Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Interview with a Travel Writer...Vivienne Mackie.

The ‘Interview with a Travel Writer’ series is back and we are starting off with Vivienne Mackie, travel writer and ESL teacher currently living in Paris, France for six months.

Vivienne has written for Transitions Abroad, International Living, Expat Exchange Trips and Journeysand France for Freebooters. She also writes and edit’s the Fiesta Section of Just Say Go. You can find her blogging most days at ‘Round the World with Vivienne’

Hi Vivienne and welcome to My Year of Getting Published. Thanks for finding some time to chat.

1. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get started in writing?

I’m not sure I ever actually thought about being a writer when I was younger---I just wrote all the time, even as a child. My whole family reads a lot and is fascinated with language, so it came naturally. Finishing university and finding a career happened, as did getting married and having a family. But all along, I was still keeping a journal, writing short articles for local magazines and a few professional journal articles. The idea of branching into travel writing grew out of our love of travel and my habit of keeping an extensive travel journal. I wanted to share our experiences with family and friends, we added photos and slides, and then it seemed logical to try and get something published, so it could be more widely viewed.

2. What do you consider your first break as a travel writer?

If by first break you mean first published travel article, it was on Neuschwanstein in a local newspapers for seniors. I was enormously proud to see it in print, which spurred me to do more. But, I’m still waiting for “the big break”!

3. What advice would you give to someone who is considering going into travel writing? Any tips to breaking into newspapers and magazines?

I’m sure that most writers would say something similar: persevere, don’t give up, even in the face of all those rejection letters or the complete silence in response to queries. Keep reading, and finding new possible markets.

Something that’s also been enormously helpful to me is to find other travel writers to be ‘buddies’---through various online groups or associations or, even better, a local writers’ group if you have one.

For newspapers and magazines, start local, start small. I’m still waiting to crack the big one!

4. What do you see as the future for travel writing in the printed media and online?

I believe there’ll always be a place for travel writing of one sort or another as humans love to travel, to move around, and they need information. As information on the web proliferates and explodes, it becomes harder to make a mark, but someone who always produces good work, who’s always reliable, who covers a place well, should still do fine.

Some parts of the printed media do seem to be shrinking as people use the web more but there are still many avenues open to those who spend a bit of time ferreting out markets (I don’t do enough of that).

5. As a writer and traveler, what are the biggest challenges you face on the road?

Traveling for work can be tiring and stressful if you have a lot to cover in a short time. Living out of a suitcase gets “old” very quickly---and lugging the suitcase up and down stairs in the metro, in old hotels etc.

You have to make time each day to make notes, verify facts, organize photos etc.

So, I always try to have a few “down” days, or at least some personal relaxing time in between.

6. Finally, what is your favorite place and why?

Favorite place is a hard one to answer, as I think that everywhere has something interesting to offer. It will depend partly on my mood at the time as to what aspect of a place will grab me.

That said, probably my favorite country in general is France---the countryside is really pretty, the history so rich, the churches and monuments amazing, the food and wine wonderful.

We also love Scotland, for the same reasons, but not for the food! The people in Scotland are so warm and welcoming. Of cities, one of my favorites is Vienna. But, for natural beauty and grandeur, the USA is hard to beat; for wildlife, either southern Africa of Australia. (Sorry, I’ve not been to New Zealand yet---will have to rectify that).

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1 comment:

Nath said...

You're famous Grammie! Good interview :)

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