Alice Osborn is the author of three books of poetry, most recently After the Steaming Stops, and is the editor of the short fiction anthology Tattoos. She’s working on her next poetry book, Heroes without Capes. Her past educational and work experience is unusually varied and now it feeds her strengths as an editor for hire who takes good writers and turns them into great authors. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has taught writing workshops to hundreds of aspiring authors from nine to ninety years old, both in person and online. Her pieces have appeared in the News and Observer, The Broad River Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Soundings Review, and in numerous journals and anthologies. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Writers’ Network and performs her poetry to captivated audiences throughout the South and beyond. Alice lives in Raleigh with her husband and two children. Visit her website at www.aliceosborn.com.
At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Alice will serve as a Critiquer for the Critique Service, which provides writers with in-depth literary critique of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry with a seasoned writer or editor. A one-on-one, thirty-minute review session will be scheduled for registrants wishing to participate in the Critique Service.
Alice will also serve as a reviewer for the Marketing Mart, which provides writers with an opportunity to create or refine an effective plan to pitch, promote, and sell their current, upcoming, or proposed books. The Network will schedule a one-on-one, thirty-minute session with a publishing or bookselling professional for those who register for the Marketing Mart.
What was your favorite book as a child?
Animal Farm by George Orwell—I read it when I was nine years old, and I loved its utter (or udder) simplicity.
If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
Hollywood casting director, not because I’d have the power to make/break careers, but because I love seeing actors in the right role.
What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
As a new writer, don’t enter your work into contests that ask for money—you’ll lose a lot of money.
Any memorable rejections?
You want just one? This is more of a compilation: working really long and hard on a creative project and then, after the presentation, having the decision-maker not take notice or be dismissive.
Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?
Slouching in one of my formal dining room chairs.
The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
Atonement by Ian McEwan. It was perfectly cast!
What was the worst?
Memoirs of a Geisha.
Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
To meet other writers in the state, to know what’s going on in the local, regional, and national publishing/writing markets, and to feel a part of something greater than yourself.
Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
As a reader, authors who telegraph everything to the reader because they’re afraid the reader isn’t smart enough to get it the first time. As a writer I get frustrated by people who think writing is going to bring them immediate fame and fortune. Ha, ha.
Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
I write by deadlines, and I set aside days of the week where I’m in my office all day to write.
Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I definitely write by the seat of my pants after I have a title or theme in mind or an emotion I need to convey.
What was the first thing you ever published?
A newsletter in the fourth grade and I had a robin, cardinal, parrot, and goldfinch representing the different sections like book reviews, tips, and events. Funny, because I now live with two parakeets and a cockatiel, and I write a monthly newsletter!
Who is your favorite North Carolina author?