Albert Lea writing group in prominent magazine

Published 12:17 pm Thursday, June 5, 2014

An Albert Lea writing club has been featured in a prominent magazine for authors.

The Park Avenue Authors appears in the July/August 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest, a magazine geared for beginning writers as well as published authors. Based in Cincinnati, it has been published since 1920 and has 77,000 subscribers.

Park Avenue Authors member Susan Carlson said the group was selected from among hundreds of entries.

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“To be part of this in a very small way, we’re pretty proud of that fact,” she said.

The article featuring the Park Avenue Authors is titled, “Team up! What Makes Writing Groups Work.” Five writing groups in the United States and one in South Africa describe themselves.

“The Park Avenue Authors, who range in age from 15 to 85, are diverse in personal and professional backgrounds. We are novelists, radio scriptwriters, journalists and nonfiction book authors, both published and not published yet — but most have professional writing experience of some sort.”

The writing group describes their format as structured with an agenda. They meet over coffee and tea on the second Saturday of the month and critique each other’s work on an individual basis between meetings. They describe their mutual respect for insight offered and varied backgrounds.

Under “Lessons Learned,” the Park Avenue Authors wrote, “Individuals have limits. A group has none! Sometimes you need someone to yank you out of your perspective in order to grow. As one of our members puts it, writers are a different duck. Sometimes, it just feels good to be with your own flock.”

Under “Tips,” they mentioned that the group has a mission statement and new members receive a welcome packet.

Carlson said Park Avenue Authors member member Neil Opstad noticed the magazine’s call for entries and contracted her about submitting one.

“Well, why not?” she said.

Opstad, Carlson and Georgia Whitmore formed the Park Avenue Authors in January 2013. Carlson writes under the pen name Susan Joyce and Whitmore under Claudia Ryan Smith.

The magazine says there are 11 members, and a photo in a stairwell shows eight of them. However, there are now 14 members.

Other members are Leland Bissinger, Sara Aeikens, Linda Carroll, Nicole Hill, Mia Hill, Noelle Star, Milt Ost, Nancy Overgaard, Amber Busall, Jodi Johnson and Joyce Nixon. Carroll’s pen name is L.A. Carroll and Busall’s is Amber Hope.

“There are many more authors in this area than you think,” Carlson said.

That would include works that range from poetry to prose to playwriting, as well as books.

She lived in Albert Lea for 15 years, moved away and came back three years ago. She said Albert Lea has become more artsy over the years — a reason she opted to retire here.

To join the Park Avenue Authors, call 507-391-5102.

“There’s an author in all of us to some degree,” Carlson said.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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