Joy E. Rancatore
October 19, 2017
Today rounds out my series on writing community. And, I’m joined by a fellow writer mom, Autumn Lindsey! She is part of my writing community and started an even larger part of that community, Writer Moms Inc.! This group amazes me with the warmth and genuine care and concern the members share with one another and the interest they show each other’s writing. I just can’t wait to show you more!
So, let’s hop right in and get to know all about the lovely and talented Autumn!
Joy: Please share with us a little about your family, hobbies and writing. What makes you get up and GO? (After a mama-sized cup of coffee, of course!)
Autumn: I’ll start with the basics: I am a 32-year-old mom of three. My kids are ages 5, 6, and 7. This is the first year they are ALL in school; and, honestly, I feel like I have reached the promised land for SAH/WAH (stay at home, write at home) moms.
My husband has a fun job, he’s a Director of Photography for commercial/corporate video work in the San Fransisco/ Bay Area. (However, if you are reading this blog and you happen to be Steven Spielberg or any other big-time Hollywood director, he would gladly shoot narrative!)
I live in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains in California, not far from South Lake Tahoe and only inches away from Historic Gold Country. I love that I live near such beauty and history—I really like history stuff.
I haven’t always been a writer. I began writing about 3 years ago after my husband and I wrote a short screenplay together for fun. I realized I really enjoyed it and began writing my first novel, which I am currently querying!
What makes me get up and go? Well, coffee of course! But really—and here is the sappy version—it is my family; they are my life and the reason for everything I do.
Joy: So much WOW in your story!! I may have gotten a little teary when you shared how your writing got started. So sweet!! My hubby and I have talked about writing together, too; so you may have tossed a little inspiration my way to make that happen. Sidenote: If any big-time directors are reading this, please comment on this post! I might cry! And, if they hire your hubby, I’ll be looking for my invitation to the premiere.
Obviously, your family is a huge part of your writing community; just like mine is for me! When you think of a “writing community,” what comes to mind?
Autumn: I feel there are a lot of different things “writing community” can be. Anywhere from your immediate circle of family and friends, to an actual, physical writer/critique group, to online communities like Twitter and Facebook. I think as long as you are finding support and community with your writing from something, you are on the right track.
Writing might be a solo thing to do; however, I know for myself how much the support of others is SO necessary for me to push forward. Writing is too long a journey to travel alone.
Joy: You are so right about that!! It can be an incredibly long trek for sure!
Who is your writing community?
Autumn: Aside from the vast community I have found through Writer Moms Inc. and social media and my husband/family, I meet once a month with a wonderful group of women writers where we share and critique our works (in a cute little tea shoppe by the way). I also meet with some amazing ladies that happen to be a part of Writer Moms Inc. as well from time to time.
Joy: I want to meet other writers in a cute little tea shoppe!!! (I LOVE tea and definitely think Americans should have daily tea time!)
What led you to start Writer Moms Inc. on Facebook and when did you launch?
Autumn: What led me to start Writer Moms Inc. was when myself and a few other writing mamas were looking for something a little different. There are many, MANY amazing writing groups and communities out there but we wanted something that catered to BOTH our writer side and our mom side. So I took this idea and launched Writer Moms Inc. on Facebook, March 18, 2016. It wasn’t until May 2017 that Everly Reed and I set out to expand our community to Twitter and began #WM_Chat (Writer Mom Chat) Mondays at 8 p.m. (pst).
Joy: I, for one, am SO THANKFUL you did!! I actually found you guys while randomly scrolling through Twitter on Monday evening! And, just a little plug in here—Everly Reed is an amazing writer and encourager with a simply gorgeous name…and website. Definitely check it out!
For my readers who haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is Writer Moms, what’s it all about? And, is it only on Facebook?
It really is full of awesomeness! The writer moms that make up Writer Moms Inc. are incredible! They are talented, kind, bursting with creativity and support for one another. I am honored to be a part of it all! Here is a little bit about the group itself I stole from one of my sappy, “I love you all” posts I sometimes do in the Facebook group:
Being a writer is often an isolating journey, so can being a mom (no matter what stage of motherhood you’re in). I wanted a place where moms who write can find solace, support, a place to share victories and troubles and most of all, discuss writing.
We are on Facebook but also Twitter and Instagram (although I am falling short in the Instagram department). I am also hoping to launch www.writermomsinc.com come January 2018! My hope is to make it a bit of an online, writer mom-oriented, contributor-based e-zine of sorts. I’m still working out all the logistics.
Joy: I am so excited about that and can’t wait to see what you cook up!!
Take us behind the scenes of the first few weeks or months after you launched? What lessons did you learn?
At first, Writer Moms Inc. started off as simply a group of a few amazing writer moms. Then as that first year went on and more and more women started joining I realized how thankful I am to have a place where writing moms can find the friendship and support they are searching for with their writing and mom-ing lives. After launching into the Twittersphere I was deeply humbled and pleased to see Writer Moms Inc. taking on a life of its own. The positive and loving support that I see in our little community makes my heart soar! Goodness, now I just want to take a world tour and hug each and every one of our members thinking of how amazing they all are!
Joy: There you go again! Having me reaching around for the tissues!! *sending air hugs in your direction*
I’m always so interested in how projects—writing, community, life—evolve as a person grows and as others become involved. Have you changed anything major or shifted your focus since you started out as a writer? If so, give us all the details!
Autumn: I haven’t been writing long, its only been about 3 years now, but I would say much has changed since I’m constantly learning! My first book, Remaining Aileen, actually started out as an idea for a screen play. Overall I think this process of writing a novel has given me a good lesson in patience, which is still a hard one for me! I’ve learned this life path of being a writer is a marathon.
Much like parenting, writing takes time. You will make mistakes; things will get messy; you will go through every single emotion possible (even ones you never even knew existed); but the joy it brings in creating something from a piece of you makes it all worthwhile.
Joy: That is a perfect comparison and I love it!
What are your over-the-rainbow dreams for Writer Moms Inc.?
Autumn: What are my long-term, big, “over-the-rainbow” dreams for Writer Moms Inc.? I have a few that I would LOVE to see happen someday. The first is to be able to offer “scholarships” of sorts to writer moms that they can put towards reaching their writing dreams. Things like manuscript evaluations, editors, query services, self publishing costs—stuff like that. Not everyone has the money or the family support to follow their writing dreams, and I would hate for money to be the thing stopping a writer mom from following her dreams. Now where will I find this money? Good question—I’m working on that! Another is to someday hold a Writer Moms Inc. conference! I would LOVE to be able to have a place where moms who write can come together in person!
Joy: Oh. My. Word. I have goosebumps; great, big, bumpy goosebumps! Your dreams are beautiful and I believe in them 100%!
Back to community, what’s been the most beneficial thing for you about having a writing community?
Autumn: Now, I speak for myself when I say this, but writing makes me feel a complete weirdo MOST of the time. I get lost in my own head, spout out random ideas about my WsIP (works in progress) that no one else would understand. I would feel SO alone (aside from my amazingly creative-minded-as-well husband, of course) if I didn’t have the writing circles (online or otherwise) that I have. They are a great way to refuel, check in, see that others have also sent out typos in their queries—I did do that actually, but that’s another story for another day! My point is you don’t feel alone; and to me that is everything.
Joy: I don’t know anything about feeling weird or talking to myself. *whistles while nonchalantly looking around*
What advice would you give someone who wants to know how to be a good member of a writing community?
Autumn: In my opinion, a “good” member is someone who offers support as much as they ask. However I do know sometimes we need to take more than we can give, so being understanding is also key.
Inquiring minds want to know: Give us the scoop on your WsIP!!
Autumn: I mentioned before I am querying, which is a whole new game that might take me a bit to get a handle on. My book is called Remaining Aileen.
It intimately follows a mom, Aileen, as she struggles amidst the changes motherhood brings. However, she never expected those changes would come with a taste for blood. This is part one of a three-part series. I wanted each part to deal with a specific aspect of how becoming a mom has changed me, but put allegorically into Aileen changing into a vampire.
In book one, Remaining Aileen, Aileen feels like she’s losing herself. She gives everything to her kids and family; but, when the woman she sees in the mirror literally becomes a monster, she fears who she was might be lost forever. Book two—which I’m outlining now—Remain with Me, shows how the secrecy of Aileen’s new “life” ends up affecting her marriage. And book three, All that Remains, is how all her internal struggles and outward marital struggles affect Aileen’s family as a whole.
Joy: I’m not typically a huge fan of vampire tales; but, y’all, I’m anxious to read Autumn’s!
Two more questions for you, just for splits and giggles:
Do you have any pets? Give us all the details!
Autumn: I do! So I have an all black, full bred, long coat, German Shepherd. (Not many people seem to know they come in all sorts of colors and coat lengths.) She is amazing. Her name is Bones. My oldest, when he was 4, really, really wanted a dog named Bones; so we did just that! But since she is such a pretty girl, and “Bones” sounds like some tough dog, she is actually registered as “Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennen”… you know, from the show Bones. Some day I would love to add a “Seely Booth” to the mix, but I think one dog is plenty for now! I also have 5 chickens that lay beautiful eggs, some are olive green to green to blue!
Joy: I love your fur baby already!! And how cool are those eggs?!?!
What is your favorite book or what are you currently reading (or BOTH!)?
Autumn: One of my most vivid book memories as a kid was reading The Secret Garden. There was something so magical, yet dark, about that book. I still long to find (or in reality, make) a secret garden of my own thanks to that book. As far as what I’m currently reading, well, I have about 3 or 4 books that I have started and am trying to read through before starting on my next WIP. A few of them are from members of Writer Moms Inc. (I have a goal to try and acquire and read all the books written by members!)
Joy: Okay, that is the most awesome goal ever! See what I told you guys about this being an incredibly supportive group? Love it! We share that book memory and the desire it planted, too! Curse these two black thumbs of mine!
Thank you so very much, Autumn, for agreeing to chat it up here on my blog! You are incredible! Thank you, also, for being part of my writing community. I just can’t wait to see where the road leads you and Writer Moms Inc.!