Our monthly feature, The RMFW Spotlight, is intended to provide members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers with more information about our board members as well as featured volunteers. This month we're pleased to present two spotlights, especially in honor of the Colorado Gold Conference in Denver on September 9-11, 2016. Today we're featuring Scott Brendel, and on Monday, our conference chair Corinne O'Flynn.
1. Scott, welcome to the RMFW Blog Spotlight. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.
For the past few years, I have coordinated the editor/agent critique workshops held during the Colorado Gold conference. I also help run one of RMFW's critique groups. At various times over the years, I have helped judge the contest, was the Education chair, and served for two years as President. Many people in RMFW have been enormously helpful to me in ways I can't begin to describe and volunteering has been one way to try to pay that back.
2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?
Last summer, my short story, entitled "Threesome," was published in a literary 'zine called Cactus Heart (http://www.cactusheartpress.com/e-issue-16/e-issue-12/). It's about two estranged brothers who meet on a golf course to carry out their father’s final wishes.
I recently finished a new novel called Just Beyond the Light, in time to pitch it at ThrillerFest. It's set in the late 1970s in the mid-South where I spent time after college. A young woman—a dancer—living in a boarding house ends up in a coma after her wrists are slashed. Her brother (a petty criminal on the run) and a detective mourning the death of his young son try to determine if it was attempted suicide or attempted murder.
3. We've all heard of bucket lists -- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?
Here's one I actually fulfilled. I wanted to go with my father to visit Egypt. Unfortunately, our trip was cancelled after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Years later, we finally made the trip, this time with my sister, mother and our spouses.
4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?
I get carried away with description. As one of my critique partners says, "Tell us what the building looks like. We don't need a treatise on its architecture."
5. What do you love most about the writing life?
The unexpected things I discover in the course of writing the first draft and the sense of satisfaction when I finally get to the end of the story.
6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?
Take the plunge and join a critique group. I toiled in isolation for too long before putting my work in front of the kind of people who could help me the most.
7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it?
It's cluttered with unpaid bills and scraps of paper with story notes. My desk faces a wall with built-in book shelves that remind me of the end goal. And a nine-inch figure of a troll that I picked up in Sweden many years ago watches me while I write.
8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?
Everybody's Fool, by Richard Russo, who I met at a Tattered Cover reading over twenty years ago. He's a fellow, former upstate New Yorker. An incredibly talented writer with a gift for capturing the humor of hapless but earnest small town folks who struggle their way through life.
Thank you, Scott. Your work with the agent/editor critique workshops for Colorado Gold is most appreciated. There are quite a few of us who found agents or editors through our participation in those sessions.