Along with Virginia McCullough, Valerie Clarizio will lead the workshop “Write Your First Draft—Fast—and Publish Your Book Now!” on Saturday, October 14, 2 pm, at Margaret Lockwood Gallery in Sturgeon Bay. The finance director for the city of Sturgeon Bay, Valerie is the author of three novellas in the Nick Spinelli mystery series and five full-length novels. She talked with Write On’s Maggie Peterman about her writing process and her upcoming class.
Maggie Peterman: Where do you live?
Valerie Clarizio: Sturgeon Bay. I am proud to say that I am a Door County native.
MP: What is a favorite place of yours in Door County?
VC: Newport State Park. It’s just a beautiful park.
MP: What was your childhood like?
VC: Typical. My brothers and I, along with the neighborhood kids, spent our days building forts, riding bikes and playing softball and baseball.
MP: What was your favorite teacher or class in school?
VC: I had several favorite teachers. They all had their own unique qualities. As for favorite classes, I’d have to go with math, accounting, and biology.
MP: What after-school activities did you participate in?
VC: I played softball. I was fairly decent at it so it was fun. Plus, some of my friends were on the team. I also belonged to FHA. Again, it was a social event.
MP: What is your favorite library memory?
VC: The old card catalog.
MP: What author and or book has most influenced your own writing?
VC: Janet Evanovich. She was the first writer who was able to capture my full attention. I just love her light, fast paced books, and quirky sense of humor.
MP: What writing project are you currently working on?
VC: I’ve stepped out of my comfort level and am currently working on a wartime travel book. I think my husband is loving the fact I’m finally interested in wars/history.
MP: How did you become involved with Write On?
VC: Several years ago Jerod Santek (Executive Director of Write On, Door County) stopped by and introduced himself to me at a book signing I was doing at Book World in Sturgeon Bay.
MP: Is there a need for an organization like Write On in Door County?
VC: I believe so. Writing can be difficult, especially when first starting out, so it’s great to have a place to go to get educated and network.
MP: What can people taking your upcoming workshop expect?
VC: The title of the workshop is “Write Your First Draft—Fast—and Finish Your Book Now!” So many people start books and never finish them. Life can get very busy and get in the way of finishing projects. I’ve been there. Between working a full-time job, and a part-time job (I teach at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, too), I understand how difficult it can be to complete a novel. We plan to give authors tips on how to carve out time to finish that first draft, work through other roadblocks, and get that novel ready for publication.
MP: What advice can you give to aspiring Write On writers?
VC: Network. Find productive critique groups. Write what you love and keep at it!