Author Interview with Connie B. Dowell
I’m interviewing Connie B. Dowell, author of non-ficton “You Can Love Writing”. Enjoy the interview.
When did you know you wanted to become an author?
I can remember the exact moment. I was a tiny thing and my favorite pastime was making “books” by folding and stapling computer paper (the old dot matrix kind; if I was really proud of my work, I even carefully removed the dot strips.). After who knows how many books, my dad offered to make me a “hard-back” one using foam board and duct tape. As I began work on the freshly bound book, I decided I would publish this one. Heck, I would make this writing thing a career. Well, it took me twenty-two years to get a book to publication, but I like to think that it if it weren’t for the duct tape it wouldn’t have happened at all.
Where did you get the inspiration for You Can Love Writing?
Last summer, I was working with a student who made some great progress with her writing in a short time. The best part of the process was watching how much she learned not only to organize her thoughts and use transitions but also how to embrace her role as a writer and enjoy the process. I had recommended a number of great resources to her, including Grammar Girl’s excellent works. I thought there really ought to be something like Grammar Girl for the big picture elements of writing, there ought to be a book about having fun with the process. It wasn’t long before “Someone should write this” turned into “I could write this.”
What is your editing process like?
First, I sleep on it. It’s just too overwhelming to finish a draft and start revising it right away. The first pass is for big picture stuff, things that would require rewriting or moving pieces around. Once that’s done, I look at connective tissue and the sentence-by-sentence edits. I drink a ton of coffee. Then I have someone else look at my work. I make the changes needed from suggestions in the same order, big picture stuff first, then copyedits. Then comes the professional editor’s role and associated responses to those suggestions. I drink more coffee. Coffee is key to successful editing. I suppose tea drinkers might manage okay, but I am slightly skeptical.
What was the most challenging part about writing this book?
The trouble with writing on a topic you spend your days teaching is that it’s hard to know when to stop writing. I had to remind myself many times of my intended scope for the book, and I couldn’t let myself go on forever. This was meant to be a short guide, not War and Peace.
What are your writing goals for 2014?
I’m planning on getting two more manuscripts through developmental edits and completing one short story. All three of these are rather research-heavy projects. The research is actually going to take close to the same amount of time as the actual drafting.
Are you working on something right now? If so, can you tell us about it?
I’m mid-first draft on a young adult historical mystery dealing with Southern suffragists. It’s a blast to write and to research. I’ve had the most fun combing through old schoolbooks (from real 1910s schoolgirls), touring historic houses, and learning about the women who dedicated their lives to ensuring that future generations of women would have a political voice. I anticipate the first book in this series to come out in the spring of 2015.
About the Book
Author: Connie B. Dowell
Genre: Non-Fiction, Educational
How would you like to
- perform with the passion of an Oscar winning actor,
- compete with the drive and fervor of an Olympic athlete, or
- teach like you’ve got a Nobel Prize slung around your neck
all while doing your homework?
Believe it or not, you can do all of this and much more in the course of writing your college papers. This book takes you through the overlapping stages of the writing process, using game mechanics, cooperation, and learning styles to help you have as much fun as possible and take charge of your own education. With exercises and activities for groups and individuals, this text focuses on the meat of writing, the big picture elements that matter most in both college papers and real world writing situations, all with an eye toward enjoyment.
Sit down, crack open this guide, and give your favorite notebook a big hug. You may not have a choice about writing your papers, but who says you can’t love them?
Connie B. Dowell is a writing center coordinator and freelance editor. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Library and Information Science from Valdosta State University. She lives in Virginia with her husband, where they both consume far more coffee than is probably wise.
Twitter at @ConnieBDowell
Facebook at facebook.com/editorcbdowell