National Association of Women Writers From NAWW Weekly Online Newsletter: 3/17/08 Member Interview of the Week (Updated October, 2015) This Week – Mary Lynn Archibald Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? A: I wrote a story about a pig in the 4th grade. I got an A and lots of praise, and I was hooked. Q: How and when did you make this dream a reality? A: I’ve been writing off and on all my life, but it wasn’t until 1995, when I approached my mother about writing a memoir of her early life, that I decided I could really write a whole book. After that, I started writing articles for small-businesses, magazines and newspapers. I loved it. I found that as long as I was writing, I was happy. Q: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in your writing career? A: Discipline and consistency. I’m not always disciplined of course, and not always consistent- but I keep trying, because I know that way lies success. Q: What are you working on right now? A: My current project is to finish a memoir that spans the period from my early childhood in a very small town to my life as a show business wannabe in San Francisco. I’m nearly through, and I hope to meet my official publication deadline of spring, 2016. Q: Name some authors or books that have influenced your writing life in a positive way. A: I devoured On Writing Well, by William Zinsser. Natalie Goldberg was an early influence. She taught me how to write in coffee shops. Anne LaMott of course—her wonderful discourses on the writing life in Bird by Bird. And Dan Poynter and Peter Bowerman taught me that I could self publish without losing my mind. Q: What have you recently read or what are you reading right now that you would consider an outstanding work? A: I love John LeCarré. my favorites of his work are: A Perfect Spy, The Night Clerk, and The Constant Gardener, in that order. I loved A Perfect Spy best, because it was semi-autobiographical and utterly fascinating. What a life that man has led. A memoir that touched me was All Over But the Shoutin’, by Rick Bragg, as it takes place in the South, and reminds me of my mother’s stories. He’s great! Recent novels I have read are: She’s Come Undone, and The Lovely Bones, and Faking It. More recently, I waded through Anthony Burgess’ Earthly Powers. My favorite current memoirs are of course, The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls, and The Liars’ Club, by Mary Karr. Q: What excites or ignites your soul? A: My garden, and the time to enjoy it; Nature, and the time to enjoy it; books, and the time to read them; my sweetie and the time to be with him; the usual things. Mary Lynn Archibald is a freelance writer and speaker whose articles, stories and business-related copywriting have appeared in both regional newspapers and regional and national magazines. She is the author of two memoirs. Briarhopper: A History, is the story of a shy country girl’s odyssey from Kentucky coal country to California, 1913-1945. Accidental Cowgirl: Six Cows, No Horse and No Clue, a memoir of the twelve years she and her husband spent struggling to raise cattle with no prior experience in ranching and no idea what to do with cattle. “It was pathetic I’ll admit,” she says,”but it was also hilarious and wonderfully life-changing.” Accidental Cowgirl was published in Fall 2007. Her upcoming memoir, Showoff: From Soquel to the Summer of Love, is due out next spring. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Carl, and dog, Fizzbo. Find her at: www.winecountrywriter.com or http://accidentalcowgirl.com, where you can find book excerpts, or e-mail her at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.