Heidi W. DurrowHeidi W. Durrow

News from Heidi

Here you can find news about the book, festival, and what's happening with Heidi.

Meet Debut Novelist Ginger McKnight-Chavers!

I'm so excited to tell you about this dynamic debut novelist!  Ginger McKnight-Chavers was a participant in my 2015 Djerassi workshop working on her first novel.  And now a year and half later her book is about to hit bookstore shelves everywhere.  I think you are going to love this book as much as I do.  This is what I had to say when I finished reading the final draft a few months ago: 

“Funny, smart and compulsively readable! Ginger McKnight has a hit on her hands. And Terry McMillan fans can rejoice that they can add a new favorite writer to their list!” —Heidi W. Durrow New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

 
Don't just listen to me.  Here are more pre-publication reviews: 
 
“Everything is bigger in Texas―the hair, the real estate, and the drama in the pages of In The Heart of Texas. Forty-one-year-old soap star Jo Randolph manages to lose her Hollywood dream and burn all Tinseltown bridges in the span of 24 hours―literally. Caught in a PR nightmare, her agent ships her off to her Texas hometown and she desperately tries to reconnect to life beyond the limelight.”—PopSugar
 
 
“Ginger McKnight-Chavers expertly fuses politics, pop culture and hot topics surrounding race to create one of the most rousingly inspiring reads of fall.” —Redbook Magazine
 
Pre-order the book now!
 
 
 

In the Heart of Texas

By Ginger McKnight-Chavers

 
Pitched as “a poor man’s Halle Berry,” forty-one-year-old soap star Jo Randolph, has successfully avoided waiting tables since she left Midland, Texas at eighteen. But then, in the span of twenty-four hours, Jo manages to lose her job, burn her bridges in Hollywood, and accidentally burn down her lover/director’s beach house—after which she is shipped home to Texas by her agent to stay out of sight while she sorts out her situation. 
 
The more Jo reluctantly reconnects with her Texas “roots” and the family and friends she left behind, the more she regains touch with herself as an artist and with what is meaningful in life beyond the limelight. The summer of 2007 is cathartic for Jo, whose career and lifestyle have allowed her to live like a child for forty years, but who now must transition to making grown-up decisions and taking on adult responsibilities. In the Heart of Texas is a wry, humorous commentary on the complexities of race, class, relationships, politics, popular culture, and celebrity in our current society.
 
A native of Dallas, Texas, Ginger McKnight-Chavers is a graduate of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and Harvard Law School. She was a Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellow at Sarah Lawrence College and her debut novel, In the Heart of Texas, will be released in Fall 2016 by She Writes Press. McKnight-Chavers currently blogs for the Huffington Post and The TexPatch, and she lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, daughter, and an overweight West Highland White Terrier.

 

Write with me at Djerassi in 2017!

Djerassi Heidi DurrowI am very excited to teach another week-long writing workshop in February 2017 at Djerassi, an idyllic writer's retreat where I was in residence for 4 weeks in 2005 and 2013.

The workshop is geared to people working on their first novel and is well-suited for those writing about difference, race, and social justice. The workshop will include workshop manuscript critiques, time for new writing as well as workshop writing prompts, a private consultation of 50 pages of your manuscript, and talks on actionable steps you can take to start your career as a published writer.  Applicants accepted pending review of writing samples.  Space is limited.

I hope you'll apply and make the promise you've made to yourself come true: finish that novel you've always wanted to write! Applications open on Sept. 1!  Learn more on the Djerassi website.

WHAT MAKES THIS WRITING WORKSHOP DIFFERENT?

Well, I'll let some past workshop participants tell you themselves:

"Heidi herself was warm, generous, and gently constructive & gave attention to practical matters, e.g. how to give a great reading. She set a wonderful tone for workshop and critique to be directed at expanding work in progress, rather than attacking it." Jenn R., workshop participant

"Heidi's candor was refreshing. She really emphasized how relentless debut authors need to be BEFORE being published and after publication. She shared some critical strategies and some of her mistakes so that we can avoid making them. I also liked her authenticity. She was not afraid to get emotional. She does not present a façade, she is refreshingly real and approachable. One story she told us about one of her young readers perfectly illustrated the power of being an author and it had nothing to do with fame, money or ego. The story she shared left me determined to create art with my novel. I never had that goal before the workshop because I did not consider myself an artist. Finally, I think Heidi is brilliant. She has keen insights and is a writer’s writer. She set a constructive tone for the workshop by emphasizing that we look for the energy in each other’s work and suggest ways to build on that. That was such a great approach and we all benefitted. I felt like I could share freely because I was in a safe place."  Robin Farmer, workshop participant

"Heidi provided extremely constructive, detailed manuscript critiques; extremely useful and practical information re the nuts and bolts of selling and promoting your work – and the practice doing readings was so helpful. Heidi is an engaging, energetic and masterful guide through the intricacies and necessary action steps to successfully complete, publish and promote your novel.

"The positive energy, support and enthusiasm from Heidi and the workshop attendees that renewed my spirit and revved me up with the energy and tools I need to complete my novel and get it out into the world." — Ginger McKnight-Chavers, workshop participant

"I loved the intimacy of the group—it was very supportive and generative. And I loved Heidi’s teaching/coaching style. She is a natural teacher and encourager. I enjoyed the pacing and the mix of sessions and events planned. I learned so much, and received so much encouragement from, the workshops, the one-on-one, the discussions and talks that Heidi gave on the other parts of the writerly life. I appreciate Heidi’s style and her genuineness. And I surely appreciated her generosity of spirit and heart." Michele Beller, workshop participant

"I was so impressed with Heidi’s organization and preparedness for the workshop. I wasn’t expecting anything more than a few workshops and time to write, but she provided so much more than that with super informative sessions on marketing, networking and getting published. I am always so focused on writing that I hadn’t even thought about all of the nuts and bolts that go along with creating art. She also managed to curate a group of writers who seemed to mesh perfectly together, as well as create a workshopping environment that managed to be both nurturing and constructive. I didn’t feel like my fellow workshoppers (or Heidi) were holding back, but at the same time I never felt attacked or defeated. Quite the opposite." Jessica Haas, workshop participant

"It was, quite simply, a stupendous experience. Heidi packed so much into a few days: giving us advice; providing the opportunity to have our work read by others as well as by herself; and even “forcing” us to read our own work, out loud and in public. Her selection of other writers was spot-on, and she quickly created a safe space for us to bond and support each other. I don’t think anyone expected we’d become life-long friends, our own clan, within a few short days."  Romalyn Tilghman, workshop participant

The Mixed Remixed Festival 2016 Got Some Awesome Press Write-ups!

I'm Teaching a Week-long Writing Workshop

 

I'm excited to announce that I'll teach a week-long writing workshop Writing the Debut Novel: Developing Your Craft & Your Career in January 2016 at Djerassi, an idyllic writer's retreat where I was in residence for 4 weeks in 2005 and 2013. The workshop is geared to debut novelists and is well-suited for those writing about difference, race, and social justice. The workshop will include workshop manuscript critiques, time for new writing as well as workshop writing prompts, a private consultation of 50 pages of your manuscript, and talks on actionable steps you can take to start your career as a published writer. Includes up to 50 pages manuscript consultation in private 1/2 hour session with me. Full novel review available for an additional fee. Applicants accepted pending review of writing samples.  Space is limited.  I hope you'll apply and make the promise you've made to yourself come true: finish that novel you've always wanted to write! Learn more here.

 

Statement:

"At age 29 I quit my job and set out to write the Great American Novel by age 30. After 6 years of feeling stuck, I realized I was only playing at writing a book while I waited for my muse to come and for someone to discover my talent. I had to treat my ambition to become a published novelist the same way that I had planned out my professional career. That’s when I started to see results the non-MFA way. I learned to grow my craft and my career and ended up with a New York Times best-selling novel that continues to grow a wide readership now internationally. This workshop is tailored for the person who has always wanted to write for a living, but doesn’t have an idea about how to start. I'm looking forward to sharing my process and helping other writers who are looking for a way to take tangible steps toward achieving their dreams."--Heidi

 

Heidi Durrow Djerassi

Testimonials: 

"Heidi herself was warm, generous, and gently constructive & gave attention to practical matters, e.g. how to give a great reading. She set a wonderful tone for workshop and critique to be directed at expanding work in progress, rather than attacking it." Jenn R., workshop participant

"Heidi's candor was refreshing. She really emphasized how relentless debut authors need to be BEFORE being published and after publication. She shared some critical strategies and some of her mistakes so that we can avoid making them. I also liked her authenticity. She was not afraid to get emotional. She does not present a façade, she is refreshingly real and approachable. One story she told us about one of her young readers perfectly illustrated the power of being an author and it had nothing to do with fame, money or ego. The story she shared left me determined to create art with my novel. I never had that goal before the workshop because I did not consider myself an artist. Finally, I think Heidi is brilliant. She has keen insights and is a writer’s writer. She set a constructive tone for the workshop by emphasizing that we look for the energy in each other’s work and suggest ways to build on that. That was such a great approach and we all benefitted. I felt like I could share freely because I was in a safe place."  Robin Farmer, workshop participant

"Heidi provided extremely constructive, detailed manuscript critiques; extremely useful and practical information re the nuts and bolts of selling and promoting your work – and the practice doing readings was so helpful. Heidi is an engaging, energetic and masterful guide through the intricacies and necessary action steps to successfully complete, publish and promote your novel.

"The positive energy, support and enthusiasm from Heidi and the workshop attendees that renewed my spirit and revved me up with the energy and tools I need to complete my novel and get it out into the world." — Ginger McKnight-Chavers, workshop participant

"I loved the intimacy of the group—it was very supportive and generative. And I loved Heidi’s teaching/coaching style. She is a natural teacher and encourager. I enjoyed the pacing and the mix of sessions and events planned. I learned so much, and received so much encouragement from, the workshops, the one-on-one, the discussions and talks that Heidi gave on the other parts of the writerly life. I appreciate Heidi’s style and her genuineness. And I surely appreciated her generosity of spirit and heart." Michele Beller, workshop participant

"I was so impressed with Heidi’s organization and preparedness for the workshop. I wasn’t expecting anything more than a few workshops and time to write, but she provided so much more than that with super informative sessions on marketing, networking and getting published. I am always so focused on writing that I hadn’t even thought about all of the nuts and bolts that go along with creating art. She also managed to curate a group of writers who seemed to mesh perfectly together, as well as create a workshopping environment that managed to be both nurturing and constructive. I didn’t feel like my fellow workshoppers (or Heidi) were holding back, but at the same time I never felt attacked or defeated. Quite the opposite."  Jessica Haas, workshop participant

"It was, quite simply, a stupendous experience. Heidi packed so much into a few days: giving us advice; providing the opportunity to have our work read by others as well as by herself; and even “forcing” us to read our own work, out loud and in public. Her selection of other writers was spot-on, and she quickly created a safe space for us to bond and support each other. I don’t think anyone expected we’d become life-long friends, our own clan, within a few short days."  Romalyn Tilghman, workshop participant

 

My Latest Essay in the New York Times

How excited was I to be asked to write a piece for the New York Times again. It happened to coincide with the end of the 2015 Mixed Remixed Festival which was a huge success.  Actually better than huge!  It was the best-attended (we had standing room only in almost every program).  We had the best press coverage: not just the New York Times, but also NBC News, KTLA, and a full-page feature in the New York Times  And we had the best feeling of energy and love.  I felt so proud (exhausted but also proud.)  So already I'm gearing up for next year's festival!  Stay tuned for a date.  Here are some of the fun photos.  Be sure to check out the links to the press the Mixed Remixed Festival received! 

 

More Amazing Art Inspired By My Book!

I wanted to share more great artwork inspired by my book.  These drawings were done by a student from ENG 200H, Critical Thinking & Writing, Honors class at Wor-Wic Community College taught by Melissa Reddish. To see more artwork inspired by my book, check out this wonderful image gallery.

Beautiful Art Inspired By My Book!

I was elated and honored to receive an email with this image from Jill Kuanfung, an incredibly talented young artist who was inspired to paint this piece after reading The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.  Check out more of her work here.  I see an amazing career in the works!  To see more artwork inspired by my book, check out this wonderful image gallery.

Help Make The Girl Oyster Book's Most Popular of the Year!

It's Oyster Books' (think of them like the Netflix of books) 1st Birthday and they are celebrating with a giveaway!  Vote for your favorite books and you have a chance to win a year's subscription to Oyster!  The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is up for Most Popular against some heavy-hitters including fellow Yale Law grad Gretchin Rubin's The Happiness Project and the classic The Giver by Lois Lowry.  Please vote now.  Voting closes on Sunday.

I'm Teaching a Week-long Writing Workshop

 

I'm excited to announce that I'll teach a week-long writing workshop (Writing the Debut Novel the Non-MFA Way) in February 2015 at Djerassi, an idyllic writer's retreat where I was in residence for 4 weeks in 2005 and 2013. The workshop is geared to debut novelists and is well-suited for those writing about difference, race, and social justice. The workshop will include workshop manuscript critiques, time for new writing as well as workshop writing prompts, a private consultation of 50 pages of your manuscript, and talks on actionable steps you can take to start your career as a published writer. Includes up to 50 pages manuscript consultation in private 1/2 hour session with me. Full novel review available for an additional fee. Applicants accepted pending review of writing samples.  Space is limited.  I hope you'll apply and make the promise you've made to yourself come true: finish that novel you've always wanted to write! Learn more here.

 

Statement:

"At age 29 I quit my job and set out to write the Great American Novel by age 30. After 6 years of feeling stuck, I realized I was only playing at writing a book while I waited for my muse to come and for someone to discover my talent. I had to treat my ambition to become a published novelist the same way that I had planned out my professional career. That’s when I started to see results the non-MFA way. I learned to grow my craft and my career and ended up with a New York Times best-selling novel that continues to grow a wide readership now internationally. This workshop is tailored for the person who has always wanted to write for a living, but doesn’t have an idea about how to start. I'm looking forward to sharing my process and helping other writers who are looking for a way to take tangible steps toward achieving their dreams."--Heidi

 

Salem College: First Year Read Visit Sept. 16, 2014

I'm excited to visit what was once my homestate on Sept. 16.  I'll be visiting with students and speaking at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC.  The school selected The Girl Who Fell From the Sky as the First-Year Read.  It's an incredible honor and I can't wait to hear what the students have to say!

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