Houston has a conference coming up! We caught up with the president of the writing group hosting the conference. Without further ado, here’s a fun and informative interview with Pamela Fagan Hutchins!
What’s it like running the largest Writers Organization in the 4th largest city in the U.S.?
Pamela: Crazy in a good way. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do for this group, and write, and keep working the day job, and pay enough attention to my long suffering husband and brood of five offspring, four dogs, one duck, one heifer, and four goats. The writing community in the city of Houston has been so good to me, though, that I couldn’t repay it in a lifetime, even with a clone working side by side with me. Luckily, I have an amazing cadre of hard core volunteers, and we’re making it happen together.
With all that, how’d you end up saying yes to this role?
Pamela: How could I not? Roger Paulding founded the Houston Writers Guild fifteen years ago, and he lovingly built the organization, even funding it with his own money when it struggled financially. He needed a break from it, and the organization needed to transition from being, essentially, a sole-proprietorship, to a non-profit run by volunteers. He asked me to buy it from him, and I did. We’re in the process of converting it to a 501(c)(3) now. It’s very exciting.
What’s up next for the Houston Writers Guild?
Pamela: We’re gearing up for our annual agents & editors conference. This year’s theme is Fifty Shades Beyond Gray: Coloring Your Writing and Infusing Your Future. We’ll have six agents and acquiring editors, Nikki Loftin delivering our keynote (Penguin/Razorbill author of the upcoming Nightingale’s Nest), Jane Friedman conducting a pre-conference Author Platform Workshop (VQR editor and publisher of Scratch, formerly of Writers Digest fame), a genre contest, manuscript consults, and three concurrent tracks featuring Kobo’s US Manager Christine Munroe and 14 other top notch topics and speakers. We pride ourselves on delivering the best writing conference value, anywhere. We’ll even offer a full-day pitch workshop two weeks before the conference, and that one will be a real steal, price-wise.
Sounds amazing. What goes into throwing a conference of this magnitude?
Pamela: Lots of coffee and no sleep! Seriously, we have 35 members on our various committees knocking this thing out like they were born to do it. Our goal is to break everything down into the smallest possible tasks and spread the work around, so that we can all participate in the conference too, or at least most of it. I love the sense of ownership I’m seeing in the group. Everyone is determined to throw the best darn conference in the history of writing conferences, then top it next year. It’s very exciting to be a part of this kind of energy.
Is it just for local writers?
Pamela: Absolutely not. Houston is a fantastic destination city, and our conference should attract people from all over the country. Hotels are abundant near our venue, the Marriott Sugar Land Town Center, and inexpensive. Houston is famous for its restaurant scene, and we’ve got great airports.
Do you have any advice for getting the most out of your conference?
Pamela: Yes. Polish that writing, enter the contest, submit your manuscript for a consult, and show up. We’re offering cash prizes and a meeting with the judge for contest winners, too. We’ll be offering our sessions in webinar format after the conference, so any sessions you can’t make, you can make up later. In fact, we will even offer live webinar attendance for each session for people that can’t make it in person, via Adobe Connect, at no extra charge.
Where can people find out more about Houston Writers Guild, and your annual conference?
Pamela: Our website, http://houstonwritersguild.org. For the conference, http://houstonwritersguild.org/annual-conference. For membership, http://houstonwritersguild.org/membership. We offer discounted memberships for students and out of town members, too. If you have questions, email HoustonWritersGuild@hotmail.com.
A little bit about Pamela:
Pamela Fagan Hutchins, President of Houston Writers Guild, is an employment attorney and workplace investigator by day who writes award-winning and best-selling romantic mysteries with paranormal twists (Saving Grace, Leaving Annalise, the upcoming Finding Harmony) and hilarious nonfiction (How to Screw Up Your Kids, What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes?, and others) by night. She is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.