Maybe you’re feeling nostalgic for school-assigned summer reading, or perhaps you never broke the habit of reading a few books during these long summer months. Either way, these last few weeks of the sunny season are a great time to squeeze in another memoir or novel before fall.

Reading has numerous health benefits. If reading were a fruit, it would be a super fruit. It can alleviate stress and feelings of depression, lower your heart rate, and help us sleep better through the night, according to Healthline. In our busy and ever-connected worlds, it’s important to take a few minutes every day to curl up (or stretch out) with a good book. 

Girls Nite In Online has hosted a number of authors, like Christie Stratos, Dr. Jen Welter, and Leslie Mcguirk. This July, GNI specifically hosted an Author’s Week, all about showcasing and inspiring female writers. 

Our first author to discuss the writing process was Barbara Linn Probst, author of Queen of the Owls. Barbara writes about a rising academic and young mother, Elizabeth, who, while researching Georgia O’Keefe, begins to examine her own life and role. Queen of the Owls was supposed to launch right during the height of the pandemic, so Barbara had to get creative about getting the word out. Barbara explains that as an author, you need to have three qualities; flexibility, authenticity, and perspective. Imagery is very important when promoting your book. Barbara explains, “Having a really dynamite cover is key.” You can watch Barbara’s complete workshop here!

Jo Ivester is the author of a family memoir, titled Once a Girl, Always a Boy, about her son’s journey as a transgender man and advocate. This book details Jo’s path to advocacy as well, and the story is told through multiple perspectives from the whole family. For her workshop, to better illustrate Jeremy’s transition, Jo reads various passages from her book aloud. The passages are filled with imagery and emotion, helping readers understand the journey of Jo’s family. She also discusses the impact of writing a family memoir and her path towards advocacy. Jo held her workshop to help fundraise for Freedom For All Americans, and share how listeners can become advocates in their communities as well. See Jo’s workshop here!

Four Funerals and a Wedding: Resilience in the Time of Grief is a memoir by Jill Smolowe, who initially began her writing career as a journalist. During Jill’s workshop, she speaks about her professional career in the magazine world, and how she began writing. One of her biggest tips for authors is about using essays as a way to market books. A theme of Jill’s memoir is grief, and she started publishing essays as a way to build interest in her book. An example she gives is publishing a piece in a pet magazine because pet owners experience grief too and could become interested in her work after seeing her essay. Another helpful tip that Jill offers is writing every day, even if it’s just for an hour. While working on her second memoir, Jill found that she didn’t want to write anymore. So she sat down and made herself write for at least an hour every day. Lo and behold, after two years, Jill has finished her second memoir, ironically enough about not writing. Check out Jill’s workshop here!

A poet, Jennifer Smith Turner, recently published her first historical fiction novel, Child Bride. Something that Jennifer speaks about during her workshop is how to find your main character. Jennifer originally submitted a different manuscript, and much of the positive feedback she received surrounded one of the minor characters in this manuscript. Jennifer then examined this character more closely, and she became the main character of Jennifer’s novel. Originally a poet, Jennifer talks about the struggle to move from clear and concise poems to writing full-length chapters. She mentions having to learn how to “show, not tell” through her writing. Jennifer also discusses the importance of having a strong book cover. When discussing options with her editor, Jennifer had an old picture of her mother holding her older brother as a baby. After getting permission from her brother to use the picture, it became the cover of Jennifer’s book. This became very personal for her, as it was her mother who always encouraged her to write. Another tip Jennifer offers is having a different editor check your book for continuity errors and why it’s important to make an excel sheet or other chart to keep track of dates in your book. Watch Jennifer’s workshop here!

Enjoy one last summer read before pumpkin spice takes over!
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