Meet the Writer: Andrea Cumbo

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I want to thank Andi for answering my questions. You can read more about her at herwebsite, you can follow her on Twitter, or you can follow her on Facebook. Also, be sure to check out God’s Whisper Farm for upcoming retreats, workshops, and readings!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Well, according to this little spiral-bound school book thingy I still have, in 1st and 3rd grade, I was aiming to be a belly dancer with a brief hiatus to singer in 2nd grade.

What do you do now that you are “grown up”?

Alas, neither singing nor belly dancing panned out, so I’m a writer, an editor, and a writing coach. There are, of course, similarities.

Do you think there is a certain achievement a person must “unlock” before he or she can be called a “writer”?

Yes, yes, I do.  The person has to write.  That’s about it.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Several, actually.  I light a candle – preferably vanilla-scented – when I sit down to write, and I often read a poem and copy over a line to my journal and use that as my launching place for the day’s work.  I also typically write 1,000 words a day – on the advice of Shawn Smucker. It’s a good number.

Are you writing anything right now?

I  am I’m working on a couple of things – a second draft of a YA novel and a memoir about my family as free people of color and slave owners. Both projects are fun and hard, too.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

What a good question.  I find lots of things challenging about writing as a practice, but right now, my number one challenge is recognizing my own privilege as a white woman when I write about issues of race and racism. I never want to forget that my experience is not universal OR that I speak from that privileged perspective.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

You know the one thing I’d change is that I’d have a graphic designer create the mock-up of the cover.  I LOVE the cover that my husband designed, but neither he nor I have the skills with graphic design software to get the cover to be as crisp as we would have liked.  In terms of content, I’m sure I would clean things up and perhaps add more, but overall, I’m please with the book itself.

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About Grab the Lapels

I'm a graduate of the MFA fiction writing program at the University of Notre Dame. I also have a MA and BS from Central Michigan University. I teach composition, creative writing, and literature, which has inspired me to follow along with trends in teaching, publishing, and reviewing.

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