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INTERVIEW
OBSERVATIONS

"Any first time author can be made to look "fabulous" -- it's all about how an agent, author and publisher present the author. Every author has a background and a story, which can be told to the book- sellers and public in a boring way or a way that is spectacular."

  Barbara   Zitwer



"If an author is a terrific writer and has a voice or perspective or style that's not been seen before, there is a far greater chance it will have a place in the literary market. Though it's true that it can be tough to get a first book published, agents and editors are always looking for the next voice or story."

  Elise Capron



"Whatever you're doing in this business, whether you're an agent, editor, or writer, it's crucially important to keep on top of what's happening in the industry. Agents and editors are much more likely to take writers seriously if they can name other writers in their genre whose work they admire ..."

  W. Gottlieb



"The truth is that most publishing professionals needn't read further than that ... Judging a book in five sentences might sound like an outrageous idea. But it's really not."

  Noah Lukeman



 

Writers Talk Shop, Novel, and Conference
     Commentary by conference attendees

     A Conversation Between Greg Haas and Michael Neff

Greg has served as a political advisor to presidential candidates, governors, and mayors for nearly 30 years. He has also advised a wide range of clients from Fortune 100 companies to small businesses, major league sports franchises and labor unions, as well as large metropolitan, small rural and suburban school districts. In those assignments he has developed successful strategies covering all aspects of community relations from crisis management through general public relations. Greg was the first person hired by the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign and has compiled an 8 and 2 record in statewide campaigns.

______________

Algonkian is much more hands on not the big factories you find at other conferences. The pitches at other conferences are often just assembly lines. At one conference an editor told me he met with 20 writers in a three hour period. Algonkian gives you more time with editors and agents and you learn from other writers who are making their pitches

- Greg Haas
______________

MN: What was your inspiration for your novel, The Butchers Thumb ?

GH: The Butcher's Thumb has long been on my mind. After nearly 30 years as a political consultant (much of it in Ohio a microcosm of the nation) I've watched and learned from some of the best political strategists in the world. I've spent a great deal of time listening to the people they influence. I felt I could tell a story about how the process works. Fiction gave me a chance to go where non-fiction wouldn't let me--inside the heads of people at both ends of the political food chain. The final inspiration came from a strange place Karl Rove spent a great deal of time in Ohio between 2001-04. He wasn't making speeches or raising money but listening to and studying the people in the nations most purple state.

MN: We gotta know more.

GH: While a mix of real and fictional events The Butcher's Thumb is not a rehashing of history but a timeless look at how people are manipulated to win elections and start wars. How the land, life lessons and religious beliefs shape opinions.

Kevin O'Brien is a true believer press secretary for President Will Kensington the incurious Governor of Texas known as Gods Will. His veep is the powerful and controlling Dixon Webb. Kevin is manipulated by his mentor Kenningston's master strategist, Mark Shay, Kevin soon discovers he is a pawn in an effort to expand the War in the Middle East after the re-election. Kevin's love interest Kris Johannsen, a photo journalist, helps Kevin find his morale compass and expose the plan.

MN: What made you choose to attend the Algonkian conference, or the New York Pitch Conference, or both?

GH: I was fortunate enough to attend both. I searched through the Writers Digest and across the web to find the right fit. I've attended other conferences but these two stood out. The conference is a great opportunity to learn from experts but also to meet and spend time with a diverse group of aspiring writers. The résumé's of these writers are impressive and many have already published. Spending a few intense day's with your fellow attendees is a great experience.

MN: Do you feel the novel is improved as a result?

GH: I've substantially refocused the premise and the novel improved as a result.

MN: What did you find most effective about the pitch sessions in New York and/or at Algonkian?

GH: I'd have to say pitching because it forces a whole new level of attention. You get some great advice from editors and agents.

MN: What did you find most effective about the Algonkian approach as a whole?

GH: Faculty choice was outstanding and as a result the story is much better. Mixing up the work with the pitches was effective. The assignments were challenging and rewarding. As a first time author the increased confidence has meant a lot.

MN: How would you compare Algonkian and New York Pitch Conference to other writer conferences?

GH: Algonkian is much more hands on not the big factories you find at other conferences. The pitches at other conferences are often just assembly lines. At one conference an editor told me he met with 20 writers in a three hour period. Algonkian gives you more time with editors and agents and you learn from other writers who are making their pitches

MN: Where does the novel go from here?

GH: The good news is that there is interest from both editors and agents. The editors are from a couple of large publishers. As a sometime fisherman it's fun to get bites.


About the interviewer:
Michael Neff is the creator and director of WebdelSol.Com and the Algonkian Writer Conferences.

Web del Sol/Algonkian Workshops
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite 443
Washington, D.C. 20006
algonkian@webdelsol.com
Phone: 1-800-250-8290





 
 
WRITERS AND AUTHORS
TALK ABOUT
ALGONKIAN CONFERENCES


Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Julie Kaewert: "Because I was changing agents, I knew it was important to learn how to package the MS effectively ... When I saw the Seven Mountains Writers Conference on the website, it looked like just the thing. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations in every way."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Kate Gallison: "One way to lengthen your life is to stretch it backwards, and so I read a lot of history. Early movies fascinate me. They were both like and unlike stage plays of the time, borrowing actors and melodramatic plots, but developing entirely new techniques for portraying dramatic action. "   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, Greg Haas: "I could tell a story about how the process works. Fiction gave me a chance to go where non-fiction wouldn't let me--inside the heads of people at both ends of the political food chain. The final inspiration came from a strange place Karl Rove spent a great deal of time."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, Candy Somoza: "The preparation work got us thinking about the book in the store, how it got there, what makes it sell. While we read works and studied the writing, we also focused on the outside, so to speak, the marketing, and that was essential to prepare us."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, Barbara Marquart: I also wanted to tell a story that celebrates the deep bond between mothers and daughters - the struggles we all face to transcend our circumstances, forgive each other's failures and accept each other's limitations in order to find peace.   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Thierry Sagnier: "I was stuck, hadn't done any serious writing for months, and a friend of mine--also a writer--suggested I attend a workshop to kickstart me. So I looked on the net and found that there were quite a few places that offered what I wanted, but when I researched the Algonkian conference, I recognized the name of a reporter I really respect. He'd been there and was highly complimentary, so that sealed it for me."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, Rae Bryant: "After completing the first draft of Ficklestick's , I wanted professional guidance and a community of writers to help me marinate the work. It was important to me as a first time novelist to seek feedback before finalizing the intricacies. By retaining a sense of early process malleability, I was able to really hear criticisms and then incorporate skills learned. Algonkian provided the perfect setting."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, Alex Keto: "I've been to handful of other conferences and decided that if you find yourself in a large room with someone almost out of eyesight in the front talking at you, the results are what you would expect: generic advice that doesn't really help."   Read More...


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