Maud Macrory Powell comes from a family of writers. She was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and studied comparative religion in college and environmental studies in graduate school. Maud and her husband run an organic seed and vegetable farm in the Siskiyou mountains of southwestern Oregon. They grow fruits and vegetables for their local community and raise vegetable and flower seeds that are shipped, sold, and sown all over the country. Maud thinks of her words and stories like the seeds on the farm- she creates fertile ground for them, cultivates and crafts, separates the good from the chaff, then scatters them as far and wide as they will reach.
Joining LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author is Maud Macrory Powell. Her debut novel, City of Grit and Gold, has received LitPick’s Five Star Book Review Award (https://litpick.com/review/city-grit-and-gold-review-moseso). When she is not writing, Maud is busy running an organic seed and vegetable farm with her husband.
***How did you get started writing?
I homeschooled my two children and spent many, many hours reading middle-grade historical fiction aloud to them. Eventually, I felt that I understood the genre and wanted to try my own hand at it. I became interested in writing about aspects of history that haven't gotten a lot of attention in middle school curricula, including the American labor movement.
***Who influenced you?
My favorite middle grade authors are Laura Halse Anderson, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Karen Cushman, Jean Craighead George, Gary Paulsen, and Carl Hiaasen.
***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
I particularly love Laura Halse Anderson's The Seeds of America trilogy and Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's book Jefferson's Sons as they help middle grade readers grapple with complicated political and social issues through the perspective of young people they can relate to.
***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
- Get to know your main character really well. Make lists of what he/she loves, fears, and hates most, what keeps him or her up at night, his or her habits, pet peeves, etc. I spent a lot of time fleshing out the character of Addie, and then found that once I placed her in a particular scene or setting, the story was fairly easy to write.
- Write the genre you love to read most.
- I write most consistently and effectively with structure. I took an online writing class, which generated the first two chapters of City of Grit and Gold, and then joined a writing group in which I was expected to produce a few pages every other week. Slow and steady works best for me.
***Where is your favorite place to write?
I enjoy writing in coffee shops. Carving out mental space in the midst of a din of activity and noise, with ample caffeine on hand, feeds my excitement to create.
***What else would you like to tell us?
Fiction is easier to write than you might expect. I had been intimidated by fiction and was in awe of authors who regularly think up plots, scenes and characters. Starting my first novel was like stepping off a cliff - I had no idea where or when I would land. But I found that my mind was full of ideas and stories and people, and I believe that we all have stories to tell. I find the process of writing fiction to be truly miraculous.
Maud, thanks for stopping by. We are glad you are taking the time to write historical events that haven’t gotten a lot of attention. May your books continue to inspire others to love history.