Wednesday, March 9, 2011

World of Writing, interview

-- World of Writing Interview --

Francine L. Trevens was co-founder of the Greater New York Independent Publishers Association and served as chairperson for most of the first fifteen years. Her publishing company, TnT Classic Books publishes many prize winning authors. In the last 6 years, she has also published some of her own work. The anthology of plays she compiled and edited, SHORT PLAYS TO LONG REMEMBER, (27 plays by 14 authors) won a 2010 Next Generation INDIE finalist award. She also writes regular features on dance for Art Times Journal, and has had 6 books published, 4 from TnT Classic Books. Her blog is at:

Q: Tell us something about yourself.
I am a divorced mother of two, and now grandma to 5. While I have many interests – theatre, dance, art, gardening and incessant reading, I have earned my living as a writer in many different ways. I have been an editorial assistant, a theater/dance critic, a theater publicist, a writer of celebrity interviews, a playwright, short story writer, poet, non-fiction article writer and advertising writer.

When my kids were little, I wrote more than I sold, because I wrote for the pure joy of it. Later, when I needed to earn a living, I sold most of what I wrote because I would get assignments from editors to do celebrity interviews or articles on collecting, or travel features. Writing became my business.
Did you choose writing as a profession, or did it choose you?
I dictated my first poem to my mom because I did not know how to write it down when I was barely six, so I would say it chose me. Also, whenever I was angry or upset, I would find myself writing out my feelings, then using them to create fiction.

I do believe writers are born, but accomplished writers are made by hard work and lots of attention to detail.

Q:  What are common mistakes authors make?

They talk more about their writing than they write. They take on big projects which they don't get around to finishing. They fail to put work aside for it to “cool” before sending it off for publication. It’s like cutting into a hot cake, you can destroy your creation by not allowing yourself some distance from it so you can edit it with a stranger’s eye. The best writing comes from inspiration – but the final piece of writing comes from careful; dedication. 

Q: What are your greatest obstacles and motivators when it comes to writing?

For obstacles, that would be: 
Social commitments, household duties, the whole business of being self supporting get in the way of always writing what I want. 

And my motivators are:
But some things insist they must be written – such as a play I recently finished which interfered with my deadlines for a dance article, my work on a memoir about growing up during the great depression, and my preparing a book of fairy tales for e-book publication.  It wouldn't let me sleep, the characters were talking in my head all the time. I was forced to get it onto paper. So, inspiration is a great motivator.  Deadlines are a good motivator,, and reading a few pages back into what you have written gets the juices flowing and helps you to continue on.  

Q: What is your favorite memory in your career as a writer?

I got a phone call one night when I was still married and living in Massachusetts , from a New York play producer saying he wanted to do my play and I should come to NYC ASAP. I had young kids and a daily newspaper reviewing job, but I managed to get there to meet with him. I got back again in time for some of the casting, but then there were problems with the script, I was snowed with newspaper and family commitments, and there were no computers or cell phones and the project got dropped because I could not be at rehearsals to do quick re writes.

Q:  What do you think about self-publishing?

I inherited a publishing company,  I published other authors, and continued to send my work elsewhere. But my partner, when she died, left me money to publish some of my own work. Way back in the days of Shelley and the Brontes,
self publishing was a norm and had no stigma.  In the mid 20th century it DID have a stigma and I avoided it. I was lucky to have several of my plays, poems and stories published by others. But by the 21st century, when I had my own publishing company I decided it was silly not to publish myself as well.  These days, with finances as they are and publishing in flux with e books and apps and all, self publishing is a very logical and more lucrative way to go. Besides, you have complete control of your book – a great feeling.  I never liked how my first fairy story book looked, but my upcoming one will be just what I want.

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