Friday, December 3, 2010

A Tribute to The Maui Writers' Retreat

Legendary author Terry Brooks and the absolutely awesome Tess Gerritsen have given my soon-to-be-published novel, Vestal Virgin, blurbs! I am ecstatic and inexpressibly grateful.

I studied with Terry and Tess at the (now defunct) Maui Writers' Retreat. The retreat offered a week-long intensive of study with major writers. It was a dream come true. Imagine studying in a small group (about 10 students) with New York Times best-selling writers of all genres: fantasy, thrillers, literary fiction, romance, mystery, science fiction... Imagine all this in a gorgeous tropical setting. Imagine meeting up with fellow writers and teachers at the bar--overlooking the Hawaii blue ocean. That was Maui. Sheer magic. I attended the retreat (and conference that followed) five times. I also traveled to Rome with a group from Maui including Terry Brooks, John SaulDorothy Allison, Elizabeth Engstrom--fellow students included Eldon ThompsonKathleen AntrimBrian Moreland  and Christopher S. Haviland.

Maui was the creation of John Tullius. John had help from too many writers and volunteers to list here. Two of the most prominent and generous were Terry Brooks and John Saul, who donated--not just their time--but thousands of dollars to the conference. Another wonderful writer/teacher I met in Maui is Elizabeth Engstrom. Not only is Elizabeth a fantastic writer, she is a light as a human being. And then, there's Tess Gerritsen. The last year I attended Maui, I was lucky enough to be placed in Tess's class--what a generous and kind person.

To this day, I hear Terry's voice inside my head saying, "Write,write, write; read, read, read; write, write, write: Repeat! He taught me so much about constructing a story, building a world, and above all else: Don't be BOOOORING!

I try to follow Terry's advice. And the advice of all the wonderful writers who taught me so much at Maui.

Aloha and Namaste,

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