Martha Woodroof has stopped by Writer’s Corner to discuss her new novel Small
Blessings and share about her career as a Writer. She has written for NPR and has had many essays published. She also has traveled across this country.
Martha thank you for stopping by Writer's Corner today. Congratulations on your debut novel!
What is the most important aspect of Small Blessings would you like your readers to know about this novel?
Life is extraordinarily complex, but that's no excuse to turn away from it.
That happiness involves risk!
Where did you come up with the idea for this novel?
I'm a long-term sober alcoholic and addict, and when I was first in recovery I worked for the inimitable Skipper Fitts at the Sweet Briar College Book Shop. My job was to run his brand new espresso machine, and I think Small Blessings comes from my recognition of how far a good -- no a great -- bookstore can go towards building community.
If you could one piece of advice to writers who are pursuing their first novel?
Keep writing and develop slick shoulders so rejection just slides right off them...
Is there anything you have learned through this experience to apply for your next writing project?
If something I've written doesn't further either plot or character development it has no business in the novel.
You started out as a teaching assistant what drew you to education?
Oh golly, as I'm both a college (Mount Holyoke) and graduate school (The University of Virginia) drop-out, I'd say I've been quite the opposite of "drawn" to education. I think I've always wanted to live rather than to study. My teaching assistant job was in a pilot Head Start class back in the mid-sixties when the program was being designed. I'd been active in Civil Rights as a teenager in my hometown of Greensboro, Carolina. And I think a wonderful woman named Eunice Troxler, who ran a tutoring program for African American children coping with integrated schools after generations of separate-but-unequal education, must have recommended me as I'd been one of her tutors.
What blessings would you say your various careers have taught you?
That blessings are all around us if we're only smart enough and brave enough to embrace them.
Who has been most influential to you in your career?
Probably my English professor mother, who loved words almost as much as she loved me. And my first book editor at NPR, Loretta Williams, who taught me how to drive a narrative. And is still teaching me as my friend.
What did you learn about how to put a story together at NPR?
The wonderful editors at NPR.
To purchase a copy of her debut novel follow these links:
Barnes and Noble