Five Questions with Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown

Married novelists Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown have spent their working lives writing and teaching side by side in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Sweet Briar College, where John is the Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English and directs the College’s Creative Writing program. Carrie now serves as Distinguished Visiting Professor at nearby Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Carrie and John have published ten books between them and raised three children on the campus at Sweet Briar. 

James River Writers recently spoke with Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown, who will discuss “using what you know and where you’re from in fiction” at JRW’s Writing Show on Thursday, April 24. The couple also will teach Learning to See: A Master Class for Writers in the Art and Practice of Looking on Friday, April 25.

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Five Questions with Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown

Question One:

K: John, you wrote in the voice of a young girl (Meredith Eagen), a woman (Meredith’s stepmother Catherine), and a black man (Murphy Warrington) in your first novel, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, and you earned praise for creating authentic voices for these three characters. Writing in the voice of a person of another race can be risky, and you did not attempt to write Murphy’s dialogue the way a black New Orleans man of his time and class would have spoken. (more…)

April Writing Show: Coloring Between the Lines: Using What You Know and Where You’re From in Fiction

“Write about what you don’t know about what you know,” instructed Eudora Welty. But how exactly do you dig deep into the familiar to create an extraordinary experience for your readers?

Veteran novelists and professors—and husband and wife—Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown talk about mining your own geographical and personal history as writers, as well as tools and techniques for finding out more about what you already think you know about your place—or places—in the world.  

Virginia Pye, author of River of Dust, will moderate the discussion about anchoring your writing through environment and experience. The second half of the panel welcomes questions from the audience.

Coloring Between the Lines: Using What You Know and Where You’re From in Fiction
Thursday, April 24, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m., with complimentary hors d’oeuvres
The Broadberry (note the new location we’re trying out for April’s show!)
2729 W. Broad Street
Ample parking available in the Children’s Museum parking lot across the street, on street, and in the lot adjacent to the Broadberry

$10 in advance, $12 at the door, $5 students

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The Hybrid Author: Combining Traditional and Self-publishing

The publishing industry seems to have become split lately, with authors dividing into those that clamor self-publishing is the way of the future, and those that say quality can only be produced by traditional methods. But what if there was a middle way?

Husband-and-wife duo Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris, popular speakers at the 2013 James River Writers conference, are returning to Richmond for the Writing Show to examine the emerging “hybrid author,” adept at combining the flexibility of indie with the exposure of traditional publishing. Bill Blume, author of Tales of a 10th Grade Vampire Hunter, will moderate the discussion about how writers can find this middle ground and leverage the benefits of both. The second half of the panel welcomes questions from the audience.

The Hybrid Author: Combining Traditional and Self-publishing
Thursday, March 27, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m., with complimentary hors d’oeuvres
The Camel
1621 W. Broad St., Richmond
Ample parking available in the Lowe’s parking lot across the street (Lowe’s and the Camel have a parking sharing agreement).
$10 in advance, $12 at the door, $5 students

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February Writing Show — Behind the Screen: Storytelling through Filmmaking

Stories transcend time and place. Rina Goldberg, who passed away two weeks after her fifteenth birthday from Mitochondrial Disease, knew the truth behind the truism. Some of her final words to her mother were “promise to take care of my film.” Whether you want to sell a script or write a novel, you can draw inspiration from Rina and some of the most tenacious artists on the planet: filmmakers.

The latest in James River Writer’s Writing Show series, Behind the Screen: Storytelling through Filmmaking, on Thursday, February 27, at the Camel, brings together a selection of award-winning directors and screenwriters from the Richmond International Film Festival. Moderator Julie Geen, writer and teacher, will guide the discussion about navigating the changing industry, what makes a good story, and how to stay motivated. (more…)

January Writing Show – Great Expectations: The Realities of Self-publishing

Doing it yourself can bring big rewards and big challenges. Navigating both writing and publishing your book can be tricky, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Learn from the experiences of self-published authors as they discuss what worked and what didn’t, including a realistic look at expectations.

The latest in James River Writer’s Writing Show series, Great Expectations: The Realities of Self-publishing, on Thursday, January 30, at the Camel, features three self-published authors.

David Kazzie’s debut novel, The Jackpot, has sold more than 11,000 copies since last January and spent nine days on Amazon’s Top 100 Kindle Bestseller List, peaking at No. 34. Rosemary Rawlins is the author of a memoir, Learning by Accident, which will be released in March. Leila Gaskin is the author of Hot Flashes and several short stories. Bill Blume, author of Tales of a 10th Grade Vampire Hunter, will moderate. The second half of the panel will welcome questions from the audience.

Thursday, January 30, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m.
The Camel
1621 W. Broad St., Richmond
Ample parking available in the Lowe’s parking lot across the street (Lowe’s and the Camel have a parking sharing agreement).

$10 in advance, $12 at the door, $5 students, or $80 Writing Show Season Pass (9 shows)

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September Writing Show:
Warring Words, Endless Possibilities

The Writing Show

Thursday, September 26, 2013
6:30-8:30 p.m.
The Camel
1621 W. Broad St., Richmond
Ample parking available in the Lowe’s parking lot across the street (Lowe’s and the Camel have a parking sharing agreement).

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Description

The Feud book coverWhere will your story take you? History can be revealed in countless ways.

Best-selling author Dean King will bring his experience with his book The Feud to the stage of the Writing Show this month. He’ll be joined by his editor Geoff Shandler from Little, Brown and Company, and Darrell Fetty, producer of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning miniseries, The Hatfields & McCoys.

Dean and his panelists will discuss his manuscript’s many-legged journey. He’ll share the lessons he learned from the experience and how your stories might share the same success. (more…)

August Writing Show:
Interviewing Skills: Crime and Punishment Style

The Writing Show

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Description

What do writers get wrong about the justice system from the street cop to solving the case? And how can a writer research for books in the crime and thriller genre?

No matter what you write–memoir, fiction, or non fiction–chances are you will need to interview someone to fill in the gaps in your research. (more…)

July Writing Show: Hearts and Minds: Exploring YA Fiction at the Source

The Writing Show

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Recap

Pencil by Sheri Blume

Description

Is YA your genre of choice, or are you considering it? One of the hottest markets in publishing, young adult fiction has specific challenges. What makes good YA and how is it different than adult fiction? Who better to ask than the target audience themselves—and an author and librarian who have successfully reached young adult readers?

James River Writer’s Writing Show for July 2013, Hearts and Minds: Exploring YA Fiction at the Source featured children’s librarian Lucinda Whitehurst and Lana Krumwiede, author of Freakling. Moderator Valley Haggard, founder of Richmond Young Writers, guided the discussion about what works, what doesn’t, and the trends and whether you should follow them.

The second half of the program highlighted a panel of teens, including some of JRW’s Youth Advisory Board members. Chico Payne, Cassie Womack, and Madeleine Jordon-Lord. The students talked about their pet peeves and what their favorite authors get right. Annesha Sengupta and Gbari Garrett read a few excerpts from their own work. The program concluded with questions from the audience.

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A Writer’s Platform – Marketing at Every Stage of Your Career

The Writing Show

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Recap

Pencil by Jennifer Drummond

Description

Who are you as a writer? Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned author, how do you build your brand and your following? Being a writer today means more than just writing. Learning and implementing marketing strategies at every chapter of your journey is essential for success.

A Writer’s Platform – Marketing at Every Stage of Your Career, offered unique perspectives from three authors—Karen Chase, Deb Dudley, and Meg Medina—each in a different phase of their literary paths. Julie Geen, a freelance writer and teacher, moderated the discussion, which included how to prioritize and budget tasks and how to shape an identity as a writer.
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River of Dust: The Gritty Truth About Editing

The Writing Show

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Recap

Pencil by Kevin Yuan

Description

Have you reached the point when you can’t look at your manuscript a moment longer? It may be time for a fresh pair of eyes—and not just anyone’s. But what does working with a professional editor entail, and how will you feel about the result?

The latest in James River Writer’s Writing Show series delves deep into the editing process that resulted in the publication of Virginia Pye’s debut novel. River of Dustselected as an Indie Next Pick and to be released on May 14, has been hailed by Annie Dillard as “terrific, tremendous, wonderful…a strong, beautiful, deep book.”

Pye, local to Richmond, and her editor, visiting award-winning author Nancy Zafris, a manuscript consultant and series editor for the Flannery O’Connor award for short fiction, will share the details of their successful collaboration. Patty Smith, a short fiction and nonfiction writer and teacher, will moderate the discussion about what had to change and Pye’s 20-year writing journey.

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