The second outside reading I attended was supposed to be a Writers house Skype session with Bret Anthony Johnston on I believe it was November 27th in Murray room 302 once again. Unfortunately he flaked on the writer’s house program so they got someone else to Skype in last minute.
The Skype session was with Alethea Black. She’s the author of many short stories and other books that are either full novels or collections of stories. I think her most famous work is I Knew You’d Be Lovely. I believe it is a collection of short stories. I certainly enjoyed this outside reading a lot more than the first one I went to. This one was a lot more personable because Alethea skyped in not so she could read some of her work or make it all about her instead she took questions from professors and students in the crowd about how she got published, her writing processes, what advice she would give to upcoming writers. In fact she even included her dog in the Skype session because she would not stop barking.
There was pizza and drinks there, which was great for me that day because I had skipped breakfast and I was starving. It was a very chill and laid back an environment. She made herself feel like she was all of our friends and didn’t act pretentious or entitled. It was great. I really enjoyed her story. She actually didn’t get to writing later on in her life in like her late 30s which I thought was very unique. I guess with creative writing it’s never too late to pick the pen or charge your laptop and create a piece of writing that could go on to be a successful published book.
The most interesting thing about this session was definitely her story on how her book was noticed and published. Originally she had written I think it was one or a few short stories and submitted them for publication. One thing lead to another and then her few short stories was to be turned into a collection so she had to complete the book for publication. She spoke of how she acquired a literary agent by looking around for all the ones she heard good things about. It just so happened that her number one choice agent actually wanted her as a client. She said it’s great to have an agent because they are always looking out for, for example her agent now tried to secure movie rights for her book which I think is pretty awesome. Imagine if her book was to actually be made into film? I wonder how much money she would make from it.
I definitely enjoyed this writers house program because it presented the business side of creative writing and I feel like that’s something that is very neglected by us upcoming writers. I realized I wasn’t as informed about the publishing world as I should be. This was for sure an eye opening experience.