Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meet Writer, Editor and Awesome Person: Robin Stratton. I think you'll like her!

Sometimes in the course of shameless self-promotion and trying passionately to get your work seen by someone, you meet a person who stands out and becomes an ally. Robin Stratton has been such a person for me. I like her writing and I like her spirit of encouragement. She made an authentic connection with me through my work and continues to collaborate and support me. (Notice how when I asked her to write about herself, she starts out saying nice things about me!)

I asked Robin to say a bit about what she does and here is what she had to say:

"Renee, thanks for the opportunity to participate in your new blog. Isn't the internet great for promoting the writing community? I just love it.

To fill people in on our history... Renee submitted two wonderful pieces to my magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, and I snapped them up and they appeared in our summer 2010 issue. Next I reviewed her amazing chapbook, If There is a Center No One Knows Where it Begins. Renee, as many of you know, is not just a gifted poet, but she's lively and fascinating, and I knew I wanted to stay in close contact with her. When my second chapbook, Interference from an Unwitting Species was due for publication, I asked Renee to write a blurb for the cover, and she said yes right away. I absolutely loved what she wrote - writing a blurb isn't easy, it takes a lot of skill... you probably don't know this until you've written one! Anyway, here's what she wrote:

“Stratton's collection is a feast of engaging narration that illustrates the absurdity of the human predicament, yet never disregards the reality of heartache. With a bit of wit, quirkiness, courage and vulnerability all rolled into one, these poems tackle the matter of mortality. Her words are 'unafraid of the black, unpredictable night' as she explores the unexpected, unknown and transitory quality of life.”

It's no wonder I was thrilled with it! Interference from an Unwitting Species was such a departure from my first collection, Dealing with Men which everyone called "sassy" - a description that flattered me because it was exactly the voice and tone I was going for as I navigated my way out of one very long-term relationship (13 years) into a new one. The new guy was the complete opposite of the old guy, and it was like learning about men all over again... the rules of the game, and where to draw the line between trying to impress him and staying faithful to your own personality. As someone who has been tethered to one boyfriend or another pretty continuously since college, it's sometimes hard to maintain an identity that isn't who I am in relation to a man. Dealing with Men was my attempt to strike that balance. Interference, on the other hand, was written during a tumultuous year as I neared age 50, both parents were battling cancer, and one of my best friends was dying. It was also around that time that I was getting in touch via Facebook with people from the Wilmington High School class of 78, and I was fascinated by how different everyone's life turned out from what we all expected, and reminded me of how I lost touch with all Best Best Friends as soon as they got married. Interference is sort of a coming of age collection that I actually sent to my mom before publishing it to see if she thought it was too sad! But she, like Renee, felt that the humor throughout kept the tone upbeat.

But my true passion has always been writing novels, and I was thrilled to finally sign a contract in January with Blue Mustang Press for my book On Air. Having self published several books (back in the early 90s, long before anyone had even heard of the internet) I know what it's like to have cases of books that you can't sell. And even though On Air is being published by a reputable company, the task of promoting it lies with the writer. So I started a group on Facebook to track my steps as I come up with ideas to get the word out. My hope is that writers can use it as a tool to help them sell their own books. I also think that having to report on what I'm doing will motivate me to keep coming up with ideas. If anyone reading this would like to join, I would love to have you! The name of the group is On Air by Robin Stratton... the dumb thing is, you can't just join, you have to contact me and ask to be invited. I think we have to be FB friends, too, but I'm not sure. But certainly all are welcome!

Okay, everyone go back to your writing. Thanks, Renee, for letting me stop by!"


Anonymous said...

Robin is a friend of mine, and I agree 100% - she's awesome!. In fact, if you look up the word "awesome" in many dictionaries, you'll see her picture (the very same one on this blog).

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

So I went to the ol'dictionary and dusted it off. I turned to "awesome" and there were promo pieces tucked in on this Stratton book and that Robin writing, memorabilia bits of solidarity of colleagues far and near, there and here who salute wholeheartedly the way this gold-standard, gold'hearted dame lines up her words to say so much more than even she thought they'd come up meaning.

Well, that's what this writer/publisher-promoter found in the A-list, this day on that dame. My story and I'm stickin' to it.

~ Absolutely*Kate
AT THE BIJOU and around WebTowne

dublinsteve said...

Nice write about Robin! It would be hard to find anyone who doesn't like her.

Robbi N. said...

I agree totally that Robin is incredibly supportive to other writers! She did a lovely interview with me and continues to support me every day as a friend on Facebook. In fact, I would say that while others on Facebook are my acquaintances, she really is a friend, despite the fact that we have never met outside the virtual environment.
It is good to learn a little more about her and her work!