This week I asked the author Nina Vida to answer a few questions. She is the author of seven books and gives hope to anyone who thinks it is too late to start a writing career. Visit her website and her blog to learn more about Nina and her books.
Thanks for stopping by Nina!
1. You began your writing career after your children were out of the house and some encouragement from your husband. Can you tell us a little about how you became a published author?
When the children went to college, so did I, majoring in English, with no thought of writing anything more complicated than a grocery list. As part of my course work I was required to take a creative writing class. I said to myself, oh, no, creative writing, what do I do, what do I say. But I was stuck with it. So I wrote an essay about my sister, who had had heart surgery at age 38 and how it had affected the way I looked at life and health and everything else. The professor loved it, said it made her cry. My husband (who had been a Navy journalist) read it and said he thought I should try my hand at writing a novel. I had always been a fanatic reader, but reading a book and writing one are two very different pursuits, and I couldn’t conceive of myself as a writer, so I resisted. I told my husband that writers were born writing, they wrote books and poems in the cradle, that writing was a sacred profession, not to be taken lightly. He wouldn’t give up. Finally I agreed to try, and that was how it began. Every evening my husband read what I had written that day, and then we discussed it, and after a while I began to get the hang of it.
2. How was the writing experience different from your first book to your last?
The writing experience from the first book to the seventh was a tremendous learning curve. Whatever talent a writer has, nothing worthwhile is accomplished without craft, and craft only comes with writing, writing and more writing. Which is what I did. I kept writing, and with each book I struck out farther from shore, began exploring stylistic tropes, began thinking in terms of imagery and metaphor, but always wanting to tell a story and tell it beautifully.
3. What is the best writing advice you ever received?
The best writing advice I ever got was from my husband at a time when prospects for getting my first novel published looked bleak. “Your time will come,” he said, “and in the meantime where else can you get all these cheap thrills?”
4. How do you feel about the new electronic readers? Do you have a Kindle or plan on buying one?
I don’t have a Kindle, but my husband does, and he loves it. I’ve learned never to say no to anything new, but right now I still like the smell of a book and the feel of the pages turning beneath my fingers. I even like the dog-eared look of a well-read book.
5. You’ve written books in a few different genres. What is your favorite genre to read?
I read mostly literary or mainstream fiction, but an author who uses language distinctively, who has genuine insight into his characters, who uses dialogue in a realistic way, and who knows how to tell a story without padding the book to death with unnecessary exposition – that’s my kind of author, my kind of book.
6. I love quotes. Do you have a favorite?
A favorite quote: Take nothing on its face; take everything on its evidence.
7. What are you currently reading?
I just finished “The House on Fortune Street” by Margot Livesey.
8. If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character who would you choose?
Elizabeth Bennett in “Pride and Prejudice,” because she’s so smart!
9. And finally, what are you working on right now and do you have a book hitting the shelves soon?
I’ve recently finished work on a novel about Jewish refugees in Shanghai during World War II.
Books by Nina- The Texans, The End of Marriage, Between Sisters, Goodbye Saigon, Maximilian’s Garden, Return from Darkness, Scam