In anticipation of our Wisconsin's SCBWI Fall Conference Experiment & Play, we've put together an interview series as a way to meet the people behind this year's presentations and breakout sessions. Today, I'm spotlighting writer Lora Hyler.
Lora's creative writing is rooted in a deep understanding of marketing and communications. She has years of experience as a writer, publicist, and marketer, which have informed her pursuits in children's book writing, adult novels, screenplays, and more. Her current projects include The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes, a middle grade novel of an African-American child superhero, and 'Stealth Love,' a short story to be published in the Wisconsin Writer’s Association Literary Journal this fall.
Lora, we are thrilled that you will be presenting at our fall conference. Thanks for answering a few questions for us!
Who has been the most influential inspiration for your career?
I am on the path of publishing my first children's book after a long, successful career as a writer, public relations and marketing manager. I've worked for several large corporations, and in 2001, founded my public relations and marketing company in Glendale, WI. I've covered stories for Time Inc., as well as local and national radio and television. Creatively, I've won awards for screenwriting and short stories. I truly believe publication of my first children's book is right around the corner. My PR background is propelling me forward to make the right connections while taking the time to pay it forward to help published authors market their books.
What was the biggest eye-opener when you began writing your first children’s manuscript?
Writing for children is a delicate balance of bringing out one’s inner child to harness a sense of wonder in the story, but to also bring an adult sensibility to the business side. My articles are widely published. I'm now on the journey of book publication. This not for the faint of heart. It takes persistence. Persistence. Persistence. And I'm loving it. Each no gets me closer to yes.
Through SCBWI. I've met amazing agents, publishers, editors and authors. I'm sharing my journey in a Writer's Digest article to be published this month. Through residencies, I'm meeting writers and artists of all sorts. I just spent the month of May at an artist residency in Marnay sur Seine, France and bonded with seven other artists from around the world. That trip sparked an idea for my next manuscript!
If you could tell your naive unpublished past self anything, what would it be?
Hard work is rewarded. Study the craft and keep refining manuscripts while delighting in new ideas. Encourage other artists. Your encouraging words may save an artist and soothe your own writing soul.
Can you tell us about your writing environment?
I love to move around when I write. I write in multiple spots in my home, on my patio with the birds, butterflies and chipmunks keeping me company. I flit from coffee shop to coffee shop. I started my career in radio news, so a constant hum doesn’t distract me. And if a nearby voice gets too loud, there’s always headphones with the accompanying soundtrack of my choice.
What has been the most useful career tip you have received so far?
'Just show up.' Long ago, a financial vice president gave me this advice when he asked whether I was attending an important meeting and I responded, 'I wasn’t invited.' I began to invite myself to all sorts of meetings and my career blossomed in unpredictable ways. I never lost this hutzpa and bring this same sensibility to my creative writing journey. I’ve contacted various players within the publishing industry in shall we say, ‘unsanctioned’ ways. It’s paying off.
What is your favorite part of the fall conference each year?
I attended my first fall conference last year. I was impressed by the accessibility of many, from faculty, to volunteers, to budding authors, to published authors. The interest is genuine. The passion is evident. I’m thrilled to return this year as a member of the faculty. I’ve spoken to women conferences and taught public speaking and dealing with the media for many, many years. I’m thrilled to bring this presentation tailored for authors, to SCBWI.
You can learn more about Lora Hyler and her writing on her website and blog. She will present at the Wisconsin SCBWI Fall Conference, which runs from September 15 – 17, 2017. If you haven't registered for the fall conference yet, there's still time. Register HERE before we sell out!