Hi There! So happy you came to visit.
I’ve been writing since I was very young. I received my first manuscript rejection when I was only nine, and 29 years later my first book was published. I love to paint, kayak and read. I live in South Carolina with my terrific husband, Merlin, and Lucy the Pug.
E-mail me and say hello.
Art Portfolio: http://www.RobinPrinceMonroe.weebly.com
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
When I was eight years old I went to the community library and found an odd, little book called Xingu by Karla Kuskin Violette and John Viertel. After I read it I remember thinking how much fun it was to read. Going to that little library and finding other fun stories became a habit of mine. I started writing at about the same age and submitted my first manuscript when I was nine years old. I also wrote articles for my middle school newspaper so I guess some of my first readers where 7th-9th graders. They are still my favorite audience.
What is your favorite genre?
My favorite genre to read is historical fiction. My favorite to write is fiction picture books and middle grade novels. Most of my published work is non-fiction.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I keep a notebook with me and fill it with sentences, characters, names, words, descriptions…anything that I might use later. For days, weeks, months ideas scamper around in my brain. I make the occasional note but don’t actually start a project till I’ve thought through a lot of it. When I first started I wrote everything by hand on a yellow legal pad then put it in my computer. This gave me the opportunity to spill it out quickly then edit it when I typed it in. I compose at the computer now.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Anything that makes me laugh or cry. Anything that makes me want to be a better person.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Intriguing beginning. Page turning middle. Satisfying end that brings some kind of closure but also leaves the reader wishing the story wasn’t over. Characters that I’d want to meet and a setting that I’d like to visit.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Madeline L’Engle, C.S Lewis, Francis Hodges Burnett, Margorie Kinnin Rawlings, Pat Conroy, Harper Lee, Anne Lamont, Elizabeth Berg, Dorthea Frank and more.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Characters become real when a story takes on a life of its own because of who the people are. When I was writing Silent Glades I started to know what was going to happen next not because of my plot outline but instead because I knew what choices my characters would make. A character is believable when the writer knows him intimately.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
God. I write to make Him smile.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
The best art comes from deep pain. Just read the biographies of the most noteworthy artists, writers, musicians, dancers, it is almost without exception. When you are hurt deeply there is a terrible energy that will either build or destroy. I have made a determined choice to build with my writing and art. (My Art)
Does reader feedback help you?
Oh, golly, yes! I love to get honest reader critique. When I was working as a Sign Language Interpreter I had he opportunity to read Silent Glades to the fourth grade class I was assigned to. The teacher and I agreed not to tell the students that I was the author until the very end. Every day I would read a chapter and every day each student filled out a paper telling me what they liked, didn’t like, and what was clear and unclear. I took those papers home and edited for my audience.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I have only entered few writing competitions. I received a second place in a state competition and a third in a national one. I have also received awards at writer’s conferences.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Yes. My writing buddy, Nancy, and my writer son, Caleb. (Caleb’s Site)
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
This changes depending on what is going on in the rest of my life. What has seemed to work out best for me is to set aside at least one and preferably two writing days where I don’t answer the phone and only stop long enough to eat.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Quiet, hot tea with honey, books and prayer.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I compose on the computer then print it out, mark up my paper then edit on the computer again then repeat….go to writer’s group, repeat, repeat, let it ferment, repeat….
What has been your experience with publishers?
I have had positive experiences with the publishers I have worked with. I have found that most publishers and editors are so covered up that they don’t have the time or energy to communicate much with their authors. Returning phone calls or answering e-mails is difficult for them because they are stretched to the limit. They are in a hard business and are, for the most part, simply overwhelmed. You have to have enough self-respect not to take their long silences personally. They are an amazing sort who are dedicated to their craft and coach books into life like birthing doulas.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on two picture books, a devotional and a memoir. I’m also spending a lot of time painting and exploring the visual arts.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Pull every one of them out. Rework them if necessary, then for Pete’s sake start sending them out. If you can’t bring yourself to put them in the mail then at least print them and make a book for your family. Your writing is unique and because of that, priceless. No one else in all the world can write with your perspective, experience, and heart.