Public Memoir Roundtables

THE BIG DECISION: MEMOIR OR FICTION?

Date: October 16, 2014
Time: 4 PM PDT 5 PM MDT 6 PM CDT 7 PM EDT

At this free Roundtable Teleseminar, we’re going to address a subject that memoir writers struggle with: whether to write their story as a memoir—everything is true!—or as autobiographical fiction—I made it up!

Many memoir writers struggle with this decision, so we’re pleased to present Mary Gottschalk and Carol Bodensteiner, who have gone from a corporate life to writing and publishing memoirs and fiction. They will discuss their often-parallel paths from business writing to creative writing, including their perspective on the differences between memoir and fiction.

Topics will include:

• Memoir vs. Fiction — choosing your genre
• Memoir as a “training tool”
• Getting past the facts
• Factual accuracy vs. spiritual / emotional truth
• The value of a writing group/partner
• Building the writer’s toolkit

Listen to the Download of the Call

Mary G-2

 

Mary Gottschalk Bio

Mary has made a career out of changing careers. She spent nearly thirty years in the financial markets, working with Fortune 500 corporations in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Central America, and Europe. She dropped out in the mid-1980’s to embark on the multi-year sailing voyage that is the subject of her memoir, Sailing Down the Moonbeam. The key message of her memoir is that you grow the most when you step outside of your comfort zone.

Continuing to work with that theme, Mary published her first novel, A Fitting Place, in May, 2014. She blogs regularly on the experience of being outside your comfort zone. She is also a freelance writer and professional editor.

 

Bodensteiner 4C HR

Carol Bodensteiner Bio

Carol finds inspiration in the places, people, culture and history of the Midwest. After a successful career in public relations consulting, she turned to creative writing. Carol’s childhood on a family farm in the middle of the United States in the middle of the 20th century provided grist for her memoir, Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl. Having stepped 50 years back in history with her memoir, writing her debut novel Go Away Home set in Iowa during WWI was a logical next step. Carol blogs about writing, her prairie, gardening, and whatever in life interests her at the moment. Her essays have been included in a number of anthologies.

Develop the Mystery in Your Memoir | Free Roundtable Discussion

Mani Feniger
September 11, 2014

4 PM PDT 5 PM MDT 6 PM CDT 7 PM EDT

maniMani Feniger thought her relationship with her mother was over when she buried her mother’s ashes. But two years later, the discovery of a startling photograph of her mother taken just months before rise of the Nazi regime in Germany, sent Mani on a twenty-year search across continents and lifetimes, uncovering clues about her family’s past that eventually revealed the life of a woman very different from the mother she thought she knew.

Mani’s award-winning memoir, The Woman in the Photograph, reads like a mystery. She didn’t know what she would find when she started, and she had to take into account every shred of evidence to weave together the surprising story that lurked in the silences and unfinished sentences of her relationship with her mother.

Even if you already have the basic facts of the story you want to write, being open to the unknown–the unexpected clues and conversations, the realizations that emerge as you write–will bring suspense and anticipation to your memoir.

In our September 11 Roundtable, we will talk about developing the mystery of your memoir, and explore the steps you can take to open up the narrative and pique your readers’ curiosity.

1. How to uncover the hidden layers of your story

2. Interview techniques for eager and less eager subjects

3. Using intuitive writing exercises to create authentic, complex characters

4. Building suspense with rhythm, pacing and knowing when to hold back

Listen to the recording

Download Mp3
About the Author: Mani Feniger is a therapist, speaker, documentary film consultant and author of Journey from Anxiety to Freedom and The Woman in the Photograph–voted Best Memoir 2013 by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. Last year the city of Leipzig, Germany invited Mani to speak about her book in her mother’s birthplace.

Authenticity in Memoir Writing | Free Roundtable Discussion

Karen LevyKaren Levy
August 7, 2014

4 PM PDT 5 PM MDT 6 PM CDT 7 PM EDT

 

Karen Levy found that she had to push herself past the inner critic and other voices that stopped her from writing her memoir My Father’s Gardens. She took emotional risks with the story she had to tell about her need to find a voice that would give her strength and a place in which she belongs after a lifetime of belonging everywhere and nowhere. Writing allowed her to give voice to thoughts and fears she had kept to herself as a result of her introverted personality as well as a dominant mother figure.

Most memoir writers find that taking risks as opposed to playing it safe creates a realistic authentic story. As a memoirist you have to let down your guard, and reveal yourself, and on this journey you find that you are discovering more about yourself as the story progresses. You need to let go of what you think people will think about you and the judgments they may have about your “truth.” You have to tell your own story.

In this Roundtable discussion about the process of being authentic in writing a memoir, Karen Levy and Linda Joy Myers are going to discuss:

• What inspired her to write her book
• What got in the way of writing her truths and how she solved those problems
• Why she chose to write in vignettes rather than a sustained narrative
• How she chose the storyteller’s POV and style of the book
• How Karen managed to set aside the judgments she could imagine people making to write and publish her book
• The reception her book has been getting and why it appeals to people

Listen to the Recording


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About the Author: Karen Levy is an Israeli-American writer. Born in Israel, Levy spent most of her childhood traveling between her native land and the United States. Levy has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the U. C Davis, and an M.A. in English/Creative Writing from Sacramento State University where she teaches composition and interpretation of literature. Her work has appeared in Welter Magazine, So to Speak, the Blue Moon, The Meadow, the Yolo Crow, and Shifting Balance Sheets – an anthology of women’s stories of naturalized citizenship & cultural attachment by Wising Up Press. My Father’s Gardens is nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Davis, California with her husband and two children.

 

Crowdfunding for Books | Amanda Barbara, Pubslush, Sonia Marsh, Kathy Pooler

Roundtable Discussion–Free for all

July 10, 2014

4 PM PDT/7 PM EDT

With the new publishing models—digital platforms, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing, authors need to find the funds to support their book project. As you all know, writing is simply the first step in getting a book into readers’ hands. Good books require several rounds of editing, which costs money. Professionally designed covers and interior need to be funded, whether it’s a team you hire or a service provided by a professional publishing company. For years now, writers have had to create and manage their own book marketing fees, hire a publicist, and provide the fees to enter book contests.

To meet the needs of writers, Pubslush has created a platform that supports your ability to presell your book, and get the word out to your community before your book is released.

Amanda Barbara, VP of Pubslush and two of our own NAMW members, Sonia Marsh and Kathy Pooler, both of whom have successfully funded their books, will join us on this call. Be sure to call in live so you can ask questions and learn how to take the next steps to launch your book, create a professional product, and have a successful book. To read more about Pubslush, click here.

On this Roundtable, we will discuss
• What crowdfunding is and why it’s important for authors
• Why Amanda created Pubslush and how it’s working for authors
• How and when you can start your own Pubslush campaign for your book
• Sonia Marsha and Kathy Pooler will discuss how Pubslush has helped them

Listen to the Recording

Download Mp3

Amanda Barbara

Amanda Barbara is the VP &Cofounder of Pubslush a global crowdfunding platform for the literary world. A philanthropist at heart, she serves on the board of directors for the Pubslush Foundation, which supports children’s literacy initiatives worldwide, and is a founder and director of The Barbara Family Foundation, an organization committed to assisting charities and children in need. Amanda is member of the Young Entrepreneur Council and is an advocate for crowdfunding in the publishing world. She has spoken at conferences–Writer’s Digest, Exceptional Women in Publishing, Crowdfunding East Conference, and the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit.

Sonia Author PhotoTurquoise Small
Sonia Marsh is the award-winning author of the travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island and founder of the “My Gutsy Story®” series. The first anthology in that series, My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, was a silver honoree in the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards. Sonia offers “gutsy” book coaching. Contact: Sonia@soniamarsh.com. http://soniamarsh.com

 

KathyPoolerBrighter

Kathleen Pooler‘s memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse and sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir show how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.  Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com @kathypooler;   https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.pooler
Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey: https://www.facebook.com/memoirwritersjourney;   http://www.pinterest.com/krpooler/

 

 

Out On a Limb: When Your Message Defies Expectations

Roundtable Discussion–Free for All
June 5, 2014

4 PM PDT   5 PM MDT   6 PM CDT   7 PM EDT

 

smolowe.author_shot

Jill Smolowe has written two memoirs that depart from common wisdom about her subject matter. The first, An Empty Lap, ignited discussion in the adoption world about the stresses marriages endure when couples, out of sync about whether to have kids, delay starting a family. Her new memoir, Four Funerals and a Wedding, steers clear of the usual how-my-life-came-apart grief script to explore what kept her going as she lost her husband and three other loved ones in rapid succession. With both memoirs, Jill invited criticism of not only the literary variety, but the personal as well. On June 5, Jill and Linda Joy will explore what propels a writer to go against the tide—and how to find insulation from the personal attacks that can result.

Four Funerals_Rev 2.indd

 

 

• When is it worth infringing your privacy to put intimate details about your life in the public domain?
• What is the importance of identifying the lens through which you will tell you story?
• Why focus a lens in your work that invites criticism from readers?
• What is the importance of having a message? How does it guide your storytelling choices?
• Given privacy considerations, what obligations do you have to others who appear in your story?
• Is catharsis a goal? How does that differ from Aha moments?

Jill Smolowe is the author of the memoirs Four Funerals and a Wedding: Resilience in a Time of Grief and An Empty Lap: One Couple’s Journey to Parenthood, and co-editor of the anthology A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents. An award-winning journalist, she has been a foreign affairs writer for Time and Newsweek, and a senior writer for People, where she currently specializes in crime stories. Her articles and essays have appeared in many publications and anthologies, including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, The Washington Post Magazine, More, Red (UK), Adoptive Families and the Reader’s Digest “Today’s Best NonFiction” series.

Visit Jill at www.jillsmolowe.com and facebook.com/jillsmolowe.author

 

Testimonials

Myers makes a compelling case for the power of words as a form of healing and growth.

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D. professor of psychology, The University of Texas at Austin and author, Opening Up and Writing To Heal

...the NAMW memoir classes with Linda Joy Myers are wonderful

Kathy Pooler