A Conversation with Author C. M. Fleming

I recently caught-up with author and fellow “Writers and Wannabes” friend C. M. Fleming and I’m delighted to be able to share her insight on several topics with our readers.

NC: If you were entering the world of writing and publication today, what would you tell your younger self?

CMF: Start early, perhaps in kindergarten. Just kidding. It’s important to work on improving your craft, no matter what it is. This is especially true of writing. I wrote my first story when I was in 4th grade. It was a fantasy, or a fable about how the Great Lakes came into existence. My teacher LOVED it, but my mom said it was ridiculous. I guess she wasn’t a fan of fantasy. So I didn’t show her my writing again. But I think the most important thing I would tell me is not to give up. If it were easy everyone would have a published book.

 NC: Each week I make it a point to check out your blog. You inspire me and sometimes more importantly, make me laugh. I know how to find your blog but how do others find you?

CMF: With great difficulty, I put a link on facebook (http://theacceptablesin.blogspot.com) when I publish a new post. I’d like to learn how to optimize traffic to my blog. SEO Scariest acronym on the internet. Search Engine Optimization. I’m open to suggestions.

 NC: For those who haven’t found your blog yet, what’s your purpose?

CMF: I want to help others get healthy. I’ve struggled with my weight all of my life. I’ve written a book about the struggle with eating disorders leading to obesity, and how to overcome it. The working title is “The Real Reason You’re Fat: The Acceptable Sin and Biblical Guidelines for Overcoming Obesity”.

 NC: What does it take to build a writing platform today?

CMF: I’m not really sure how to answer this, but I think hard work and being consistent. You have to have a PRESENCE in public and on social media. I actually had to “google” this. Here is what I found: (About.com) “Your writer’s platform is basically the group of activities you engage in that gets your name and work noticed by the public, It’s marketing, not of a specific work, but of you as the author. It’s everything you do to build your brand.”

 NC: What is your writing platform and how have you achieved it?

CMF: Right now my platform is more of a raft. Picture Huck Finn and the runaway Slave Jim. Sometimes it floats gently down the lazy publication river, and other times I’m tossed about by the rapids.

 NC: What is the best advice you’ve been given about becoming a writer?

CMF: Don’t quit your day job. Actually that was about my illustrating. In all seriousness, writing doesn’t pay a lot unless you are Stephen King, or J. K. Rowling. Speaking engagements help supplement a writer’s income, but that takes away from writing time, so it’s a double-edged sword.

 NC: What is the best advice you’d like to pass on to aspiring writers?

CMF: Read, read, read. I’m not talking about how-to books on writing. Read in the genre you want to write. Soak up everything. Take the stories apart. See what works and what doesn’t. Then write your own. Know when to follow the rules and know when to break them.

 NC: If you were not a writer, what would you wannabe?

CMF: An actor. Last year, just before my 70th birthday, I was hired along with my fellow-wannabe, Susan Spain and my husband as an extra in the movie “Prisoners”. I actually got about three seconds of screen time. Unfortunately, my big scene with one of the main stars (Terrence Howard) ended up on the cutting room floor.

 NC: What a fun interview! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit with me and our readers. I learned a lot and know our readers did, too.