Are Writers Born Or Made? – December 2010

Are Writers Born Or Made?

By Harriet Hart


bridge-dec10Mary Rosenblum is a science fiction and mystery writer who published her first story in 1990 and her first novel The Drylands in 1993. It won the Compton Book Award for Best First Novel and since then she has penned seven more. From 1992 to 2002, she wrote the Gardening Mysteries series under her maiden name, Mary Freeman. As a result, she has two sets of loyal followers: the ones who devour her mysteries and those who eat up her science fiction.

Mary says her writing began before she could actually write, when she was a bored little girl forced to accompany her mother on shopping trips: “I entertained myself by making up stories about escapades of imaginary creatures in the fascinating universe that existed at the floor level of Kaufmann’s and Gimbels.” At school, she was not encouraged by her teachers: “You had to be born a writer, apparently, and I lacked the scarlet W on the forehead.” It wasn’t until much later that she began writing her stories down, but once she got rolling there was no stopping her.

Mary teaches at The Long Ridge Writers Group, an online/by mail writing school where she recently designed the Long Ridge Novel course with Pam Kelly. She also teaches at workshops and conferences, most recently the Willamette Writers Conference held in Portland, Oregon, in August 2010.

“I love each new student,” Mary says. Each one is a new adventure and I do my best, in our time together, to make that student as strong in his or her ability as I can.” Mary Rosenblum will lead two sessions titled: Revisions: Strengthen Your Voice (the nuts and bolts of editing) and Publishing Today: Idea to Audience (a survival guide for authors confused by today’s digital world).

Mary will be joined by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni, who has been likened to a young John Grisham and called “the undisputed king of the legal thriller.” He has written five best selling novels in this genre: Bodily Harm, Wrongful Death, The Cyanide Canary, The Jury Master and Damage Control.

Robert Dugoni graduated in Journalism from Stanford University, worked for a time as a reporter, returned to university to study law and practiced his new profession until his love of writing won out and he quit to become a full time novelist. He is an experienced and dynamic public speaker whose topics for the lakeside conference are: Bringing Your Writing to Life and Creating Memorable Characters.

Lakeside writers can learn from these two professionals by attending the 7th Annual Writers Conference which will be held January 26th – 28th at the Hotel Real de Chapala. Conference organizers guarantee that even if you were not born a writer and lack the W on your forehead, you can still improve your skills.

This year there will be two new features: registrants can have their work critiqued by retired creative writing teacher Jay White on January 27th from 7 till 9:30 p.m., and a sales table will be set up for registrants with books to sell. Conference planners are resurrecting last year’s hilarious worst sentence contest.

You can register at Diane Pearl’s Gallery on the corner of Colon and Ocampo or at the Friday Writers Group at La Nueva Posada or by contacting Kay Davis at The cost is $950 pesos before Christmas, $1150 after, and includes four sessions, two lunches plus coffee and snacks.

Ojo Del Lago
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