Forget this review. Dr. Laura should endorse A Book is Born: 24 Authors Tell All. That is the kind of publicity it deserves.
Here is a book by twenty-five author-mothers who stay home to care for their children (which Laura rather intractably recommends). They manage to balance that monumental task with building careers in publishing, something I enthusiastically recommend, regardless of how a woman chooses to do it, mostly because my having neglected a yearning to write in favor of motherhood very nearly ended in disaster. But that is another story.
So whether Dr. L. is your cup of tea or not, every woman writer will find some useful from-the-heart-advice in Born . Nancy Cleary has brought together women writers, but not in the traditional anthology approach. Chapters are divided into important aspects of the publishing process like marketing (yes, marketing!), and each writer weighs in using her own hard-won experience.
The participants are quite different in their perspectives, which makes the advice all the more valuable. Iris Waichler shares her struggle with infertility so that others can benefit from her story. Christine Hohlbaum was compelled to tell how her stay-at-home desire conflicts with her Ivy-league urge to excel. Samantha Gianulis found her inspiration in wine, food and children. Put all together, A Book is Born is as much about inspiration as it is about practical advice. Mostly it is an affirmation that if you want it, writing and publishing is in your future.
Once a writer knows that, this book will lead her through the process. It is not about developing craft or finding time. There are books enough for that. It is about the intricacies of publishing and how to keep the joy in that process.
And a how-to book it certainly is. Basic. For beginners. But alsooddly quite advanced with fresh, instinctual takes on subjects that will give those who have been writing awhile a joyous boot-in-the-butt.
P.S. My favorite creative tip, probably because it has worked well for me: "Teach the Class, Start a Club, Create an Imprint."
-- Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning author of This Is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Tracing, a chapbook of poetry, and the How To Do It Frugally series of books for writers