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The Writer’s Corner: By Julia McDermott…What’s Happening

The Writer’s Corner:  By Julia McDermott…What’s Happening

Do you read books written in many different genres? Or do you stick with one, because you know that is the only one you like?

I read many different types of fiction and some nonfiction, and I like most kinds of art and most kinds of music, too. Although I have my preferences, I’m often willing to give something I don’t always choose a try. I didn’t intend to write in multiple genres, but perhaps because I like to read a variety of stories, I did so, and my two works in progress are not in the same genre.

Speaking of which, have you read the bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens? Do you plan to see the film based on it that just came out? I don’t always pick up bestsellers, and for months I didn’t intend to read this one. But on the advice of a book club member whose opinion I trust, I got a copy of the novel and was immediately drawn into the story. I plan to see the movie tomorrow. The novel is a combination of genres: one part coming-of-age, one part romance, and one part courtroom drama. It’s very well written, the plot is compelling (without being over the top), and the characters come alive on the page.

Last weekend, I was invited to view a video of Owens speak about the book and answer questions about it and her writing journey, at a private event in Atlanta. She has written nonfiction, but Crawdads is her first novel. Four interesting things that she revealed are:

–       It took her ten years (and thirty drafts) to write

–       She used an outline at first, but as the story evolved, she tossed that aside and let the characters speak and the story flow

–       Originally, she wrote the story chronologically, but eventually chose to have it go back and forth in time, and

–       At first it bothered her that some call it historical fiction, some call it a love story, and others call it a crime novel—but she let go of that concern and doesn’t mind at all now.

I found the above very intriguing because I relate to each of them in my own writing endeavors (well, not the ten-year thing, although my first novel took several years to write).

Depending on the story—and on a myriad of other factors—some books take longer to write than others. My second two novels took about eighteen months to write, and so did my nonfiction book. I thought about my short story for a year before I wrote it in a month’s time. One novel I’m working on is taking longer than the other, which is almost finished. And the editing process has its own timeline.

I was fortunate to connect with lots of authors and participate in many events during the years I lived in Atlanta. Now that I’m in Florida, I’m getting involved in the vibrant local writers’ community and enjoying the sunshine and the beach when I’m not hard at work. On September 27, I’ll appear at an event with another writer to be hosted by Story & Song Bookstore and Center for Culture. We’ll discuss our journeys as multi-genre authors, talk about what drives us to write in multiple genres, and answer questions about our work. Here is more about each of us (and find more details on our websites soon):

George Weinstein is the author of a suspense thriller, a relationship drama, a Southern mystery, and a Southern historical novel. His work has been published locally in the Atlanta press and in regional and national anthologies. George lives in Marietta, Georgia with his wife and family and is the twice-former President and current Executive Director of the historic Atlanta Writers Club (AWC), which was founded in 1914. Since 2008, he has directed the twice-yearly Atlanta Writers Conference for the AWC, bringing in acquisitions editors and literary agents to help members understand the business of writing and achieve their dreams of publication.

Julia McDermott is the author of a young adult romance, two domestic suspense novels, an award-winning memoir and an essay about it, published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Her first short story was included in anthology Down to the River, a collection of crime stories written by some of the best in the business. The mother of four (including a set of twins), Julia is a fluent French speaker and has spoken at regional and national writers’ conferences and literary festivals. Julia has lived most of her life in Atlanta where she belonged to the AWC, Atlanta Pen Women, and the Atlanta Women’s Chamber of Commerce, who named her 2017 Solopreneur of the Year. Julia and her husband visited Amelia Island, Florida in 2020 and moved to nearby Fernandina Beach in 2021.

More events will follow: Just a few days later, on Oct. 1, this wonderful bookstore will host a “speed dating” event for local authors, to be facilitated by Jacksonville author Madeline Martin. In November, the Atlanta Writers Club will host its fall writers conference.


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