Posted on 04/04/2018 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
He’s a Pulitzer nominee, New York Times best-seller, and Western Writers Hall of Fame member.
She’s also an accomplished author who has won praise from such well-known writers as Tony Hillerman, Jonathan Kellerman, and Clive Cussler.
They both walked away from “traditional” careers well before the indie-publishing boom and into the wilderness (figuratively and, sometimes, literally).
Yet the most impressive thing about the married writing duo of Win and Meredith Blevins may be their staying power in a constantly evolving industry.
We spoke to these two veteran adventurers recently about their storied careers, and if you’d like to follow in their footsteps, watch for information at the end of this Q&A about their writing service, the ProWriters Toolbox.
SADYE: What have been the proudest moments of your writing careers?
WIN: The proudest moment, hmmm. Hearing from Luis Urrea, who I think is a genius, tell me I’m his hero?
Prouder moments might be to find out that my children and grandchildren have read most of my books. The biggest: When a reader tells me my book changed his/her life.
The awards? They make me feel high, but they’re not as personal. Stay around long enough, jump up and down and shout, and eventually they’ll salute.
MEREDITH: When someone writes me, saying a book I wrote got them through a difficult time, I am elated. I feel so blessed to be a comfort and a laugh.
Win and I have both taught and mentored writers. When we help someone reach their writing dreams, and then even go beyond what they had imagined? WOW! It’s indescribable.
SADYE: Nowadays, you two write as a team. What does that look like?
MEREDITH: When we first tried writing together, we aggravated each other to the max! We passed Word Docs back and forth, he writing one chapter, me the next.
Then: “Oh my God! I can’t believe you killed Trixie. She is the murderer!” “Are you serious? She doesn’t have two brain cells to rub against each other. She could never have schemed that!”
So we tried something new.
WIN: Meredith and I each take a full turn through the manuscript. Usually one of us creates the characters and writes the complete story, and the other follows up by injecting the sentences with explosions of energy and adding a twist here and a turn there.
MEREDITH: When it was finished, we rarely knew who had done what, only that the end product was stronger. No power struggles. We respect each other.
SADYE: What is the most striking change you’ve seen, during your many years in writing/publishing, and how did you work through it to stay relevant?
WIN: Jiminy#$%! The digital revolution has rocketed us into a new solar system. After decades of comfort with Bantam, Macmillan, etc., we are confronted with choices we never imagined.
One new book of mine may need a traditional publisher, the next may need a small digital outfit, and the next we may need to publish ourselves.
Some books need to go through an agent, some don’t. And we have to figure out how to market our large backlist.
MEREDITH: Of course, self-publishing is the biggest change.
I’ve published books with Rodale and Macmillan, and getting that advance check in the mail feels amazing. But that’s often all the dough you’ll get.
You can see the marketing opportunities, but the publisher has already moved on to its next season, even though the book won’t be published for a year. That’s frustrating! ... And you may find yourself fighting to get your rights back so you can market your work.
Staying relevant means knowing your niche and your audience. It means NOT going with the trends. The writing world will morph, and over the long haul, you should feel your voice in everything you write. Being true to yourself is always relevant.
SADYE: How do you continue to find inspiration after all these years?
WIN: Inspiration finds me. I’ve long since learned to follow when my heart thumps to write, write, write. Listen and something always comes.
MEREDITH: I listen to people, and I hear my own stories in theirs. Inspiration is everywhere! With luck, I find a character that walks through my story with me, pointing out the boulders and turns in the road. I’m open to everything.
SADYE: Each of you came to writing from a more office-like environment. What prompted each of you to change directions?
WIN: It’s simple. As a movie and theater critic, I was spending my life sitting on the bank and watching my friends have all the fun, swimming in the river of creativity.
I wanted to stop being a spectator, dive in, and play. I resigned and ran out the door like a kid sprinting outside on the first day of summer vacation.
MEREDITH: I was an active member of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and wrote a weekly business column.
It was factual but funny because, really, the only thing funnier than sex is money. I taught creativity in business for a couple of UCs.
But, in the middle of the night I wrote fiction, and cradled words like an opium pipe. I jumped all at once from a stale marriage and a job that didn’t fuel my passion.
I hit the road, lived in odd-ball places, and told fortunes at laundromats. I was alive. I wrote what I wanted to read. An agent found me.
I am clear on this — if your life feels like wearing a skin that shrunk in the dryer, jump!
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Win and Meredith Blevins have published forty-plus books in many genres, have been a finalist for the Pulitzer, and have taught writing at several universities.
Now, they want to help you write stories. Your stories. Books bold with characters that are quirky, because even the straightest character is. Settings that call forth a reader’s senses. Yes, and nonfiction that reads like a runaway bestseller.
The ProWriters Toolbox is writer’s therapy. Feel free to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them at meredithandwinblevins.com. And be on the lookout for online classes from the pros.
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Categories: Author Interview