LA: How has attending conference(s) assisted in your writing career?

JO: The conferences have built confidence as I learn more craft each year and interact with writers in all genres.  I have been lucky to learn from high quality faculty who are generous with their mentoring efforts.

LA:  If not previously published, are you now published?

JO:  I was not published before I attended the first conference. I am now published. My short story, The Stud Table was published in 2014 in The Birmingham Arts Journal,  Volume 11, and Issue 3. This issue of BAJ is devoted to the winners of the First Annual Electra Awards sponsored by Alabama Power Company. In an effort to support the Arts in Alabama, Alabama Power has provided generous cash prizes. I did not win the big bucks but was provided a Publication Award in BAJ.   
To enter the Electra Awards I had to cut the word count of my story by 500 words. With the help of the writers group, Ladies of the Revue, the story was edited, entered and won publication. Ladies of the Revue is a byproduct of the Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference. We each have a body of work that needs to be published. We meet and revue each other’s work, prepare it for publication and voila.  You can read mine on page 28 of the BAJ (Volume 11 and Issue 3).  
LA:  Has your focus/foci changed as a result of any lectures?

JO: Several lectures have been greatly beneficial to my approach to the craft. I recently gained momentum from listening to Mark Jolley, Mercer University Press Editor.
LA: What help did you received that was most effective and beneficial (e.g., dialogue, character building, description, etc.)?
JO: A poetry light came on in my head in Nick Norwood’s (Columbus State University) workshop a few years ago. His presentation of focused types of poetry enabled me to write the best poem I had ever written, The Springer Stage.
LA: When did you first become interested in writing as an avocation or vocation?

JO:  I became hooked on story telling when I was working in Theatrical Costuming, going to production meetings where scripts are manipulated to work live on stage.
LA: What genre have you chosen to pursue?

JO:  I write fiction and poetry and aspire to script writing.
LA: What do you like to read?  Favorite authors?  Why?
JO: I like to read fiction. My favorite authors are wordsmiths, i.e., Ray Bradbury, Pat Conroy who I read over and over. I also like Stephen King for nothing but story.
LA:  Recommendations for faculty in future conferences?
JO: I didn’t get enough of Karen Zacharias in 2014. She is so generous with her instruction.
LA:  Favorite quote to live or write by?
JO:  Write like you live. Save the edits for last.


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