Welcome Linda Maendel, author of Hutterite Diaries, to Author Spotlight! Leave a comment below for the chance to win a copy of her book.
I’m single and work full time as an Educational Assistant in our school. So I write when I can find spare time, that usually means after school or in the evenings.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I write mostly about Hutterite-related topics; that can include, daily life on a colony, faith, family, work, leisure and travel. I love sharing our communal way of life with people, with articles, stories and blogposts and of course books. My first published book is a German children’s picture book about a fond childhood memory, which was published some years ago. Many of my pieces have been published in three different local newspapers and the Our Canada magazine.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I’m not even sure how I got started, but I know that I’ve loved to write since I was a child. I probably only started dreaming about having something published after writing articles and stories for a number of years, just for the joy of stringing words together. Then one day a friend suggested I submit something to the Manitoba Cooperator, a farm newspaper. And they actually published it shortly after. So of course, with that door opened I submitted to other papers and magazines as well.
You can imagine my excitement when I heard that Herald Press was looking for a Hutterite writer for the Plainspoken Series they were working on. I responded to the query which put me on this wonderful publishing journey, with Valerie Weaver-Zercher as my editor. She’s helped me learn so much about the writing/revising and publishing process. I totally enjoyed every aspect about this venture. It’s been interesting, enriching and exciting, especially now that the book is released and in the hands of readers.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
If I’m in a quiet room by myself, that’s all I need to be creative with language; although a good cup of coffee and a piece or two of chocolate work well, too. At times I will have music or a radio playing in the back ground. Unless I’m on holidays and have more time on my hands, I usually only have a few hours a day to write. I’m not one of those people who can stay up very late to write.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
I have a good friend who’s an excellent writer and editor. She’s been my mentor for many years, and has taught me so much about the skill of writing. She definitely helped shape me into the writer I am today. I also belong to a writer’s group which meets once a month the critique and celebrate each other’s work. These people are also instrumental in helping me become not only a better writer, but also better able to critique their work.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
I can’t think of a worst moment as a writer, but certainly getting a book published would be among the best moments. And with that come the blessings of being able to share my stories with a wide audience and hearing how they have touched readers. Lately I was invited to talk to Hutterite high schoolers about my publishing journey for Hutterite Diaries. I really, really enjoyed answering their questions and listening to their comments and see how excited they were about my published book. They know that there are very few books available that were written by Hutterite. Hopefully my book inspires many other Hutterites to pen and publish their stories.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
If you’re interested in learning about Hutterites, my book opens a window into the daily life of these people. Written by someone who lives and loves this life, you’ll get a glimpse of faith, family, community, work, leisure, travel; happy and sad events.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
Right now, soaking up the joy of being one of just a few Hutterites with a published book, encouraging others to venture on this worthwhile journey and yes, dreaming about publishing more books in the future.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
I blog at hutt-writevoice.blogspot.ca
My book is available on Amazon, Christian Book Distributers or directly from Herald Press. I don’t really know which other bookstores carry it, besides McNally Robinson here in Canada. But if they don’t have it on their shelves, they can probably order it.