Interview with Liza Weiland

16 weeks remaining


The Art & Craft of Writing!

Liza WeilandLiza Wieland is an American novelist, short story writer and poet. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, and the North Carolina Arts Council. Her work has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. Her novel A Watch of Nightingales won the 2008 Michigan Literary Fiction Award. Liza earned her B.A. in English from Harvard and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She has taught at Colorado College and California State University-Fresno, and has been a Professor of English at East Carolina University since 2007.

Liza will be a presenter in the panel discussion that will kick off the 2014 Pamlico Writers Conference. Her experience as a published author of several outstanding novels will guide her in talking about writing a query letter, getting an agent, and working with a publisher. In the following interview, she shares some of her thoughts about her career in writing.

PWCC:   Liza, when did you decide and what lead you to become a writer?

Liza:        I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I told long, coincidence-laden stories to my first grade class and began writing them in second grade. I always loved words. Both my parents were readers.

PWCC:   What other genres did you explore?

Liza:        I began writing stories but then discovered poetry when I was eight or nine and wrote poems until I was in my late 20’s.

PWCC:   Which genre would you now consider to be your “passion”?

Liza:        I write mostly fiction now.

PWCC:   Does your writing interface with your teaching?

Liza:        Well, I teach only writing courses, so the interface is close. I do talk to students about what I’m working on, though not in great detail. But it sometimes happens that I’m having the same struggles as they are.

PWCC:   Is some, most, or all of your writing conceived through personal experience?

Liza:         Some.

PWCC:   Do you consider commercial value when choosing subjects and characters for your stories or poems?

Liza:        Not really. Subjects and characters choose me.

PWCC:   Do you have an agent, and if so, how did you find him/her?

Liza:        I’ll talk about this at the conference.

PWCC:   I look forward eagerly to that discussion. What is your favorite of all your works?

Liza:        I’m fond of all of them. I try to choose but I can’t.

PWCC:   If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?

Liza:        I wouldn’t have been so quick to leave New York City after I finished my graduate work.

PWCC:   What or who has been the greatest influence in your writing?

Liza:        My high school teachers. And reading.

PWCC:   And what a nice accolade for teachers in public education, not to mention the reminder that we should all continue to read and learn about our art and craft, and create quality writing that serves as a model for the young. Thanks Liza.

Doris Schneider

Pamlico Writers Conference & Competition
Saturday, March 8, 2014          9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Washington Civic Center, Washington, NC


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