your intention for a piece of
Laurie Alberts is the author of six books including three novels: The Price of Land in Shelby, Lost Daughters and Tempting Fate. She has also written a short story collection (Goodnight Silky Sullivan), and two memoirs (Fault Line and Between Revolutions: An American Romance with Russia).
Alberts’s work has won several awards, including a James Michener Award and the Katherine Anne Porter Prize. She teaches fiction and creative nonfiction in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
I had the opportunity to interview Alberts when she was working on a fantastic book for Writer’s Digest titled Showing & Telling: Learn How to Show & When to Tell for Powerful & Balanced Writing. The book delves in to that age old bit of writing advice “show don’t tell” that every writer has had hammered into his skull since first sitting down at the keyboard. Alberts’s advice is that there are times when both are necessary. What a refreshing premise!
Alberts has plenty of other great ideas about the craft. Here she discusses the writing life, the publishing industry, writing groups, contests, and more.
you wanted to be a writer?
Although I’d written stories since I was little, I never realized I wanted to be a writer until I spent a semester off from college living in an Alaskan fishing village, working on fishing boats, absorbed by the life there and scribbling in a journal out of loneliness and fascination. I actually thought I wanted to become a commercial fisherman for a brief period. Instead I became a writer and that Alaskan experience led to my first novel, Tempting Fate.
“Lucky Wins His Horseshoe”—a story I wrote at age five about a racehorse too young to race. I safety-pinned it together and wrote beneath the title, “Illustrated by the Author.” I must have asked my mother how to spell illustrated and author.
Well, that list shifts, of course, but some of my perpetual favorites are Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, the short stories of Anton Chekhov, the novel A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, Alice Munro