SWA Presenter Spotlight: Emily Sue Harvey

As I announced in December, I will be teaching a workshop on journalistic writing at the 35th annual Southeastern Writers Association conference in June 2010.

To gear up for that, I am featuring some interviews and spotlights with this year’s presenters.

First up is inspirational writer and SWA board member Emily Sue Harvey.


A long-term SWA member, Harvey is represented by PMA Literary & Film Mgt, Inc., and her upbeat stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies including: Chicken Soup for the Soul, Chocolate for Women, From Eulogy to Joy, A Father’s Embrace, True Story, Compassionate Friends Magazine, and Woman’s World.  Her first novel, Song of Renewal, was released in 2009 by Story Plant.

She is also currently seeking renewal story submissions for a possible anthology.  For more information, please visit her Web site or contact her at emilysue1@aol.com.


RS:   How did you get into writing?

ESH: I was an English major in college, so I did lots of writing. The tragic death of my 11-year-old daughter, Angela, catapulted me into writing in earnest.

At that time, it was therapy. Along the way, it developed into a passion that remains until this day.

RS:  What keeps you writing?

ESH: Plain and simple: passion. Writing is in my genes and soul. It gives me a voice that makes a difference.

RS:  What do you do when you’re not writing?

ESH: I’m quite active with family, church and my old high school class.

I do a quarterly newsletter for the old classmates in which several columns appear: Profiles (updates on lives), Rainy Days (relating to deaths, health and other issues that need attention), Let’s Talk (newsy items) and Accolades (celebrating accomplishments, etc.).

I found that this bonds our gang in ways that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

RS:  What are you currently working on?

ESH: Currently, I’m editing and enlarging upon my newly-released mainstream fiction hardback novel: Song of Renewal. I am allowed to enlarge the story for the upcoming paperback release. The hardback release limited me to 160 pages. No such restrictions limit the paperback length.

Since I love editing, I’m enjoying this phase of the project.

The paperback edition of Harvey's novel, available at Amazon.com.

RS:  What’s one genre or type of writing in which you’d like to dabble but haven’t yet—and why?

ESH: Since I’ve dabbled in both fiction and nonfiction, there’s little I’ve not explored. I’m well published in numerous anthologies such as Chicken Soup, Chocolate for Women, and a wide spectrum of outreach magazines and etc. I’ve also done Renewal articles for heavily-trafficked Web sites such as Dr. Laura and Shine.

I’ve written several novels already, which are in the publishing wings. Perhaps I will decide to do a collection of all my short stories and articles in a future project.

RS:   What book(s) currently adorn your nightstand?

ESH: The Greatest Words Ever Spoken: Everything Jesus Said about You, Your Life, and Everything Else by Steven K. Scott, which is a book of the words of Jesus. Powerful.

Also, I just finished a delightful, engaging novel by Jennifer Greene, a new author-find for me. Will be reading more by her.

Harvey, the 2008-2009 SWA president

RS:  Name an author that helped shape who you are as a writer and how he or she had that effect on you.

ESH: Cec Murphey was and is a mentor of the highest caliber. He took me under his wing years ago at SWA and told me (among many valuable things) to address myself  as “a writer.” That began my real odyssey to where I am now.

RS:  Can you give us a quick teaser about the course you’ll be teaching at Southeastern Writers Association?

ESH: My “Get it done!” course consists of a no-nonsense (but fun) approach to writing, gleaned from both my academic and professional experiences, which taught me to sit down and “Just Do it!” (last year’s [workshop] title)—and that writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.

This year’s course continues on to incorporate networking skills offered at SWA workshops. Part of writing success is directly contingent upon the “Just Do It!” mindset, which calls for discipline and the instruction gleaned from SWA workshops.

Wrapping it all up are critical networking opportunities offered at the SWA workshops. Without some form of networking, writing success can be elusive. It’s so simple that folks often overlook its significance.

So come on down to St. Simons and join us for perhaps some of the most crucial lessons of your writing journey. “GET IT DONE!”


For more information about the Southeastern Writers Association conference in June, please see their registration page as well as my recent post. Don’t wait to sign up—and you must be registered by April 1 in order to participate in contests and manuscript evaluations, so reserve your spot today!

To learn more about the workshop I’m teaching, click here.