Yellow Arrow is pleased to introduce our fall Writer-in-Residence, Laura Hazan. Laura is a librarian with the Enoch Pratt Free Library where she runs the weekly read and critique group, The Light Street Writers Exchange. She completed her first novel, Little Boxes, and is seeking representation for publication. She has a B.A. in communications from American University, a M.L.S. from the University of Maryland, and attended the “Your Novel Year” program at Arizona State University’s Piper Writing Center. In addition, her work has been published in Natural Bridge, Kirkwood Patch, Sauce Magazine, and Not A Pipe Publishing’s #yearofpublishingwomen anthology Strongly Worded Women. Laura is a resident of Baltimore and lives with her son, her husband, and their one-eyed dog, Boh.
We asked Laura a few questions as she prepares for the residency.
YAP: What do you love about Baltimore?
LH: Walking along the promenade around the harbor at sunset shows Baltimore at its best. I also love the history of literature and reading that makes up the fabric of Baltimore. There's Edgar Allen Poe, HL Menken, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Laura Lippman and so many others. Tying all those folks together is the Enoch Pratt Free Library - the first system in the US to have branch libraries.
YAP: Who has inspired you the most in your writing journey?
LH: I have favorite authors, as we all do; they're inspirational but they are not the first people to come to mind when I think about this question. Those who inspire me most are the folks at the opposite end of the spectrum from the famous writers. Those diligent writers who work at it everyday never knowing if anyone else will ever read their work. The newbies that attend a writing critique group for the first time and nervously share their stories or poems. The colleagues who generously offer to beta read a manuscript, or organize a workshop, or volunteer for a conference. Frankly, the writing community would not exist without the hard work and efforts of the thousands we will never know.
YAP: As you continue in your process of finding a publisher for your novel, do you have any advice to offer someone embarking on that venture?
LH: When you have completed your first manuscript you are a novelist - published or not - don't let anyone tell you differently. Prepare yourself for a mountain of rejections - it doesn't mean your work is no good it just means you haven't found the right agent/publisher that loves it as much as you do. Track those rejections on the spreadsheet you keep for your submissions and move on. Prepare yourself for days of self-doubt - every writer I know goes through impostor syndrome at least once. Myself, I've felt like an impostor on and off for years. Remember there are about 342 steps to getting your book from draft to published - it takes time, especially for the first novel, but keep at it.
We look forward to seeing Laura around Highlandtown this fall. Please check out her website for more on Laura: www.laurahazan.com