Interview with signed author Alida Winternheimer

Interview with Alida Winternheimer

Tell us a little bit about your writing background? How did it all begin?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. For me, it’s one of the most natural things in the world, to tell stories. I think a lot of writers can say that. It’s so much work to craft a novel that we wouldn’t bother if it wasn’t an innate passion.

You just signed with Trident Media Group. How did that come about?
I attended a Roadmap Writers pitch conference, and Mark Gottlieb was one of the agents we met. That makes it sound so simple, but I’ve been querying for years and refining my pitch and synopsis with each round. The format of Roadmap made all the difference in the outcome. Selene, our facilitator, emphasized being ourselves and having a conversation with the agents. I felt far less nervous and enjoyed actually talking with someone about my work, instead of just delivering a prepared pitch.

What are you most looking forward to about working with your rep?
Getting my book sold! And developing a career-long relationship with Mark. I have several novels at various stages of development. I want Saving Annabelle to be the first of many.

As an author and storyteller how do you infuse your voice into your work?
Voice is about me as author and storyteller to some extent, of course, but it’s always shaped by the particular story, genre, and point of view character. Saving Annabelle is historical and has a first person narrator, so I developed her voice, evoking her era and circumstances as much as I could. My job as author was to become invisible on the page, especially because of the distance in time, culture, and lifestyle between my protagonist and me.

Who are your writing influences?
I love Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. It’s a masterpiece of point of view and voice. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has some descriptive passages that never fail to take my breath away. Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome transported me utterly. My friends from my MFA days and conferences are the ones I turn to when I want to bounce around an issue in my work. I also have a writing podcast, and being able to discuss storycraft with my cohosts ensures I’m not writing in isolation, but am continually evolving. Being active with a community of writers may be the best influence on any of us, because it shifts and grows as we do.

Having reached this new milestone for your career, what is one piece of advice you know now, that you would tell yourself when you first started out?
The quality of the writing may be what gets you the offer of representation, but so much else goes into getting an agent to read your manuscript. I wish I had attended pitch conferences much sooner. The feedback in real time and guidance on how to present both my work and myself has been invaluable!

How did you first discover Roadmap?
A friend and fellow writer I met at another pitch conference (none of that group got signed) recommended Roadmap. She had a great experience here and passed it forward. Writers, I find, are a generous group, sharing resources and rooting for each other’s success. I’m so grateful our paths crossed and led me here!

Where can we stay updated on your work? 

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