Local author Michele Young-Stone returns this Wednesday, July 8, 3-5PM at our Scarborough Faire Shops in Duck. Before you come out and meet her, get to know Michelle, the author behind Above Us Only Sky.
Now that we’ve gotten to know your new work and a little about your love of reading, maybe you can share with us a few things about your writing life.
Q: Once again, when did you start writing?
A: As soon as I could put a pencil to paper. I always wrote with my head down on my desk, a no-no in first grade. Bad posture, you know, is not acceptable. My teacher, Mrs. Davis, was not a fan of mine. I escaped through the sounds the letters made, and later the words themselves. By second grade, I wrote stories and poetry, and my parents thought I was copying them out of books.
Q: What was your first published piece?
A: My first novel, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, in 2010. It had actually been my graduate thesis when I was getting my Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Q: Tell us about a day in your writing life:
A: I have thought of so many ridiculous answers like, “Before I start writing, I watch QVC for hours, ordering endless boxes of Chinese junk I don’t need,” but actually, I like to write in the morning before I go to Zumba (my favorite), or swim, kayak, or walk. Later, I squeeze in some time for social media stuff like Tweeting and Facebooking, and then I write some more before picking my son up from school. Sometimes, if I’m on the run, I write in my car, at a coffee shop or at the library. Like most moms, I help with homework, make dinner, and spend time with my family.
Q: What advice do you have for young writers starting out?
A: Go to the page with confidence. If you don’t believe in your talent, no one else will. If you don’t love writing, don’t bother doing it. Be grateful for constructive criticism. Don’t fear it. The best writers never think their work is flawless. They just stop revising because they’re exhausted.
Q: What is your favorite quote about writing?
A: “Kill your little darlings,” by William Faulkner. Basically, cut the text you love because if you super love those words, you probably love them for a selfish reason, and not for the betterment of the text. Be willing to sacrifice your favorite prose if they don’t forward the story. If you’re able to kill the little darlings, you know that you’re not just writing for yourself but for your audience. I think it separates the women from the girls, the men from the boys, the professionals from the amateurs.