YA Author Rebecca Bartlett has been a long time member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, its current treasurer and always a great resource. She is sure to inspire conferees with her upcoming conference session “Create Credible Characters with Voice, Dialogue, and Point of View.” Plus, she will be sharing insight with session “The Making of an Anthology.”
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Rebecca Bartlett: I became a reader at an early age and spent all my spare time with books. Like anyone who admires an art, eventually you want to participate in it, not just watch.
In high school there were publishing opportunities in the school newspaper and literary magazine so I got more serious about writing. The quest has waxed and waned over the years, depending on my level of busyness, but the urge to write has been there since my teens.
What/who inspired you to write your first book?
Rebecca Bartlett: Depression—that’s what got me to finish my first novel. I hated my job and where I was living and I thought immersing myself in the creative process would help me break out. The first book I wrote had a silly plot, under developed characters, and poor pacing, but I finished it, proving to myself I was capable of at least writing a book.
Then we moved, I got a job I actually liked, and writing went on the back burner for a while. I’m a firm believer that most art is fueled by human misery.
I read you also teach Microbiology, when do you make the time to write?
Rebecca Bartlett: If you want to write, you find the time. On my busy days, I might skip but, when I’ve got the opportunity, I sit down and start typing. At least half of what I write winds up being junk, but that means half of what I write has potential. Writing is a habit, one you need to develop and stick to.
You wrote the screenplay, “Musings”. Was that experience different than writing a book? If so, how? And did you enjoy it?
Rebecca Bartlett: I wrote a short story called “Conversations with the Muse”, based on a dream. While writing a scene, one of the characters kept turning around and shouting at me that I was doing it wrong. It made me want to explore the creative process where the muse wasn’t a positive influence, but actively dragging the author down.
One of the members of my critique group is an amateur filmmaker. He read it and thought it would make a great short. It was fun to explore another storytelling medium and really fun to see our work up on the big screen at several film festivals.
For the Write Stuff conference, can you please give us a sneak peek into what you will talk about in your Saturday presentations, “Create Credible Characters with Voice, Dialogue, and Point of View” and “The Making of an Anthology”?
Rebecca Bartlett: There are a lot of books out there that don’t have the best plots, but people fall in love with them because of the characters. There are other novels with fantastic thrills and twists, but readers would be hard pressed to remember anyone’s name. In “Create Credible Characters with Voice, Dialogue, and Point of View” we’ll cover the features of successful characters that capture the reader’s imagination (i.e. Sherlock Holmes) and those which fall flat.
GLVWG Writes Stuff is an anthology the club put together as a Learn-by-Doing project. Members provided the content and we walked them through the stages of self-publishing: writing, critiquing, copy editing, formatting, cover design, marketing, etc. As a non-profit, GLVWG has a responsibility to educated the public and, as a writers group, we wanted out members to see the process up close and acquire enough confidence to put out their own books if they choose. GLVWG Writes Stuff will be available for sale at the conference.
What have you published recently and what can readers expect from you next?
Rebecca Bartlett: I’ve published four YA fiction novels including the Adventures with a Teenage Muse trilogy, Secrets of the Pendant, and A Haunting in Penn’s Woods. My most recent book was a foray into adult fiction, An Unexamined Life. This year I plan to publish a mystery about a psychiatrist whose dwarfism prevented her from pursuing a career as a detective, so instead she solves crimes with her amateur mystery club: The Great Circus Detective Agency.
Rebecca Bartlett lives in eastern Pennsylvania where she continues to play with her imaginary friends well into adulthood. Her young adult books include the Adventures of a Teenage Muse trilogy, Secrets of the Pendant andA Haunting in Penn’s Woods. She is also the screenwriter and producer for the short film, “Musings”, about a young adult author suffering through a toxic relationship with his source of inspiration.
Rebecca also teaches Microbiology in the Lehigh Valley and is a long-time member, and current treasurer, of GLVWG.