I’m interviewing Connie B. Dowell, author of non-fiction “You Can Love Writing”. My questions are bolded, Connie’s responses are in regular font.
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
Definitely having to stop working on the book. I could tweak a manuscript forever if I didn’t have a deadline.
Can you give us a short synopsis of You Can Love Writing?
You Can Love Writing is a guide for new and returning college students to not just get through writing assignments but find joy and empowerment in the academic writing process. This book goes through the process with an emphasis on big picture elements of writing as well as techniques to make the most of one’s writing and learning. Who says writing assignments have to be boring?
What inspired you to write this book?
As a tutor, I watch many students make progress and learn about writing, but the best part is when I get to watch people start having fun and owning their role as a writer. After a tutoring session one afternoon, I thought Why can’t there be a book about that?
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
It varies a great deal. I work the kind of job where my free time can evaporate rather quickly around finals and midterms. During semesters, I probably average around one to two hours per weekday, but that’s an average of some big extremes. In a way, a schedule like that is a blessing in that it teaches you seize the time you have available instead of putting things off.
Name your top five favorite books.
I never can manage to pick favorites! What I can do is tell you about five excellent books that have been on my mind lately.
The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman: An intense look at the causes and outbreak of World War I. It’s an especially timely read right now. This August marks the hundredth anniversary of that war’s beginning.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: 1950 New Orleans, a murder, a brothel, and a young adult protagonist who works in a book shop but keeps a pistol strapped to her leg. How could these ingredients not end up making a fantastic novel? I read this in less than twenty-four hours, and it isn’t short either. No sleep for me.
How to Teach Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel: If you’re curious about quantum physics, this book, written as a series of conversations between Orzel and his dog, makes getting the basics easy and fun.
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose: This middle grade verse novel tells the story of a 19th century Kansas girl with dyslexia who finds herself abandoned in a sod house as winter approaches. It’s a wonderful read for anyone, but especially for those who work with or know someone with a learning disability.
Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students by Mignon Fogarty: I know, I’ve written a student writing guide and I’m recommending a different one. What gives? Actually, both books have different emphases. When students are ready to move beyond the big picture aspects of composition and focus on grammar and other sentence-level concerns, this is the book to pick up.
What are you working on now?
I’m mid-first draft of a young adult historical mystery dealing with Southern suffragists. It’s been fascinating to learn about the period and the commitment of the women who dedicated their lives so that women today have a political voice. The South was one of the toughest places to fight for suffrage, and, of course, suffrage activists of color faced even greater challenges.
I’m anticipating that book, the first of a series, to come out next spring.
Title: You Can Love Writing: A Guide to get through your College Papers and Like it
Author: Connie B. Dowell
Genre: Non-Fiction, Educational
How would you like to
- perform with the passion of an Oscar winning actor,
- compete with the drive and fervor of an Olympic athlete, or
- teach like you’ve got a Nobel Prize slung around your neck
all while doing your homework?
Believe it or not, you can do all of this and much more in the course of writing your college papers. This book takes you through the overlapping stages of the writing process, using game mechanics, cooperation, and learning styles to help you have as much fun as possible and take charge of your own education. With exercises and activities for groups and individuals, this text focuses on the meat of writing, the big picture elements that matter most in both college papers and real world writing situations, all with an eye toward enjoyment.
Sit down, crack open this guide, and give your favorite notebook a big hug. You may not have a choice about writing your papers, but who says you can’t love them?
Connie B. Dowell is a writing center coordinator and freelance editor. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Library and Information Science from Valdosta State University. She lives in Virginia with her husband, where they both consume far more coffee than is probably wise
Twitter at @ConnieBDowell
Facebook at facebook.com/editorcbdowell
There’s a tour-wide giveaway for “Break Your Block” Cards.