How did you know you wanted to be an author? I am the editor of this book, and did not know I wanted to become an editor until I taught a workshop at Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, Paris, and wanted to put together an anthology from it, which was the first book in this series, Vignettes & Postcards from Paris.
I am also an author, and will answer the questions from that perspective.
When I was five years old, my favorite Wonder Book was I See the Sea. When I went to the beach for the first time, the book came alive: whitecaps, foam, shells, and the scent of the salty sea. I came home, sat at my desk, and made my first attempt to capture the essence of a place. My inspiration, the feeling, the desire … is all still the same.
What is your advice for aspiring authors? Take detailed notes and then write your heart out. Do not ask for feedback or workshop your piece. Let your own story emerge and then edit for meaning and focus. Edit for the reader. Edit for word count. Edit, edit, edit some more. Burnish, polish and send out.
Once you have much experience with this, you can edit other people’s work, but it must only be as a guide to their own focus, meaning and story, and never ever let anyone weigh in creatively on your own work.
For film, you must do the same and then constantly shift from the inside of the screenplay to the images that will be on the screen.
For fiction you must write only when you can get in the zone, the flow, some writers call it the trance, of the story. Do not try to craft it, let it emerge.
Do you have any writing rituals or practices?A place to write that is my very own is essential, and easier to establish at home than while traveling. For me it must be facing a window. I play music from the time period and place I’m writing about, photos, images, even scents and tastes.
My first draft of anything, an essay, screenplay, book chapter, is always longhand. I add to it in different colored pens a few times and then transpose to the computer for further editing. I spend a lot of time reading my work aloud and hacking away.
What message to you want readers to remember?In the Introduction to Vignettes & Postcards from Morocco, I write about how the place flattened me:
I prefer more personal space, less interaction, and am highly”perhaps overly”attuned to any environment. In Morocco, there are multitudes of emotional undercurrents and spiritual presences, of the living and the dead. I was a prickly sponge: it hurt to absorb so much.
And then the piece goes on to show how, as the dance continued, choreographed to include every being, I joined in and came to love the place. Morocco beguiled me. In this age of posting and tweeting and selfies and quick blog posts, this is often lost: the art of transformative travel.
I want readers to feel transported and transformed by this book.
How can fans get in contact with you?My facebook author page, Erin Byrne, is best, but I love receiving emails too. firstname.lastname@example.org, and put the book title or film you are referring to in the subject line, please. You can also sign up for my newsletter, LitWings, on my website, as well as find upcoming events in the Bay Area and Paris, usually, but other places around the world as well.