Welcome to my interview with Sonia Haynes, from North Shore Writers' Association.
Hello Sonia. Can you please tell us a bit about your group?
Our group is the North Shore Writers' Association. It is held at the Edgemont Library in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We have two meetings per month. Our general meeting, which is held every third Monday evening of the month. And our literary café, Dare To Be Heard is held on the first Wednesday evening each month, except December, July and August. The North Shore Writers' Association is a registered non-profit association of writers dedicated to nourishing the literary community of the North Shore through the teaching and sharing of skills. We hold monthly meetings where we listen to speakers, participate in workshops, and conduct readings, all with the aim of increasing our knowledge about the world of writing.
That sounds amazing. How many members, on average, does your group have?
We have, to date, fifty members.
Who are you and what is your role within the group?
I am newly appointed in president. My role is to chair the meetings, make decisions regarding important issues. I am also coordinator of our season’s end dinner get together, and website designer.
How are your sessions structured?
At the General Meetings – the meeting is called to order. Anyone who has business to share does so, if there is an issue that requires approval by the members, ie: anything dealing with the spending of money, it is addressed, discussed and put up to a vote. If it is approved, someone seconds it.
What types of things do you cover in your group?
Writing contests, festivals, speaker choice.
What have been some of your most popular/successful activities?
Last years North Shore Writer’s Festival was a terrific success. We had our members on panel who answered questions from the public about the process of getting a book published.
That sounds extremely useful; I wish I could have been there. What genres do the members of your group write?
We have poetry writers, fiction and non-fiction writers, some of our members write for magazines and personal development market.
Have you ever written collectively as a group, such as producing an anthology?
Yes we have several anthologies. Some of the works from the contests are included from our annual writers' contest.
What kind of support does your writing group provide for its writers?
Speakers with various expertise come our meeting, publishers, editors, writers who have published traditionally and independently, through hard cover and e-book formats.
Can you tell us some of the speakers you've had at your group?
Bernice Lever an award-winning poet has presented to our group over the years. She spoke about the process of poetry writing. Just lately, Martin Crosbie, writer of My Temporary Life. Martin found success as an e-book publisher on Amazon.com. He spoke about navigating the world of e-publishing and Amazon.com.
Where do you get your ideas/writing prompts from?
For me personally, I have a voice in my head that dictates. I am also influenced by the world around me.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
Just write. Don’t keep the muse hidden.
What is the best piece of writing advice you give?
Your story is valid and there is no one like you with your kind of story.
That's a brilliant piece of advice; I may need to steal that for myself! Do members of the group get a chance to run/lead sessions or a part of a session?
Our organization is a volunteer based. We would not function without the participation of our members. We have ‘Dare To Be Heard’. Our Literary Café run by one member, our members at large who do our promotions, put out flyers and our newsletters, contact potential guests and present them at our meetings.
I bet that creates a great sense of community. You mentioned earlier that you're the website designer. What is your website address?
www.nswriters.org. The website is in the process of being updated.
How would someone go about joining your writing group?
Potential members can email Gerhard Winkler who is our treasurer he processes the membership fee and gives out receipts. They may join at our meetings as well as any special events we have going. We have a membership form which will be put on to our new website when it is updated.
Thank you very much, Sonia.