May 8, 2013

Interview with Anne Wertz Garvin

I am happy to interview Anne Wertz Garvin about her novel:  
On Maggie's Watch
Author Introduction: 
I am a doctor of exercise physiology and exercise psychology and teach full time at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. I teach Nutrition, Research Methods, Stress Management and Current Topics in Health. I am also a professor at Southern New Hampshire University in the Creative Writing MFA there. I speak nationally on both topics related to health and exercise and writing.
My goals are two-fold lately:

  1. To publicize my books, speaking, writing and teaching
  2. To help others do the same.

When I was getting started in writing and publishing, I depended a lot on other's knowledge, generosity and willing acceptance of me. Since that time I have tried to help others move forward in any way I can so we all work together to help each other.
About the Book:
Are the names of the characters in your novels important?That is a really good question. My names are really important. I try to fit the name and character even if it's only in my mind. Maggie is a traditionally likable person and likable character which balances out some of the unlikeable things she does. Also, Maggie is very close to my daughter's name which is Meghan and Julia is close to my other's daughter's name Julie. I thought if I never wrote another book I'd want my two girls represented in this first one.
Sometimes I pick a name just by the way it sounds or have something special about them. In my new book Hope Is The Thing With A Tail Lucy is short for her full name luscious Peterman and there is a whole story behind that unusual name that is explained in the book.

What about the titles of your novels?

On Maggie's Watch was named by my editor before she even considered buying the book. I had pitched to her my book titled, at the time, A Congregation of Crocodiles and she said, "You should change the title to On Maggie's watch. I didn't talk with her again until she bought the book (having forgotten entirely her/our history). During one of our later conversations she said to me, "I don't know if I like the title." I said, "You titled it!" She and I laughed hard at our terrible memories how quickly things change.

My second novel's title was changed too and I understand why—the reference was too obscure. Let Go Let Dog was a reference to the Alcoholics Anonymous phrase Let Go Let Dog. There are alcoholics in the book and dogs. I thought it was perfect. Now it is Hope Is The Thing With a Tail which I like and is prettier and hopeful. I hope it works.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?Yes! Sitting disease. Sitting will kill you and writing is usually done while sitting. I have a podium desk and a treadmill desk to reduce the sitting in my writing time. I don't use them all the time but every little bit helps.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Perseverance and self esteem. If you don't know who you are and are unwilling to continually put yourself out there even after multiple rejections, you won't make it as a writer.

Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?Yes, there is a movie called Happy Go Lucky about this woman with a kind of unsinkable attitude who meets someone who almost sinks her. I cried all the way through that movie. E.E. Cummings said: To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. Really speaks to me. I've always been different. Strong willed, opinionated, a real can-do girl and I don't always get rewards for that kind of energy. People either think I have a secondary agenda or maybe I'm annoyingly energetic—in either case I sometimes take it on the chin. I felt like that movie really captured me.



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