B. Lynn Goodwin – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

You Want Me to Do What? offers encouragement, instructions, and over 200 sentence starts to help anyone start putting their thoughts on paper. Those who have tried it, love it, and Sharon Bray, the author of When Words Heal: Writing Your Way Through Cancer has said, “As someone steeped in the therapeutic value of writing during pain and loss, I think B. Lynn Goodwin’s book meets a need that has yet to be addressed.”

Tell us something about yourself.

I live east of Berkeley, CA and west of the San Joaquin Valley at the foot of Mt. Diablo. I am a teacher, editor, freelance writer, former caregiver, and the author of You Want Me To Do What? – Journaling for Caregivers (Tate Publishing). I am published in Voices of Caregivers; Hip Mama; the Oakland Tribune; the Contra Costa Times; the Danville Weekly; Staying Sane When You’re Dieting; Small Press Review; Dramatics Magazine; Career, Caregiving, Self-Care NCDA Monograph; 24/7—a caregiving anthology; We Care: Families of Loved Ones Magazine; The Sun and numerous e-zines. I facilitate journaling workshops for caregivers and publish Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com.

When I’m not writing, editing, or teaching online, I might be reading or walking the world’s best senior shih tzu, Mikko McPuppers.

What inspired you to write this book?

I cared for my mother for six years while she struggled with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s. During this time my outlet was my journal. Whether I wrote three sentences or three pages, journaling eased my frustrations and fears. I know it works, but I wasn’t sure caregivers knew about this great way to relieve stress, so I wrote the book to help them emerge from daily stress renewed and empowered.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?

I went with Tate Publishing because they seemed like the right fit for this niche book. Every time I get positive feedback from a reader I know I am reaching my audience, and I am pleased to have the book touching many lives.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Some days I would say it’s knowing when to trust my writing and when to revise it.

Some days I would say it’s quieting the negativity gremlins who resist every chair, pen, writing surface, and typo.

Some days I would say it is the fact that writers float or flounder for so long without validation and the uncertainty that creates can be overwhelming.

How do you do research for your books?

It depends on the subject. I lived my research for You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers, but a background teaching English and drama and my education also helped.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

I learned that less is more. I confirmed that sentence starts are a flexible, dynamic tool for writers, blocked writers, and non writers. I learned that I could tailor a time-consuming passion for those with no time. As I marketed and the economy shifted, I learned that everybody is a caregiver for someone. I continue to learn every time I teach a class that uses the book.

What are you reading now?

I just finished reviews for Lisa Shannon’s A Thousand Sisters and Ellen Block’s The Language of Sand. I am also interviewing Zoe Fitzgerald Carter’s Imperfect Endings, so all of these books are in my head. Last night I started Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place, Jonathan Kellerman’s Rage is on the CD player in my car, and I will soon be reading the entries in Writer Advice’s Fifth Annual Flash Prose Contest.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I like memoir and women’s fiction. When I want a change of pace, I might read political biographies or mainstream news magazines. I like The Sun Magazine. Sometimes I want to curl up with a familiar character in a mystery series or read something international. Sometimes I read poetry, and once in a while the right science fiction book grabs and holds me. I love reading the books of writers I know personally. I like variety.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

All I can tell you is that the amorphous blob is still reshaping itself. So many ideas…so little time. Seriously, I think about several projects, and I’ll know when I’m supposed to know. Meanwhile, I am a frequent guest blogger and I’m always working on the upcoming issue of Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

A writer is someone who writes. Write for yourself. The publishing world is changing so fast that writers can chart their own courses.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

I do everything from author interviews and radio shows to presentations and workshops. I’ve met a lot of new people and made friends around the country and outside of the country by reaching out with the book.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Visit http://www.writeradvice.com/ to learn about my book and me. While you’re there, take a look at all the resources available to writers.

The book is available at that site, at Amazon and other online bookstores, or from your local independent bookseller. I give workshops in journaling for all kinds of writers and caregivers through e-mail, through Yahoo Groups, and sometimes face-to-face. Let me know how I can help you.