I'm so excited to welcome my friend, the New York Times bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton who is celebrating the publication of her newest novel, The Wednesday Daughters, to my blog. Below Meg explains the history of her writing career - and her firm belief in the comfort of writing friends.
Take it away, Meg:
The history of my own writing starts with a purse. Like the character of Linda in my novel, The Wednesday Sisters, my first writing teacher—at a college extension class—dumped hers out over the table and told us to write for five minutes about anything that spilled out.
Ok, wait. The truth, if memory serves, is that my first writing teacher actually brought a brown paper lunch bag full of interesting things. The purse is fiction. But you get the idea. And perhaps I should say I was well into my 30s by the time this happened? In case you’re imagining, say, an eight-year-old with missing teeth.
At any rate, my teacher swore we wouldn’t have to read (just as Linda does in The Wednesday Sisters when she’s pushing the sisters to write at the picnic table in the park). Then she called on me to read first.
Which is the good news. If she hadn’t, I’d have ducked out before she could. It had taken all the nerve I had just to get to that class, to admit that, yes, I dreamed of writing novels.
To make a long story short from that point, it took me ten years to get my first book published. It took me several just to get a short piece in a magazine. The thing that kept me going was writing friends. I’ve gathered with writing groups of one sort or another in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Nashville, and Palo Alto, which are the three places I’ve lived as a writer. Would I have kept writing without their support, or would I had slunk back to the law and lived out my days in 6-minute billable increments? I don’t know, and I’m sure glad I’ll never have to. Being a published novelist is my dream come true. And my best advice to other writers remains to find kindred souls. We all lose heart at some point in this process. We all need support.
So it’s perhaps no surprise that the novels I write are about friends supporting friends when life gets tough. In The Wednesday Sisters, it was five moms helping each other become writers as they made their way through other challenges. In my new novel, The Wednesday Daughters, it’s three of the daughters of the original Sisters, carrying the support to the next generation. There is a lot of writing advice in this new book just as there was in The Wednesday Sisters. Much if it this time comes from Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter, in whose English Lake District home the novel is largely set.
But the heart of the story is friends helping friends as they deal with the things we all deal with in life. Love. Loss. Grief. Awkwardness. Embarrassment. Motherhood. Dealing with our own mothers. And did I mention love? At it’s heart, The Wednesday Daughters is a love story. Or two. Or actually, probably five.
Meg Waite Clayton is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels: The Wednesday Sisters, The Wednesday Daughters, The Four Ms. Bradwells, and the Bellwether Prize finalist The Language of Light. She’s written for The Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Miami Herald, Writer's Digest, Runner's World, The Literary Review and public radio, and for Ms. and Forbes online. Come say hello on facebook (www.facebook.com/novelistmeg), twitter (@megwclayton) or at www.megwaiteclayton.com.
"The present and the past intertwine beautifully and inevitably in Meg Waite Clayton's winning follow-up to The Wednesday Sisters. From the beguiling Lake District setting, to a completely charming (and spot-on) portrayal of Beatrix Potter, to the way the Wednesday daughters strive to unpuzzle both their own choices and their mothers' legacies, every layer of the novel delivers. Utterly rich and satisfying. —PAULA MCLAIN, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE PARIS WIFE