The Mentoring Maze #2: Meriam’s Turn

images-1My name is Meriam Wilhelm. Two years ago I retired after 35 years in education. Finding myself with more time than I knew what to do with and feeling a bit lost, I consulted my bucket list of Things To Do Once I Retire. And there it was – #1 on my list – Write A Book.

After sharing parenting advice for so many years as a school principal, I sat down and wrote a four nonfiction books for parents of grammar school age children. I am proud of my books, especially my recently revised edition of Bully Maze: Finding A Way Out. As happy as I was with each of those books, I understood that writing about what I knew was comfortable and came rather naturally. I wanted to have fun. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone.  I decided to write a novel, and that’s when my real education about writing began. Continue Reading →

A World Away

lunchmontenegroThis is a picture of restaurant where my husband had lunch on the one day we were in Montenegro. This place is idyllic. It is romantic. It was also lonely for my husband because I was in our hotel room reading Gone Girl.  At that moment, that book was more intriguing than a lunch overlooking the Adriatic.

I know. I’m nuts. I also know that if you’re reading this, you are probably thinking deep in your heart that I’m not crazy. Reading time for me is a precious and hard to come by. Like many authors, when I am writing I don’t read. It’s an occupational hazard.

I sit at my little table at my coffee shop for eight hours at a time when I’m deep in the process. I edit, and input, and edit some more.  When I stop typing, stop thinking from the point of view of my characters, stop pounding out fictional dialogue that to me is as real as if I am saying the words, I don’t relax with a book. Instead, my free time is spent indulging in something physical. I play tennis. I clean the house. I cook. I sew. I lose myself in television, movies, and music. If I were to read during the process of creating a book, I would second guess every ‘stroke of the pen’. When I finally finish writing a book, though, reading is what I crave.

I finished writing Dark Witness three days before we left for this trip. I filled up my Kindle with books from all genres – especially books people had been talking about that I hadn’t had time to read. I chose traditionally published authors as well as independents.  I started Gone Girl in Dubrovnik. By the time we reached Montenegro I was half way through and oblivious to everything: the beautiful hotel room, the lovely weather, and my poor husband. Luckily, we’ve been through this before. He doesn’t understand the draw of fiction anymore than I understand how he can read book after book on the same period in history. The good news is, we both understand one another’s passion for reading.

That afternoon, while he had lunch and lingered over a glass of wine, I lost myself in a story about the most amazing couple in a most unamazing town in Missouri. The skill of the author was intense. I was a fish on a hook and being expertly reeled in. It was as if there was a boulder blocking the only exit in my room. I was under a spell and I was powerless to break it. When I finished that book, I joined my husband at the beautiful little restaurant. I had a glass of wine. I told him about Gone Girl and he listened. I’m not sure if he really heard the story, but I know he heard how much I had loved the gifts I had been given: time, a book, and a husband who had taken me half way around the world and still understood when I wanted to take one more journey.

 

 

How Do You Read?

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Every once in a while I get this note from a reader:

“Loved your book. Read it in a day!”

I’m elated when a reader lets me know they love one my books. Knowing they read it in one day, that’s something else again. Why, oh why, can’t I read a book in a day?  The answer is, reading a book in a day isn’t my style. Reading is like eating: some of us devour our books, some pick at them, and some have a balanced book diet.

 Me? I’m a Stop and Starter. How about you?

Stop and Start Reader You have a pile of open books by your bedside: fiction, non-fiction and magazines and maybe a map or two. If it’s got words on it you read it. Heck, you even count that owners manual for the TV as reading fare. You may finish a book in a week or a year. You come back from the bookstore with arms piled high or you click away on your Kindle. It doesn’t matter that you have years of reading at your finger tips because you’re happiest when your plate is full. You’re a different type of reader in the morning than you are at night. You like one thing on the weekend and another during the week.

The Genre Book Lover You relish every nook and cranny of your genre. Fantasy epics are like a banquet, romances are endless plates of chocolate, mysteries are exotic morsels. When you’ve found a genre you love, you stick with it no matter what anyone says. There are so many incredible authors and never enough time. The genre groupies I know are also experts in their field. How satisfying is that? Continue Reading →