SJ Rozan is visiting Indianapolis for the Magna Cum Murder Crime Writing Festival, and she is stopping at the IWC to teach a class before she leaves. You can join Rozan for the writing workshop, "Plot and Story: What is the Difference, and How Do You Make Them Happen?" on Sunday, October 21, 2018, 2-4:30 p.m.

We asked Rozan to answer a few questions, in preparation for her visit:

What was the greatest piece of advice you ever got about writing?

Don't ever save anything for a better place in this book or a better book. If something came to you now there's a reason. These things bubble up like water in a well -- if you don't take off what's on the top you won't get anything  else.  (Paraphrasing Annie Dillard, THE WRITING LIFE)

Why do you write?

I keep thinking of stories I want to tell.

What are you working on right now?

A thriller with a young female protagonist who's an actor and an adrenaline junkie. She's a fixer -- you have a problem, Lily Lee will fix it. Just don't ask how.

Favorite books or essays about the craft of writing?



What’s your favorite book, or the best book you’ve read recently? What do you love about it?

The book that got me started as a writer was Howard Pyle's ROBIN HOOD when I was 10. I was so sad that I was almost at the end, and my mother said, Well, maybe he'll write more. And I thought, Wait, someone wrote this? A person? People can write stories other people want to read? It was a revelation.

Is there a writer whose work provided new understanding of what fiction writing is, and how it can be written? If so, who and how?

Recently I read George Saunders's LINCOLN IN THE BARDO. The coalescing of the huge number of different voices into the same story -- it knocked me out.

Why do you like teaching at IWC? What do you look forward to about it?

The students come from such different backgrounds and are at such different levels but they're all so serious about wanting to write and they work so hard!

Where to find SJ Rozan:

SJ Rozan is the author of fifteen novels and more than 75 short stories, and the editor of two anthologies. She has won multiple awards, including the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Nero, Macavity; Japanese Maltese Falcon; and the Private Eye Writers of America Life Achievement Award. She speaks and lectures widely, at such venues as the 92nd Street Y and the Center for Fiction. SJ has been a Master Artist at The Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, Writer-in-Residence at Singapore Management University, and is a senior faculty member at Art Workshop International in Assisi, Italy.

SJ was born in the Bronx and lives in lower Manhattan. 

Written by Rachel Sahaidachny — October 08, 2018

© Indiana Writers Center 2012