Despite a snowstorm just winding down, Carole Owens hosted a lively, informative and delightfully intimate discussion with Roberta Sillman and Edith Velmans, both writers, and Julia Lord, who runs a small literary agency.  Carole’s advice to fledgling writers was to begin by asking: who are you writing for, and what do you want to say? Her own answer was to write her book The Berkshire Cottages for “the woman with green spandex pants and bright red hair” who wanted to know “where the castles are?”

Julia worked at home, before picking her young children up at school. Roberta wrote stories and novels at home, with small children around. Edith created a memoir for her grandchildren; it was eighteen years in the making and published because of a chance conversation between her son-in-law and a friend who happened to be the chief editor at Viking!

The conversation ranged from book recommendations to the unlikely renewal of interest in historical figures and events because of recent film releases (Argo and Lincoln) to how to select an agent, the importance of having a strong voice and a good team to work with; and the interest now in new voices, especially those of women.

The Stockbridge Library’s reading room provided a comfortable and welcoming place for an engaged audience and four open, warm and funny women who clearly love their work and are generous about sharing their passion and knowledge!


 Later in the day, Sally-Jane Heit reprised some favorite scenes from her one-woman musical memoir, “Before I Forget…” and dialogued with the audience about the process of writing memoir.

Sally-Jane Heit

Sally-Jane talks with members of the audience