Comment below and subscribe via Feedburner by June 9 to be entered to win a signed copy of Laurie’s memoir When I Came West.
Giveaway for U.S. residents only.
Poet, memoirist, and novelist Laurie Wagner Buyer Jameson spent over thirty years living in the backwoods and working on remote ranches in the Rocky Mountain West, which is the basis of her early memoir.
Laurie has an MFA in Writing from Goddard College and her freelance articles and photographs have appeared in dozens of periodicals, journals, reviews, and anthologies. She is the author of five collections of poetry, Glass-eyed Paint in the Rain, Red Colt Canyon, Across the High Divide, Infinite Possibilities: A Haiku Journal, and Accidental Voices, the novel Side Canyons, and two memoirs, Spring’s Edge: A Ranch Wife’s Chronicles and When I Came West.
Laurie has received the Beryl Markham Prize for Creative Nonfiction, the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Poetry, and has twice been named a Finalist for the Colorado Book Award and for Women Writing the West’s Willa Award.
Q. Are you a native Texan or did you get here as soon as you could?
A. I am an “almost” native Texan. I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, but both of my sisters, one older and one younger were born in San Antonio, because my father, a USAF M/Sgt was stationed at various bases in San Antonio during my growing up years. I was here as a two and three year old, and attended fifth, sixth, and tenth grade in Texas. I had my first date and my first real kiss in Texas. Does that count? I moved back to Texas three and a half years ago (after forty-five years in the Rocky Mountain West) when I married author and singer/songwriter W.C. Jameson. We live in an adorable stone cottage in the little town of Llano.
Q. How did you end up writing so many difference genres?
A. I do write in all genres, however I began my writing life as a poet. And, no surprise, I wrote one of my first poems in Texas for the boy who gave me my first kiss…and, yes, I had the courage to give him a handwritten copy of the verses. I was certain I would marry him, but my father moved our family again, this time north to the Chicago area where I finished high school and started college.
Then I ran away to Montana as a mail-order companion to a mountain man who lived a true wilderness existence. I wrote poetry for the next thirty years and publication success only found me in my forties. During that time I turned to writing non-fiction articles for magazines and newspapers to earn enough money to buy postage stamps to keep sending out my poems. I had always kept a journal but it was during the work on my graduate thesis in 2001 that my professor encouraged me to incorporate narrative prose into my poetry manuscript. Thus I became an essayist and memoirist. When an editor at a major publishing house suggested that I fictionalize my creative non-fiction memoir Side Canyons, I became a novelist. I had so much fun playing around with the truth merged with imagination that I began writing fiction more seriously.
Q. What book marketing activities made you a bestselling author?
A. I would not use the words “bestselling” to describe my life as an author because, as most writers and readers know, poetry is not usually a big seller. However, I might use the words “well loved” because early on my work garnered a small but loyal following who have given me good reason to keep on offering my work to the world. And that group of blessed readers has continued to grow. Before the advent of social media via the internet I kept a large mailing list and sent out book release notices, personal newsletters, and thank you notes to every person who contacted me.
I have been a late attendee to the online party, in part because I lived very remote for much of my adult life, sometimes without electricity or telephone service. Also (and I don’t mind admitting this) in part because I am a Luddite at heart, cherish my solitude, and try to live simply and inexpensively. I did not have a computer until 1995. Email came to stay around 2000. My first website appeared in about 2003-04. A new publisher booted me farther into the high-tech world by insisting that I use their webmaster (deborahkunzie.com) who garnered marketing and social media skills. Thus multiple websites dedicated to the books were born along with that tag-along twin: blogging. Next came an Amazon Author Central page, online interviews, and a Facebook fan page [all links below]. Like so many writers, I love my creative life, my writing time, but I tend to drag my feet when it comes to marketing myself and my work. However, what has always worked best for me is to meet people face-to-face. Attending conferences, presenting workshops, appearing as a speaker, and working for a decade as an independent editor/mentor to other writers were marketing tools that brought me a great deal of success.
Q. Tell us about your latest release. Is it set in Texas?
A. This is so funny! I had to stop and think about which book was my latest release. I’m in the awards phase for the memoir When I Came West (University of Oklahoma Press, 2010) and in the presentation phase for the last collection of poetry Accidental Voices (Seven Oaks Publishing Company 2010). Then one of my essays appears in An Elevated View: Colorado Writers on Writing (just released from Seven Oaks Publishing) and I’m setting up readings and signings for that this summer in Colorado. A book of my early cowboy poems, Cinch Up Your Saddle–and Ride! is due out any day (Western Trail Blazer) and my novel Beautiful Snare is in the contract phase (JET Literary Agency with Write Works Publishing).
None of the above are set in Texas…but the novel I just finished polishing and sent off to my agent is set in a small town in the Texas Hill Country. Give me a few more years here and I imagine more of my writing will be influenced by Texas people, culture, and landscapes.
Q. Where can we pay you a virtual visit?