Local authors give advice to aspiring writers


Abbie Puketza

QUAKERTOWN – Thirty-five local authors gathered for an Author Expo at The Quakertown Public Library this past Saturday in order to talk to their readers, to inspire ambitious authors, and to sell their books.

I visited each of the tables and talked to most of the authors. In our conversations, I asked them what advice they wanted to give high school authors looking to pursue writing professionally.

Cheryl Baldi

“The important part is to write and to read, even if you are not having a lot of success, keep at it. Stamina is what it is about. Even if you go through a period where you don’t write, just forgive yourself and get writing again. It also helps to have a community of writers around you who support you because our culture does not really appreciate art as much as us who are artist do, so it is important to have a community whether they are other writers or visual artists or musicians. And to have people read your work and share it. I have a number of friends that get together and share our work. Once a year we have a big lunch at my house and I cook for everyone, and we bring one thing to share. Networking is also important, just finding out where people publish their work: small magazines, newspapers, books.”

Veronica Nagorny


“I graduated in 2016… so in high school it was very difficult because I was the most introverted person, so writing was the only was I could talk was through writing. I actually published my first book in 2012 when I was in middle school because every since i could write, I knew that was the thing I wanted to spend my life doing. And it is so hard, I am studying English in college and I am going to have so many weird jobs and so many things to support it, but advice I would have would be to never stop writing. There is always going to be that one person who says it is awful, there is going to be that person who says ‘oh this is pretty good,’ and there are going to be people who just don’t care. Don’t stop, don’t listen to what other people say, and just keep going.”

Roy Ziegler


“Read. Read about something you don’t like. You will be surprised about how many horizons open up… it opens your eyes. But if you want to get published, you have to have something that is going to perk people’s interest.”  

Donna Hutson Murray


“Don’t quit. That’s my main advice. write what you like to read, learn your craft, and learn how to self edit because quality starts at home. Also do a lot of reading, that will get you started.”

Annabelle Bryant


“You cannot give up because it is a very competitive market and I think you have to be true to yourself because there is a reader for every book. Don’t just try to chase down a trend because by the time you write that story, a different trend is going to be popular anyway, so don’t give up.”

Darlene A. McGarrity


“Read a lot in the genre you want to write in. Read a lot of blogs, articles, books, join some writing groups. Just have fun with it.”

Alissa Grosso  


“The best way to learn how to write is to just write and keep writing. I was writing when I was in high school and before then. I wrote my first book when I was in college and it was awful, but I kept doing it. You get better at it, like with anything else, with practice. Like basketball, you have to practice; with writing, you have to practice.”

Nancy E. Mumbauer

“Lots of reading and just following your passion, like the topic they are looking at. Just keep trying and keep working.

Bob McCrillis


“I think they need to recognize two things. One is that writing, to make a living, is extremely difficult. It is like playing pro basketball or driving race cars; there is a very small group of people that make it. Many of us make a little bit of money on the side, but the ‘Jack Reacher’s,’ that’s rare. So, that said, it is so rewarding, and what young people should be doing, is writing short stories. There are all kind of things you need to learn and silly stuff that teachers will teach you , but you have to write. And you have to find your heart and voice, and once you find it, then all of the other stuff will come. People always say ‘Oh, I don’t about whether I should write this genre or that genre.” Write what you feel. But write everyday. Journaling was something I was never able to do because my life is dull, but I have been writing since I was twelve, I was the writer for the high school newspaper. I wrote and actually submitted stuff to magazines. Never got it published, but I submitted it. And even when I had a regular job, I was writing all the time. You would be surprised how much your writing improves just by doing. The second thing, or third thing I guess, is write short stories. They are not as glamorous as novels, but you end up with a finished product that you can then critique. Where as with a novel, you write 100,00 words and by the time you are done, the last thing you want to do is start over. But you write a 3,000 word long short story and you can finish it and put it aside for a couple of days. Then, look at it, polish it, and put it together so that you can even get it published. There are numerous literary magazines that publish short stories. And yeah, they don’t always pay, some of them pay a little, but you can get published and get great advice from your editors. If you start yearly and keep at it, you will get better and it will be satisfying, even if you never sell one book.”

Maria T. Abissi

“Keep a journal everyday, journaling is very important. Read a lot and write a lot. It does not have to come out coherent when you are writing it down, just put it on paper and you can fix it later.”

Jake Troxell


“Read as much as you can, read as much as you can. That is, really at the core of it, all you can do. You can go to any fancy school that you want to but at the end of the day, the more you write and the more you read, the more you are going to learn and the better that you will be.”