Tuesday, August 4, 2009

RWA's Nora Robert's Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Jennifer Greene

To kick off the new Writer to Writer Series, RWA's Nora Robert's Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Jennifer Greene, has agreed to talk to us. She talks about her award, the honor and offering advice.

She is also offering several copies of her award winning book to be mailed out to the winner of the comment contest so let Jennifer know what you think!!!

Welcome Jennifer!!

Q: This was a Life Time Achievement award and was not run like your everyday, standard contest. Was this an honor you were expecting as you wrote the book that pushed you into the running, or was
it a phone call out of the blue?

A: You're right, the Lifetime Achievement Award isn't a contest, nor is it based on a book. The Ritas celebrate the best books in our genre. The Lifetime Achievement Award is based on an author who's contributed to the genre, above and beyond her body of work. (The RWA site has a more complete explanation.) The call from the Board of Directors--and believe me, I couldn't have been more stunned! I was thrilled!

Q: How did you celebrate? celebrating? ;)2. How did you celebrate?

A: Initially I celebrated the same way I did after hearing about my first sale in l980--by putting the phone off the hook. I was terrified they'd change their minds. In D.C., though, the award enabled me through the conference to talk about the genre with media and others...which I'm still doing. It's been a super opportunity to open dialog, especially with people who are unfamiliar with the field.

Q: Did knowing you were already getting the award make the awards easier, as opposed to those of us who were up for the GH or the Rita and we had to hear the names read off and wait our turn?
Or do you think knowing they were saving the best for last would make you
more nervous? They did a wonderful presentation on you -- all for you -- how did
that feel?

A: I'll never stand up at a podium without shaking in my shoes...this time, more than the times I'd won the Rita, because it was such an extra big thing? But knowing ahead that I was getting the award made it possible to do things through the conference, and back at home, related to pushing our genre and the ideals of our genre. I never felt nervous about that. I love doing that. :)

Q: At the presentation ... which just rocked – they debated your two names back and forth in a very entertaining show. You obviously choose the route of pseudonym, but also use your real name. Is
this a route you would recommend to a new writer and why?

A: When I first started writing and first sold, using a pseudonym wasn't a choice--I had to. Things are different today (thankfully.) I think it depends on a writer's name--and what a writer wants, in terms of a long term career--as far as whether a pseudonym works best. It's an individual decision. For myself, though, I DO wish I didn't have so many names behind me...each one was a 'start over'. Not my choice or doing, just the way the industry was at the time.

Q: In your acceptance speech, you gave a lot of advice to writers and women. All of it good. For those who were not there can you consider this: If you were starting today, writing your first book,
what advice would you want to hear from the winner of the Life Time Achievement
award? What one question would you ask them and what answer could they give
you that would make you *know* that you could do it, too?

A: The most important lesson I've learned over the years (and am still learning) is to keep what matters on the front line--and that is: if you want to write, WRITE. Forget the distractions, from promo to contests to industry buzz to critique groups--to anything else. There is no fast ride to selling and continuing to sell. There are lots of rejections and down times. Those won't get you down--if you continue to do what you love, writing stories that matter to you, building your craft skills, giving yourself the time to write.

Q: So, most importantly .... ... where did you put it in your house and can I get a photo of how it looks?

A: I don't have a photo....because temporarily, this Beauty sits right next to me. Eventually I'll give her a place on the shelf with my other Ritas. (I promise--they GLOW, even in the dark, and really shine by lamplight.) But I can't seem to let her get far from me right now. She's breathtaking...


  1. Thanks for the interview, Jacqui. Ms. Greene's speech at the award ceremony brought tears to my eyes. Her reminder of how we, as romance writers, impact women readers around the world and provide both hope and entertainment was a wonderful and uplifting way to end the conference.

  2. Jacqui, awesome interview! Ms. Greene is touting something that's finally got through my gray matter. Writers write!!! Her speech at National gave me goosebumps, such an exiting time!

  3. Wonderful interview, inspiring even in short form! I really wish I could've heard the entire acceptance speech. ::sigh:: Another reason to be sad I missed National!


  4. I had the pleasure of hearing Jennifer Greene give a wonderful speech at the New England chapter of RWA earlier this year (March) and thoroughly enjoyed it - as I do her books! That helped take the sting off of not being at National conference this year and missing all the festivities.
    Thanks so much for doing this interview. I love the down to earth quality of your stories. I especially loved - Blame it on Cupid.

  5. I enjoyed the interview and found it encouraging. I particularly liked the advice on keeping what is important on the front line and WRITE.

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