Four local female authors shared their funny, poignant, and off-the-beaten path experiences in an informal panel conversation at the Rye Arts Center September 18.
By Robin Jovanovich
Four local female authors shared their funny, poignant, and off-the-beaten path experiences in an informal panel conversation at the Rye Arts Center September 18. Before announcing the speakers, Executive Director Helen Gates welcomed the mostly female audience to the Arts Center, “where there are many ways to find your voice.”
Kristina Bicher started things off on a humorous note, “Normally, you don’t start an event with poetry Usually, you do so after several glasses of wine.” She then read several of her poems, which read like stories, in part because she started off her writing life thinking she was going to be a novelist.
Lisa Jardine, who writes a blog, says she’s really good at writing 1,000 words or less. She has been working on a Young Adult novel for seven years. “I’m writing about high school, so I get to experience those years all over again.” Her first published feature was on the life of an expat mom with four children one crazy busy summer. The person who hired her at CNN told her how much they liked that story. So did listeners at the Arts Center.
Annabel Monaghan was an English major in college but she “did not have parents willing to fund me as a writer,” so she went into finance. In 2007, a friend in town convinced her to co-author a non-fiction book for teen-age girls. That got her thinking about the fact that she’d always wanted to write fiction, so she “started writing chapters in secret.” The first in a series of YA novels, “ A Girl Named Digit,” was published in 2012. “Double Digit” came out in 2014. Disney bought the option rights. While unlike Digit, the FBI has yet to call on Monaghan to help with an investigation, she admits that as a teen she too had a facility with numbers.
Andrea Raynor, who wanted to be a doctor, is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. She’s very good at sermon writing. Her first book, “The Voice That Calls You Home,” came out of her first tour at Ground Zero, where she served as a chaplain to the morgue. “It was a way to process what had taken place.” In her second book, “Incognito,” she shares her experience at Harvard Divinity School in the ’80s. She is currently chaplain for the Rye Fire Department and Greenwich Hospice.
What all four women stressed is that if you’re going to write, don’t dabble! Treat it as a job, not a sideline. And if you need encouragement, editing, or a fire lit under you, take a course at Manhattanville, Sarah Lawrence, SUNY Purchase, or a college in the city.