There’s an undeniable light in Erika’s beautiful eyes, and I see mischief too. It’s that glint of mischief that adds an unexpected, present-day twist to her historical novel. Receive Me Falling weaves together past and present in a story that contains several elements—a touch of the supernatural and the shocking truths of plantation life to name just a few. Erika is a debut author who pushed open the door to self-publishing and took her talents to press. The rewards have been many, and Receive Me Falling has become a favorite among book clubs and offers several topics for lively discussions.
I enjoy highlighting debut authors and was delighted that Erika accepted my invitation. So please welcome Erika Robuck as she shares thoughts about a very special person.
Musings on a Critique Partner
When Beth asked me to guest post on Brava, I was overwhelmed and honored. This blog is such a positive, uplifting tribute to writers I couldn’t help but think of the people in my life who’ve held me up and supported me through this journey: family members, critique partners, teachers, book clubs, and friends. They are so numerous I don’t have the space to name them, but I want to speak specifically on my relationship with my critique partner and how she has encouraged my growth as a writer.
Many writers are loners. We hunch over our computer screens with coffee and Pandora, and lose ourselves in worlds we create. Sometimes we surface for air. It is in this surfacing that we give our words time to breathe, and it naturally follows that we prepare our work to share with the world.
I’ve been in several writers’ groups over the years. These are sometimes people I’ve known for years, and other times, people I’ve just met through writing workshops. They are other writers who help me translate the personal language of my fiction so that it connects to my readers.
While the groups have come and gone, my writing partner, Kelly, has remained. We attended elementary school and high school together, but fell out of touch during the college years. We reconnected several years ago, and whenever I’m with her I find myself thinking of Hemingway’s line about James Joyce and picking up a conversation started three years ago without missing a beat.
She is an earth-mother-goddess girl, wise beyond her years, and who has a gift for drawing out of me what it is I’m trying to say. Our meetings and phone calls tend to go on hours longer than any other groups I’ve been in because we talk about our lives as much as our writing. Through these conversations we consistently find that the two are inseparable. Our writing is an extension of our inner selves and by tapping into the personal psychology of the moment, what we are trying to communicate through our prose is that much stronger.
Both of us have many commitments and live two hours apart, so we submit work to each other online every three weeks, conference by phone a week later, and begin the cycle over again. We meet in person as often as we are able.
I share this with you to encourage you to find a partner or group to support you in your creative endeavors. It isn’t easy to share new work with others, but if you can find someone with whom you are comfortable and who will give you honest feedback, it will help you immeasurably. I am very thankful that I have found Kelly, and she has been integral to my writing accomplishments.
Please visit Erika’s website HERE.
You can also find her on Twitter @ErikaRobuck and on Facebook.