Interview with Robert Dugoni – Are Writer’s Conferences Worth the Time and Money?
Recently, New York Times Bestselling author, Robert Dugoni took time to answer my questions about whether or not writer’s conferences are worth the time and money.
And in case you live under a rock and don’t know who Robert is, read what the associated press wrote this summer regarding his recent release of The Conviction;
One of the best legal thriller writers in the business unleashes another stellar effort with ‘The Conviction.’…The names John Grisham and Scott Turow are mentioned when discussing the legal thriller genre. Robert Dugoni is as good, if not better. — Jeff Ayers, Associated Press, June 2012
Below is my interview with Robert Dugoni regarding writer’s conferences:
1- MH: What is your goal/hope/intention when you go to writer’s conferences?
RD: I love to meet people who love to read and write. My only goal, really is to have fun. As a writer, I need to sell books. It’s a tough time in the industry for many and I’m no exception. But that can’t be the end goal, really. It’s like they say. Life is an adventure and you have to enjoy the journey.
2- MH: How many do you go to each year?
RD: Wow. Every year I think I’ve worn out my welcome and every year I seem to get more invitations. I take great pride in teaching and I try to teach both theory and practical and students appreciate it. Their nice comments gets the organizers to invite me back and spread the word. I’m up to about 15 a year I think
3- MH: Do you think writers conferences add or detract from the writing community overall? If so why?
RD: Oh they definitely add. That is one of the problems with all the on-line stuff. We start to lose our communities. People are not getting out meeting one another, talking books, writing, laughing and socializing. You have to immerse yourself in the writing community to be a writer. There is no if, ands or buts. People who put on these conferences should receive a medal. They are a lot of work.
4- MH: Does attending conferences improve your writing or is it purely a social event?
RD: When I teach, I always learn something new and I’m always going back through my notes and trying to improve my own writing.
5- MH: What was your single most memorable moment at a writer’s conference?
RD: Has to be when Surrey named the 2011 conference in honor of my keynote speech, “This Day We Write!” and had T-shirts made up.
6- MH: This year at the WW or PNWA (or any other) conference what did you feel was the biggest draw?
RD: Boy does this sound egotistical, but after the agents, it was my writing class, “Playing God – Creating Memorable Character.” I think we had over 600 in the room.
7- MH: What was your most engaging ‘aha’ moment this year?
RD: When I came to understand what my protagonist in an as yet unpublished novel really wanted. We writers need to know what our protagonist wants! If we don’t know the story will flounder. I learned this at a very down moment as I sat in church asking the Good Lord what more he wanted of me. And he gave me the answer for me and for my protagonist.
8- MH: What conference speaker/lecturer of any year has most inspired you to write?
RD: Ray Bradbury, many many years ago when he spoke at Stanford University. He was riveting.
Thank you Robert!
Some time ago I had the pleasure of having Robert attend and speak at one of my Literary Liaison evenings at my house. We all found him to be wicked smart, generous and a most gracious and humble man.
This fall I look forward to his workshop, “You’ve Got the Power: Story Telling Techniques to Bring Your Novel to Life” at the Edmond’s Writer’s conference, called, Writer’s on the Sound.
To learn more about Robert Dugoni and his books check out his site at his site Robert Dugoni.