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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Interview: Vickie McEntire

Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Vickie McEntire. 

Vickie has written the book, 

Little Bird 
& Myrtle Turtle. 

First, let me thank you for joining me. 

I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.

Author Name: Vickie McEntire
Facebook: @booksbyvickie
Twitter: vickie_mcentire
Instagram: booksbyvickie
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/booksbyvickie
Title of Book: Little Bird & Myrtle Turtle
Genre of Book: Children’s

That’s great. Tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing.

I believe in the power of the written and spoken word and live for those little moments that can change lives. 
I live in Northwest Georgia with my husband and cat. In 2014, I joined a local writing group, Calhoun Area Writers (CAW), and attended many conferences and learned so much through the connections of that group.

I write about things that are important to me—literacy, community, and family. 

I would credit much of my success to my love of reading and the support of CAW. Becoming a member of several local critique groups, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Georgia Writers Association (GWA), Rome Area Writers (RAW), and Chattanooga Writers’ Guild CWG) played a major role in my achievements. They all provided encouragement and opportunities to write.

My three children grew up and moved out, which inspired me to write my first children’s book, Baby Birds, in October 2016, about the life cycle of birds. After Cheryl Snow showed CAW members how easy it was to write and submit a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul, my story, “The Book Fair,” was accepted for Inspiration for Teachers in April 2017.

A class taught by John Mannone at a CWG conference, inspired me to publish my book of poems, Empty Nest, in May 2017. A four-year-old in foster care inspired me to publish a second children’s book in October 2017, Little Bird and Myrtle Turtle. It was chosen as a finalist in the 2018 American Book Fest International Book Awards and won the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award. Are you noticing a theme? I love birds!

I have had the pleasure of sitting under John Mannone as well.  He is very inspiring. What happened next?

       I started getting invitations to speak—an author event at Calhoun-Gordon County Library in April 2018 and at the Northwest Georgia Writers Conference in May 2018. I presented 5 Things Every Children’s Book Writer Needs to Know at the Red Clay Writers Conference at Kennesaw State University Center in November 2018 and participated with the SCBWI booth at the 2018 AJC Decatur Book Festival. My favorite opportunities were talking to elementary students in schools, libraries, and museums about the writing process and the importance of reading. They really respect authors! Except for one little guy in second grade who questioned my credibility, because my real face didn’t match the head shot on the back of the book. Gotta love kids.

            My story about dementia, “Love the One You’re With,” won third place in the literary non-fiction category and was published in the CWG 2019 Anthology. In July 2020 my engagement story, “A Night of Surprises in Chattanooga,” won the Chattanooga theme category of the CWG Spring Writing Contest. I have stories in two different Chicken Soup books this summer: The Magic of Cats out July 2020, and Listen to Your Dreams out August 2020. I’m having trouble setting up a book signing. May have to Zoom it!

I’ve written sixteen stories for Calhoun Magazine since 2016, with six of those issues boasting my photography on the cover. When the Sep/Oct 2020 issue is distributed, my name will be listed as editor.

Do you write full-time or around another job?

I’ve been writing full-time for about a year. Prior to that, I wrote around full-time jobs.

How do you schedule your time to write?

It’s much easier now, although focus has been an issue this year. Most of the writing that was published this year was written during better times.

It has been a crazy year for sure. I know many writers have struggled in 2020. Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?

In brilliant moments of simplicity. Anything I witness that pulls at my heart, is a possible launching point for a story. I journal most days. My computer is organized into files for different kinds of writing, so I can find something easily when an opportunity to share is presented. I love to research, but the internet is a deep hole that can waste a lot of time.
What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?

Reading, and yes. I was once so inspired while reading a book, that I started writing in the blank pages in the back of the book. Photography is the basis for a second novel that I started before finishing the first one.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?

Do it. If you write words onto paper or type them on a keyboard, you can claim the title of writer. If you want to claim the title of published author, it involves a few more steps. There are plenty of free digital sites to learn from. Join a writer’s group.

 Learn how to edit someone else’s writing. Read. I will quote Stephen King about reading. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

Please tell us about your current release.

My story, “A Wanderer in My Dreams,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Listen to Your Dreams was based on a dream.

Can you provide us with a small excerpt?

While my husband parked the car and unlocked the front door, I approached the furry, coiled animal slowly. She had chosen our welcome mat for her bed, and had her back against the front door. The dog lifted its head and looked at me. She was a beautiful blonde husky. Her tail wagged. I reached out to pet her, and she tried to stand. My husband opened the door from inside, and the dog quietly limped down the brick steps and off into the darkness.
“Did she have a collar?” he asked.
“I didn’t see one,” I said. “She’s hurt, though. Should we go look for her?”
“Not at this hour of the night,” he said. “Maybe she’s going home.” I wanted to believe that, because I couldn’t stand the thought of that sweet dog suffering in pain from an injury.
“I wonder who she belongs to,” my husband said, still holding the open door with one hand.
“I don’t know,” I said, looking out into the darkness, “but I’ve seen her before.”
“In my dream.” I looked at him with tears beginning to pool and shivered in the cool night air. “It’s Lily.”

What exciting story are you working on next?

I’ve been working on a novel since 2014. Working title is Tucker Hollow Road. Setting, a small North Georgia town.

Who are your favorite authors?

Adult: Kahlil Gibran, Malcolm Gladwell, Helen Keller, Simon Sinek, Cassie Selleck, Sean Dietrich,
Children’s: Barbara Cooney, Matt de la Pena, Kate DiCamillo, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Leo Lionni, Jon Muth
Writing Craft: Rayne Hall, K. M. Weiland, Blake Snyder, Anne Lamott, Stephen King

Any plans for the upcoming holiday?

I was a single mom for most of my life, so any day when I’m with the ones I love is a day of celebration.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Every membership and registration fee to get me closer to the giants paving the way.

That is great advice. I just paid for my first conference, the Atlanta Writer's Conference. I'm excited to go be near "the giants."

What is your writer’s kryptonite?

Not writing down what I need to accomplish each day. Without a list, I could easily spend a day scrolling or cleaning the house, but more likely scrolling.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?

Support other writers in whatever way you can. Buy a book, leave a review, share a post, or just be kind when delivering a critique.

One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?

All of my books can be purchased HERE! Thank you!

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