We’re pleased to spotlight Pamela Schoenewaldt and her writing life. Thank you for helping us spread the word on how the KWG supports our writing community for writers at all stages of their writing journey.
- How long have you been a member of the KWG?
Since July, 2000, when I moved here from Naples, Italy.
- How have you been involved in KWG?
I’ve been on and off the board, judged contests, did programming for several years, worked on communications, ran the KWG Spelling Bee in its first year, set up a speakers’ bureau, wrote grants, and helped manage outreach programs.
- Are you part of a KWG writing group?
I have been in writing groups almost constantly. With their help, I got short stories polished and published, wrote my first novel, and now am working with them on my fourth and fifth.
- If you are in a KWG writing group, how has it helped?
Enormously. First is the discipline that the group meets and you want to have pages. Careful, dedicated readers catch you when you get so close to the work that you can’t see problems. They inspire, prod, yank, question, and support. It can be rough, but I couldn’t work without them.
- What kind of writing do you do?
- What project are you working on now?
A novel set in Philadelphia in the last months of World War I.
- Awards, prizes, or writer feel-good moments?
My first novel was a USAToday Bestseller, I received a Chekhov Award for Short Story, the Peter Taylor Prize, was elected to the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. But I think the top moment was when my first novel, set in Italy, was translated into Italian and an actor read segments in a piazza featured in the book. That was pretty much sublime.
- Who inspired you to write?
My teachers in grade school and my college creative writing teacher, who said: “You can always revise something, but you can’t revise nothing.”
- Do you have any writing rituals, favorite snacks or times/places to write?
I’m scared of rituals because they can trap you. I do like to write longhand when I get stuck, and I find it helpful to sketch in the next scenes at the end of a session.
- What are your favorite excuses for not writing?
- What’s the best thing you’ve read lately?
A Gentleman in Moscow and Sing Unburied Sing.
- What is your secret talent?
I used to be great at jacks. I do make good desserts.
Join Pamela for her workshop, Writing the Dark Side on February 15.
It’s not that hard to sketch out a saint or rotten-to-the-core cardboard villain. Give your writing depth and resonance as we find ways to create and animate flawed and yet human characters, whether in memoir, fiction, poetry, or non-fiction. We’ll use prompts, discussion, and some weirdly fun exercises to shine light on the darkness. Open to writers at all stages of their journey. Bring pen and paper.