feed birds (and photograph them.)  I play golf.  I fly fish.  I spend time with my wife and with my children and grandchildren.  I’m busy with work in my church.

 Are you working on any new projects?
I’m always working on new projects.
Quick Fire round:

Coke or Pepsi?
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Rainy winter days or blazing hot summer days?
Hard Copy or e-book?
I can honestly answer, “both” on all these. 

Favorite book?
I really can’t pick just one.

Last book you read?
“The Boys in the Boat”

What's a quote that inspires you?
Fifty-Four Forty or Fight.  (Just kidding.  I don’t know.”

What's your favorite comfort food?
My problem is, I can’t find enough food I don’t like.  I love escargot and I love a big hamburger.  Writer now I’m trying to comfort myself less, and it isn’t easy.


St. George Book Festival October 20-25, 2014 - Learn More at http://stgeorgebookfestival.org

Monday, October 13, 2014

2014 St. George Book Festival Interview with Teri Harman



Teri Harman is an author and book geek. Her books include BLOOD MOON, and the upcoming BLACK MOON, STORM MOON and A PAINTED LIFE. She also writes a book column for ksl.com, and contributes regular book segments to Studio 5, Utah’s #1 lifestyle show.  

Join in the magic and chaos at teriharman.com



When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? 
It may sound a little cliché, but always. I was born a writer and storyteller, like many of us are. The first story I remember writing (and still have) was when I was four years old. I dictated it to my mom, who typed it on her electric typewriter. It was a rousing tale about a cow.

 Where did the inspiration for (title of book here) come from?
Funny enough, a Halloween party. Every year I throw a witch-themed party for the women in my family. In 2010, I found a killer location: The Fairfield Schoolhouse at Camp Floyd State Park, Utah. It’s one hundred years old and has great atmosphere. With this great location, I needed the party to match, so I started doing some casual research into witches to get ideas for décor, games, food, etc. I stumbled on an off-shot of Wicca – Natural Magic – and was fascinated. I kept reading and finally my husband suggested I write a book.

What made you choose to write a novel?
My love of reading. I’m addicted to books and stories in all forms. Writing a novel came naturally (though not easily.)

What is the main message or theme that you hope readers of this book come away from it with?
At its heart it’s a story about a couple learning to work together, to face hard things and still love one another.

 Who is your favorite author?
It’s so hard to choose! From my childhood, Roald Dahl. More recently, Kate Morton.

 Do you have a writing routine? A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?
Yes, as much as a mother of three young kids can, I have a routine. I write in some way every day. I write at my desk in our bedroom so I have a little privacy but can still hear and see what’s going on with the kids. I write on a MacBook Air with a large monitor attached. I keep notebooks: one general writing notebook for ideas, words, characters names, etc. and also a notebook for each book. It’s the only way I can keep track of all the details.

 Do you enjoy edits/rewrites, or not?
Yes and no. I love having a rough draft down, but sometimes the revising is the hardest part. I’m more of a discovery writer, though I do a bit of outlining. That kind of writing involves a lot of going back and forth, changing things, or even cutting things.

Please tell us a little bit about your journey to publication:
A long, hard road. I started my pursuit of authorhood almost seven years ago; it took six to see my book on a bookstore shelf. It took five years to get an agent. I’ve been rejected over a hundred times, possibly more, by agents and publishers. But each rejection is a learning opportunity. BLOOD MOON was the second novel I wrote – the first wasn’t good enough. This is a seriously tough business. Even once you’re published it’s hard. But it’s also so rewarding, which is why I keep at it.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?
Worrying about being successful. As I said, this is a HARD business. It’s always a struggle and sometimes that can be overwhelming. So it’s essential to keep perspective and hope.

Are there any common themes that you feel are particularly important to write about?
No. That’s a joy of books – there’s something for everyone, on any subject, any theme. Write about what is important to you because it’s also important to other people.

When you're not writing, what are your other hobbies/passions?
Reading – lots of reading. Also, cooking, hanging with my family, hiking, traveling, and watching too much TV on Netflix.

 Are you working on any new projects?
Yes! All I will say is it involves typewriters magically typing love letters.

Quick Fire round:

Coke or Pepsi? Dr. Pepper
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Rainy winter days or blazing hot summer days? Rainy winter days, please.
Hard Copy or e-book? ALWAYS the real thing.
Favorite book? The list would be way too long. But two: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl and “The Thorn Birds” by Collen McCullough
Last book you read? “Dependent” by Brenda Corey Dunne – heartbreaking, raw, triumphant
What's a quote that inspires you? ‘Talent is cheap. What really matters is discipline.’ – Andre Dubus
What's your favorite comfort food? Homemade brownie with cold milk

Come see all the exciting events planned at the St. George Book Festival October 20-25, 2014 at http://stgeorgebookfestival.org!