Today my dear friend, critique partner, road trip buddy and fellow SCBWI member, Carrie Dalby (AKA Wonderwegian) stopped by on the blog tour for her new YA historical release, Fortitude. I don't usually like historicals, but this one is so beautifully written and has such a profound message that I fell in love with it immediately. Plus, the main character is a redhead, and we gingers gotta stick together, you know! ;-)
Carrie has written a wonderfully insightful post about the importance of a support system for writers, and I couldn't agree with her more. Here's a little bit about Carrie and her book.
Born and raised in California but a resident of Mobile, Alabama since 1996, Carrie Dalby is a homeschooling mom with a love of literature for young adults and children. Some of Carrie’s favorite volunteer hours are with Mobile Writers Guild, SCBWI, and Metro Mobile Reading Council’s Young Author workshops.
Growing up with a Creole best friend, sixteen-year-old Claire O’Farrell held little regard for the Jim Crow laws and the consequences of befriending those of a different color. But once she leaves the haven of her home on Dauphin Island, the reality of racial intolerance can no longer be ignored. Though she’s underage, Claire makes the bold decision to serve alongside Loretta, her best friend, in the “colored camp” hospital tents during the Spanish-American War, but her idealistic attitude and choice of working location immediately puts her in danger. Claire gives her heart to a soldier in the camp, only to find herself caught in the racial violence besieging the area. When the intolerant attitudes and stigma follow her home, she clings to her faith to navigate through her social isolation and find the path she was meant to travel.
(Buy Fortitude here)
Take it away, Carrie!
*hands over sparkly blue microphone*
Thank you, Joyce, for hosting me on your site today. As someone who’s seen Fortitude from before it was a complete first draft, you’re well aware of the long journey and my emotional rollercoaster over the past several years. You’re part of my “inner circle” (whether you like it or not.) Today I’d like to share a peek into my literary support system, which includes plenty of Blue Attitude, with your readers.
The act of writing is often done alone (or in the company of great music) but to be successful as a writer, a strong community is essential. I was blessed to meet Laurie Halse Anderson at a book signing in the fall of 2008. We’d been communicating on social media for a few years and at the book signing she asked if I was “Wonderwegian” then embraced this baby-wearing, wannabe writer. Laurie knew of my struggles to write and told me I needed to find my local SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) group to help me on my journey.
Being the dutiful fan, I looked up information and was put in touch with the local liaison. While the LL didn’t have an active group going at the time, she invited me to come to a Mobile Writers Guild meeting, which I did in early 2009. It was there I met then president of MWG, Joyce Scarbrough. At the time I didn’t join SCBWI but I joined MWG. At the guild, I was invited into my first critique group—by Joyce, of course. Since we were both working on young adult manuscripts, we splintered from the others, recruited a few more people, and started our own Write Club, but I can’t talk about that. It was with the new group, surrounded by people who also enjoyed YA literature, that I completed my first manuscript (Corroded, coming in the spring of 2016) and began Fortitude.
When I met up with Laurie two years later she asked if I’d joined SCBWI. I had to tell her “not yet.” She told me “YOU NEED TO JOIN!” So I finally did. (When The Queen of YA/YA Goddess tells you something, you do it!) Within the next half a year, I became the local liaison for Mobile in the Southern Breeze Region of SCBWI (I still am) and the acting president of Mobile Writers Guild (I served for two years, and am currently working as vice-president.)
Without this ever-expanding circle of literary connections, I wouldn’t be where I am today—blog hopping to promote my debut novel. I’d been writing, reading about writing, and studying the marketplace for MG/YA books since I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until I joined a physical group that I took my writing completely serious. As a believer in holding yourself accountable, the best way I’ve found to do so is to surround yourself with people who will ask you how you’re doing with writing and get excited when you talk word count and query letters. You need people who understand the frustrations of form rejections and the excitement when an agent or editor requests a full. Whether you write, knit, paint, or volunteer at a shelter, surround yourself with likeminded people who will laugh and cry along with you on this rollercoaster of life. Your goals will thank you in the long run.
For more stops on Carrie's tour, click here.
You can also find her all over the Web (She's everywhere! She's everywhere!)
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+CarrieDalbyCox/posts
Thanks so much for stopping by, Carrie!
~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!
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