Writers’ Clubs — Thonie Hevron
Today I’m happy to welcome author Thonie Hevron as she shares about writers’ clubs.
I would still be wandering the authorial stratosphere if I hadn’t found Redwood Writers. I’d written a book—a thriller set in my former home, Sonoma County. I penned By Force or Fear while I lived on the other side of California, while missing Sonoma County so much that I set my story there. It was my way of coping with homesickness.
In 2004, my husband and I finally came home to SoCo. When I moved, I lost the manuscript. Later, I was lucky to find the outline on a thumb drive. I re-wrote the story and it was even better than before! Soon after, in the local newspaper, hubby found a writers group called JumpStart that met in our town. It’s leader, Pat Tyler, introduced me to reading my work in a group. She also fostered my scribblings, steering me to the local chapter of the California Writers Club—Redwood Writers.
Finding a group of dedicated writers who encourage each other was a huge step forward in my writing process. Under their superlative leadership, I attended club sponsored classes, workshops, and panels. Each monthly meeting has an hour-long teaching session as well—featuring different topics such as the business of writing, craft tips, promotion, marketing and social media.
From all this input, I was able to formulate a plan. Roughly it looked like this: write, write, write, query, learn, write, speak, blog, learn some more. I mapped out my next novel in outline form. After all, I’m a retired law enforcement veteran and structure such as this helps me keep track of all the strands of my story. While I worked on my story, I found a critique group, Thrillerz. After joining Redwood Writers, this was the best thing I could’ve done.
Over the course of these meetings, I realized that I needed to build a platform. I knew I had to expand my audience, but the term marketing struck terror in my heart. After all, I was a writer—solitary, shy, withdrawn from the general population. But wait, no, I wasn’t solitary. I had Redwood Writers, then the Public Safety Writers Association, then, Sisters in Crime. Redwood Writers hosted (still does) bi-monthly salons for authors to read their work to each other. The intent was to dip writers’ toes in the swamp of public speaking. There also were Open Mics held at several different venues (all of which I participated in) and an annual member book launch for 10-12 RW authors to debut their books.
I did the above but felt I needed more. So, I volunteered to co-chair a Redwood Writers’ Conference in 2014. The lead up to the event was where the rubber met the road: I attended every monthly club meeting to publicize the conference. Yes, I got up in front of a crowd of 75 or so people and made announcements. I’m by no means OVER my stage fright but I can certainly manage it. I’ve even tackled some other, unrelated fears such as driving over bridges.
To date, I’ve written four books, with three published. I’ve just signed with a new small press publisher, Aakenbaaken & Kent who’s committed to re-pubbing all three books and the new manuscript under construction. I’ve also conquered challenges that had held me back over the years. I owe it all to Redwood Writers.
Who knew what doors a good writers club would open?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thonie Hevron
After 35 years in California law enforcement, Thonie Hevron uses her experience to write suspense novels based on the lives of the people behind the badge. She is retired and lives with her husband in the historic Northern California town of Petaluma. Thonie blogs stories (https://thoniehevron.wordpress.com/) from law enforcement veterans to portray the police character accurately and give authors and the public insight into why cops do what they do. Her two police procedural thrillers, By Force or Fear (set in Sonoma County) and Intent to Hold won awards in the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA) Writers Contest in 2012 and 2014. The third book, called With Malice Aforethought (also set in Sonoma County) won 2016 PSWA Writers Contest (unpublished novel, 2nd place) and the East Texas Writers Guild 2015 First Chapter Award. For further information, go to www.thoniehevron.com for appearance dates.