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Burning the Midnight Oil: How We Survive as Writing Parents

Alina Adams

"If you can live without it, do!"

Alina Adams has written four romance novels, including Annie's Wild Ride (AVON) and When a Man Loves a Woman (DELL 4/00) and two nonfiction books, Inside Figure Skating (Metro) and Sarah Hughes: Skating to the Stars (Berkley). Her latest mystery novels are Murder on Ice (Berkley) and On Thin Ice (Berkley). She lives in New York and is the mother of two boys, aged four- and six months. She can be reached through her Web site http://www.AlinaAdams.com.

Have you always been a writer?

I've been making up stories since I was two, and writing them down since I was six. In high school, I hid a notebook under my desk and wrote my first novel!

What made you decide to pursue writing professionally?

I couldn't think of anything else that I wanted to do. And when I couldn't find the kind of books I wanted to read already written, I decided to write them!

Was it a challenge to be a writing parent in the beginning? What were some of the hardest lessons you learned? What is one important lesson you learned?

Well, I was a writer before I was a parent. I wrote my fourth romance novel, When a Man Loves a Woman (AVON) when I was pregnant with my older son. Morning sickness and scorching love scenes are not an easy thing to integrate. I wrote my latest novel, Murder on Ice: A Figure Skating Mystery (Berkley) when pregnant with my second child. It is much easier to write murder, when you're hormonal.

How much confidence did you have in your ability to juggle writing and parenting?

Just like I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to do for a living, I couldn't imagine a life where I wasn't writing, or where I didn't have children. So I never wondered if I could juggle - I knew I had no choice.

What was the hardest part about trying to find time to write?

I can't not feed the kids. I can't not wash them or dress them. I can't not cook dinner or clean. So the first thing to get cut out of the schedule: sleep!

Did your child/children understand what you were doing as you worked?

My children are four and five months, so we haven't really discussed it yet.

Did you receive any support in attempting a writing career? If so, how did it help? If not, do you think it might have helped?

My husband thinks everything I write is fantastic. He is also happy to stay with the kids while I go to a meeting or to promote my book. It's the best kind of support there is.

What was the biggest lesson you learned as a writing parent?

If you can survive childbirth, you can survive anything – even rejection.

What did you learn about yourself as a parent?

I could be better. I should spend more time with my kids. But the pull of writing is too strong.

Let's talk about promotion. Writers everywhere know they need to put in the legwork to promote their writing. How can writing parents manage to do this, too?

It makes no difference if you have children or not when it comes to promotion. If you have to, take your children to visit bookstores with you. I have!

What writing schedule ultimately worked best for you?

With a child older than one, I found early mornings, before he woke up, best. With a newborn, it's whenever he naps!

Was there anything you had to sacrifice in order to get some writing time?


In your own words: Is it possible to juggle writing and parenting?

Yes! I've written a whole article about it! http://www.absolutewrite.com/novels/working_moms_tricks.htm

What is the best writing advice you have been given?

Think about what you want to say – and say it!

What is the best advice you have for other writing parents?

If you can live without it, do!


Excerpt from BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: How We Survive as Writing Parents by Dawn Colclasure. Published by Booklocker.com, Inc. http://www.booklocker.com/books/1743.html

ISBN-10: 9781591135739

ISBN-13: 978-1591135739

Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. May not be reprinted without author’s permission.