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NC Literary Hall of Fame

 

 

 

Paul Lucas joined Janklow & Nesbit Associates in 2007. He started in the legal department and began representing authors in 2011 and is now eagerly expanding his list. He is looking for literary, commercial, and genre fiction (specifically science fiction, fantasy, and horror), with a nod to the literary. He also loves narrative nonfiction, history, biography, business, political, and popular science. Clients include Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Robert Baer, Richard Phillips, Matthew Mather, and John Burley. He is not looking for, and does not represent, picture books, women’s fiction, cookbooks, screen or stage plays, poetry, memoir, or inspirational. When in doubt, feel free to query him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the synopsis and first ten pages in the body of the e-mail.

During the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Paul will sit on Sunday's "Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: 'Agents and Editors'" and serve as a reviewer for the Manuscript Mart, which provides writers with the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency. A one-on-one, thirty-minute pitch and Q&A session will be scheduled for attendees who register for the Manuscript Mart.

 

 

What’s the last book you bought for someone else?
I bought a literary magazine filled with images and recipes from Japan. I also sent a copy of American Gun to my dad.

Where’s your favorite place in North Carolina?
I’ve only been to Raleigh and Greensboro. In my imagination, I think the Blue Ridge Mountains or Outer Banks is for me.

Why do you write?
Because e-mail never ends. I leave books to the pros.

What book would you take with you to a desert island, if you could take only one?
Lord of The Rings bound trilogy. Or perhaps a survival guide would be more useful.

What advice would you give someone just about to go on stage to read their work for the first time?
Make sure you’ve read it aloud previously, preferably in front of friends/family. You should be your work’s best performer (until someone produces an audiobook).

What is the ideal time limit when someone is reading from their work?
7.5 minutes.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I was joking above but I really do write e-mails, not books.

Do you think some books should be banned from schools?
Of course, but they’re not Lee, Joyce, or Miller. There’s no reason for a school district to spend money on something that actively teaches hate or intolerance.

What was the first thing you ever published?
The world shall have to wait for that.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Truman Capote.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
Tin House, One Story, and Granta are fantastic. There are many many more.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, which one would it be?
My girlfriend is on the faculty as well so…no comment.

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Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Peter MakuckPeter Makuck grew up in New England and graduated from St. Francis College in Maine where he majored in French and English. He lives on Bogue Banks, one of North Carolina’s barrier islands. His Long Lens: New & Selected Poems was published in 2010 by BOA Editions and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In April, Syracuse University Press released a third collection of short stories, Allegiance and Betrayal. His poems and stories, essays and reviews have appeared in The Nation, The Gettysburg Review, The Hudson Review, Poetry, The Sewanee Review, Yale Review, and others. He is Distinguished Professor emeritus from East Carolina University, where he founded and edited Tar River Poetry from 1978 to 2006.

Peter will lead the Master Class in Poetry at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference. This class will consider a range of questions that writers must ask themselves before they consider a poem to be “finished.” Among other things, we will consider imagery, structure, line-breaks, sonic-devices, tone, setting, speaker, etc. We will also look at several kinds of poems—letter, list, object, place, persona, and how-to. Peter will distribute examples. The goal is to have writers leave the workshop with the beginnings of at least one new poem.

 

What was your favorite book as a child?
Read no books as a child. As a teen, I read fishing and hunting magazines. No books. I faked my way through high school, and didn’t get hooked on reading until my freshman English class in college. William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning” turned me into an addicted reader. Moral: never too late.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
My father had a service station and I loved working on cars, especially my own high-powered junker. My uncle had a tavern. At this stage of the game, I think I’d rather be a bartender.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Well, Saul Bellow said that a writer is primarily a reader moved to emulation. So read, read closely, and reread, and don’t be afraid to steal. An interviewer once told Faulkner that there were remarkable similarities between some of Conrad’s work and his own. Faulkner replied that he had stolen from Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Tolstoy, and many more. Then concluded: “And I’d steal from you too if you were a writer.”

Any memorable rejections?
Yes, George Core at The Sewanee Review turned down a short story years ago, one of my very first. In his letter he said the story needed one more scene of about two or three pages for structural balance. And told me where the scene should be. When I reread the story, I realized he was dead on the money. I added a scene of three pages, sent it back, and he accepted it. Only my second story publication. He’s an incredibly generous editor.

Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?
Sitting at a desk.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
A River Runs Through It.

What was the worst?
The Long, Hot Summer, an adaptation of Faulkner’s first Snopes book, The Hamlet. Paul Newman as a Snopes? Laughable. No way.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
You get a chance to talk and spend some time with others who are involved in the same kind of struggle with paper and ink. A unique learning opportunity. You have a chance to have others objectively view your work and offer constructive criticism. If such conferences were around when was starting out, I’d have saved myself a lot of time. I’ve never taken a course in fiction or poetry writing and there is nothing slower and more haphazard than teaching yourself how to do something.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
There should be a moratorium on navel-gazing poems about poetry. As an editor, I’d get five or ten weekly and grew to hate them.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
Once upon a time, I could write anywhere, at any time, as long as I had a cup of coffee to keep my brain revved up. Nowadays, I work mostly in the morning, at home in my study.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
For me writing is an act of discovery. I’m rarely sure of what’s coming, always a surprise. As (Robert) Frost put it, “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” Amen.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A long poem about the death of my Polish grandfather, “Dziadek,” and about my discovery of photography, imagery, and the importance of aiming outside the self. It was in The Southern Review, 1970s.

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
Fred Chappell. He’s done it all—novels, short stories, poetry, essays, reviews. Really a man of letters. Lots of writers today want their books reviewed, but feel no obligation to give back by writing reviews themselves. Not Ol’ Fred.

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Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Sheila Webster BonehamSheila Webster Boneham writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, much of it focused on nature, environment, and travel. When her second mystery, The Money Bird, was released this fall, Sheila teamed up with Pomegranate Books in Wilmington for their “second annual” cooperative benefit book launch. Six of Sheila’s nineteen books have won major awards, and her short work has appeared in literary and commercial publications. She has worked as an editor for a variety of publishers and freelance writers, and has judged fiction and nonfiction for international writing contests. Sheila holds a Ph.D. in folklore/cultural anthropology from Indiana University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Stonecoast/University of Southern Maine, and she has taught writing at Indiana University, University of Maryland, American University, and universities abroad. Learn more about Sheila, her writing, and her classes and workshops at http://www.sheilaboneham.com.

Sheila will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference titled "Cooperative Book Promotion." Promotion can be about more than simply selling books! Learn how you can work with independent booksellers and other retail outlets and with not-for-profit organizations whose work you believe in to extend your publicity reach, support the cause, promote local businesses, and sell more books. We’ll discuss my experience working with a local bookseller and local and national NFPs, and work through some brainstorming and other exercises to get your cooperative promotion started.

 

Where’s your favorite place in North Carolina?
The northern end of Wrightsville Beach/Shell Island, where you can see the salt marsh and the ocean. I can spend hours there just quietly watching, listening, waiting.

Why do you write?
To learn, to assemble the pieces, to bear witness.

What book would you take with you to a desert island, if you could take only one?
The biggest dictionary I could tote, one that includes etymologies. With that, we have the fundamental tools of all books: words, meanings, relationships.

What advice would you give someone just about to go on stage to read their work for the first time?
Three things. First, unless you're a very odd sort of writer, your audience wants to hear you and they want to like your work. Second, slow yourself down and remember to breathe. Third, enjoy your moment. You worked for it!

What is the ideal time limit when someone is reading from their work?
I guess that depends on the work, the reader, the setting, and the audience, but generally I would say fifteen to twenty minutes is about right.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Mostly I write to discover. When I write fiction, I work from very loose sketches that keep me on track in terms of plot points and story arc, but I don't plot in a conventional sense. With lyric nonfiction—my true love—I keep notes on what I want to include, but then I like to immerse myself in the work until the layers open and reveal the real subject.

Do you think some books should be banned from schools?
No. I think that the subject matter of some books requires readers to have reached a certain level of intellectual and emotional maturity so that they can process the ideas, so books appropriate for high school students may not be appropriate for fourth graders. Some books are better understood when their meanings and nuances are discussed. I do think that some books have more merit than others. The point of education is to enable people to distinguish what is good and useful, in books and in life, and we cannot do that by presenting only part of the world.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A poem, "Snow," in a city-wide junior high school literary magazine.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
I admire many authors, but I would prefer to be myself, but slightly different. I would focus earlier on my "real" work, which is what I consider my lyric and narrative essays and fiction, rather than on my commercial nonfiction (seventeen books and many features).

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
I do, and I love many journals, so I'm going to list the first five that pop into my head, knowing that I'm leaving out many other favorites. But here goes—Gulf Coast, Flyway, Ecotone, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth River.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
I write every morning, and have done so for many years. Depending on what I'm working on, deadlines, and what else is going on in my life and community, I sometimes write in the afternoon or evening as well.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, which one would it be?
Richard Sharpe from Bernard Cornwell's series. But of course I picture him as Sean Bean!

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Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

 
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