Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world?
Good writing touches the heart and enriches the mind. People learn from reading books--it opens their minds. In Mary Magdalene's Stations of the Cross, for example, I wanted to present a strong, independent, courageous version of this beloved woman from the Bible and not waste ink on whether she was a prostitute or Jesus' lover. That's been done to death! I focused on who she was not what she was--and suddenly when you see this centuries old tradition of the Stations which is often so formulaic through her eyes, the whole thing comes to life! People start to have an entirely different experience from reading this book than they do wandering a church reciting prayers.
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block?
This is the first book I've ever written at home. Generally, I write business books and I put a great deal of thought into the outline, chapter by chapter. I write the first chapter and then I go away for about a week--somewhere rather glamorous and secluded. I write every day starting at 7 am and finishing about 11 pm. There are a few breaks but not many. It's my "writing week" and I take full advantage of it. The idea of going somewhere glamorous helps--you don't feel deprived and lonely as you might otherwise. You're loving it!!
What is your favorite time to write?
In the morning. I often go to sleep thinking about a problem in my writing and when I wake up, the answer has come or, as I like to say "the muse is dancing." She always dances in the morning for me--which is not great in terms of working out because you have a choice: Do I go to my desk or go to the gym? And the desk usually wins!
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
I don't write fiction so I don't think this would work for that, but I do an outline--what is the overall outline of the book, what is in each chapter. That takes a couple of weeks. But once you've got that figured out, the writing doesn't seem that difficult. I balk at the outline; I want to start writing. But having the discipline to do the "dreaded outline" has always helped me.
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age?
Self-publishing. For openers, you have someone design your cover; this was always a fight for me with publishing houses. You don't have to wait a YEAR for them to get the book all ready to go; this book went from first draft to Amazon in 5 weeks. The opportunity to use Zoom to connect with audiences is FANTASTIC. Yes, the old bookstore signings were kind of romantic and fun--but you can talk to 100 people in the morning in the Midwest and another 100 on the West coast in the afternoon!
Ann Regimbal's Mary Magdalene's Stations of the Cross is out now.