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News and Events

Conference Speaker Preview: NYT bestseller Christopher McDougall

September 23rd, 2013

JRW Member Kristen Green recently interviewed Christopher McDougall, the author of the NYT best seller Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. The book told the story of Mexican Indians that run hundreds of miles without injury in thin homemade sandals and sparked a debate about the running shoe industry. McDougall told Kristen that he originally set out to write a book about ultra marathoners, and it didn’t dawn on him to incorporate the Tarahumara Indians and a race he ran with them in Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons until after it happened. McDougall, a featured speaker at the James River Writers Conference in October, is at work on an as yet untitled book about World War II resistance fighters due out next spring. He is also writing a screenplay of Born to Run.

Question 1: You are a former war correspondent for the Associated Press and a freelance magazine writer, so I assume you’re accustomed to cranking out copy. Was it painful for you spend so much time on one subject in order to write Born to Run? What was your process?

It was a really difficult learning process. Whenever you jump up in length, I think it’s a whole new discipline. For the AP, it’s 500 to 600 word stories, and that was its own discipline. You have to get it all super condensed into a very tight space. Then you move up to magazines where you’re like 2,000 to 5,000 words, and it’s like you’re looking across the sea and you can’t see the horizon, and it just seems way too far for anybody to swim. Then you learn that, and you jump it up to 100,000 words. What made the difference for me with Born to Run was I finally figured out to just make each chapter its own 2,000-word story. (more…)

August Writing Show Recap: Interviewing Skills: Crime and Punishment Style

September 23rd, 2013

It was 9 a.m. Dr. Lauren Huddle strode down the hall to the lab, her white coat pristine, her stiletto heels clicking loudly on the marble floor.

“Greg, I would like to know the make-up of this DNA sample,” she said crisply to the young, tattooed lab tech. “Within the next thirty minutes.”

“Sure thing, Doc,” Greg said with a grin. “Anything for you.”

Dr. Huddle frowned. She rarely smiled and never joked with the lab technicians or her colleagues. Murder was not a laughing matter.

Dr. Lauren N. Huddle is not a character in a television crime show. She currently is the Forensic Pathology Fellow at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond. She does not wear high heels to work. She spends time in ditches with snails and maggots. (more…)

Twitter Chat with Tee Morris on October 9 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

September 22nd, 2013

Please join James River Writers on Wednesday, October 9th at 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET to participate in a Twitter chat with Conference Speaker Tee Morris to talk about all things writing related.

Tee has been writing adventures in far-off lands and far-off worlds since elementary school. Inspired by numerous Choose Your Own Adventure titles and Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, he wrote not-so-short short stories of his own, unaware that working on a typewriter when sick-from-school and, later, on a computer (which was a lot quieter…that meant more time to write at night…) would pave a way for his writings.

Tee co-authors The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series with his wife, Pip Ballantine. When Tee is not creating something on his Macintosh, he enjoys a good run, a good swim, martial arts (which he will start up again, someday), and putting together new playlists to write by. His other hobbies include cigars and scotch, which he regards the same way as anime and graphic novels: “I don’t know everything about them, but I know what I like.” (And he likes Avo and Arturo Fuente for his smoke, Highland Park for his scotch!) He enjoys life in Virginia alongside Pip, his daughter, and five cats.

Here is how the Twitter Chat will work: (more…)