Ladies and gentleman, meet Roxie Hanna. I met Roxie on Twitter and soon added her to my Facebook too. If you read this interview, you’ll understand why. Roxie is a great writer, an inspiration and encouragement to many, plus a lovely warm person with buckets of humor.
After being in her Spotlight section a while back, I realized that the one person who should be on that stage is Roxie herself!! She was kind enough to tell more about herself…
November 22, 2010
This is so nice, Mar, to be asked to share a bit about myself. Hmm, I’m a nerdy girl. Happy with a cup of coffee in the morning as my routine unfolds and thrilled to settle into a comfy chair with a glass of cab and my latest edits. I don’t keep a schedule per say, but I write or edit every day. And read, I read a lot. So far this year I’ve tallied over one hundred books, trying to read a dozen a month, picking shelves at the library, used bookstores, online shops, and new indie bookstores.
I know what you’re thinking, she must read paperbacks, and they’re probably picture books! LOL. Actually some of them are picture books, but I don’t usually count those. I read fiction, nonfiction, poetry, YA, children’s, plus literary fiction. Throw in the e-Newsletters and e-Journals and I’m in heaven. Next to reading, I probably take more notes and research ideas for my own writing, always my notepad, Sony ICD, or COOLPIX within snatching distance.
So, you ask, who am I? Well, many years ago, when I was a wee young thing…no not that far back. But I did grow up in a business that allowed me to experience all aspects of the newspaper world, along with working in the family’s offset printing company. The smell of ink drove me crazy, but I fell in love with the world of printing, meeting newsmakers, and writing a ‘street talk’ column from my high school perspective. Additionally, I was able to learn the creative side of the company: layout, graphic art, dark room production, and bookkeeping—ugh! Not a great time to learn the business, because it was before everything became computerized.
Striking out on my own wasn’t so difficult, as many self-starters out there know. The gift and the curse of growing up in a family business allowed me to try, fail, try again, and develop a thick, very thick, skin. Fast-forward about ten years and I found myself an adult in a crazy world that was more competitive than anything I had ever seen. Xerox was as synonymous for copier as Kleenex is with tissues. The birth of personal computers opened the door for home publishing paired with the internet, and BOOM! can we say revolution?
While all this was happening, I was creating a children’s puzzle column on my electric correcting typewriter, layout board, and light table dreaming about upgrading to a pc, printer, and customized desk. After the trade-in, I was able to land some sweet freelance gigs, but lost my weekly children’s page when the newspaper I contracted with bit the dust. Time was on my side; however, as I was able to write from home, teach classes and workshops, and freelance, and still be Mrs. Multitasker as my daughter grew and my husband traveled following his career.
Things were going quite well for a number of years, but I never really felt like I was living my dream. Anybody out there feeling worn-out from all of the multitasking we are required to do? So about four years ago, as new empty-nesters, we made some changes: I wanted to focus on chasing my writing (what the heck, maybe I could make a go of it without freelancing), and we decided to scale down our lifestyle to live greener. We sold our historical 3600 plus square-foot energy guzzler for a trim, efficient, 1100 plus square-foot ranch. Now, I am in heaven: I have more time to read, write, and reward myself with garden time.
Since our location change, I have many works-in-progress: a trilogy near completion, an outline and multi chapters written for a contemporary romance, a few finished flash fiction pieces searching for a home, plus dozens of miscellaneous pieces including nonfiction, poems, and short stories.
Then there are the children’s pieces: a Science series with a likeable character who pokes and prods through the world using a microscope and a magnifying glass; a middle grade mystery series set in the south (where else? LOL) with four main characters and three traveling families; another series will end up as a first chapter book reader for five to eight year olds; numerous picture books and a couple of bi-lingual ones thrown in to challenge me even more.
In addition, I’m updating and reworking all of the self-help curriculum, teaching materials, and children’s work that I was contracted to write over the last twenty years, forward thinking enough to have held on to all the rights for future publication.
Speaking of forward thinking, in my opinion, the greatest invention for a writer is feedback, from a critique group. Which is why I belong to five critique groups. Two of those I am fortunate enough to lead: the Luncheon Literary Society meeting monthly on a Saturday over lunch (go figure!) and a newly formed SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) chapter. Toss in a poetry group; add a very seasoned, published writer’s group; and a general critique group. We have the best group of writers, diverse in age/genre: they offer generous compliments, suggestions, and respect.
While writing is a huge part of my life, so is paying it forward. I’ve volunteered in some traditional and nontraditional roles over the years. Most recently, I’ve tutored adults in math as they pursued their GED (high school equivalency degree), written programs for a women’s advocacy group, and edited young adults’ book reviews for the non-profit Flamingnet.com.
Last year, I began my blog. This enables me to keep an eye on the market, watching opportunities for newbies, which describes me, too. I try to find places where writers, poets, illustrators, songwriters, and other artistic peeps may submit work without an entry or reading fee. My hope is that someone stumbles across a venue that they never heard of before, or discovers a genre to stretch his/her creative energies. I missed interviewing people, so I began a spotlight section, delving deep into someone’s soul with thought-provoking questions…ha ha ha… I ask three questions, offering a platform to focus on other’s links, releases, works-in-progress, and etcetera.
I also jumped into the Twittersphere and Facebook Community. There’s a whole network of writers out there just as wackadoo as I am, when we get together, watch out world! Seriously, it’s a great way to connect with others, share thoughts and tips about the business of writing, or lament about the isolation a writer experiences.
When I’m not writing? Or reading? I’m crafting something, I love making and remaking jewelry. As a preteen someone gave me a silver and turquoise necklace kit and I became hooked. I inherited both grandmothers ‘unusual’ pieces, and picked up a few others from antique shops over the years; let me say, they look fabulously different now. Oh, and I love shoes! Since my husband’s hobby is woodworking, he created a custom shoe and boot rack for me, and I designed my perfect jewelry armoire which he crafted into a beautiful heirloom piece. I am truly feeling spoiled!
Occasionally I pick up a crochet hook, thread my sewing machine, or unpack my acrylics and sketch pad. More often I wander around my garden snapping pictures, harvesting herbs and veggies, amazed that these plants rose up with so little attention. However, my favorite pastime is traveling. Whether I head north to visit my daughter and son-in-law, or drive with hubs destination unknown, or even take a mini-vacation to refresh my mind, I like to travel by car. With a paper map, the best way ever!
Thanks Mar, for an opportunity to be on your site. I’m so glad to connect with your readers here. I’d love for you to join me on Twitter, follow my blog and share your thoughts about your journey, too.