Gennifer Albin sure knows how to ‘spin a yarn.’

Utopia Authors, Speakers

We are over the moon to have Gennifer Albin a part of utopYAcon 2014. Many of you may already know her books, The Crewel World series. For those of you who aren’t familiar, we thought we’d take a moment to introduce you to this amazing woman. She truly is a woman’s woman, and we cannot wait for her keynote this Friday. Be sure to be there!

Gennifer Albin holds a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Missouri. A recovering academic, she turned to writing her own books.  In her free time she sits on the National Novel Writing Month Advisory Board, laughs (and cries) with her mom writers group, and watches too much Doctor Who (if that’s possible). Gennifer lives in Poulsbo Washington with her family.

The utopYA crew LOVE your books. The world built around the Crewel World books are incredible. Where did the concept of Crewel come from?

I’ve always been fascinated by the painting Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle by Remedios Varo, which shows a group of girls embroidering the reality of Earth.  I started playing with that idea and the idea of the fabric of life and created  a world where women could actually do that.

That is an amazing piece of art. Very inspirational! Speaking of items of inspiration, the names in the Crewel books (Arras, Adelice, Cormac Patton, etc) are super cool. Did you research them or was it just the sheer power of imagination?

Most of them have double meanings, although there are a few like Cormac Patton who popped into my head fully named. Cormac, Pryana, Loricel, and Erik were all straight from my imagination. But Adelice, Josten, Arras, Amie, and many others were chosen based on their meanings.

Love it or leave it, NaNoWriMo can be a fantastic tool to jump start your next novel. Many people may not realize how closely tied you are to this annual event. What’s it like sitting on the NaNoWriMo advisory board? Are you able to help others struggling/achieving their goals through this amazing month dedicated to writing?

Mostly it’s just a good time. I enjoy the supportive atmosphere of NaNoWriMo, so when they asked me to help out with the board, the decision was a no brainer. I have no idea if I would have ever finished a novel without NaNoWriMo, so they could pretty much ask me for anything and I would  say yes. Thankfully, it’s a cool bunch of people who ask for reasonable things!

Our motto here at utopYA is “Lift as you Climb” and we love hearing about others following this sort of vein. Can you tell us a little about WrAHMs? Regarding your work with WrAHMs, Writing at Home Moms, what is the best piece of advice you give for at-home moms trying to juggle laundry, meals, shopping, nap times, school work, and the next big project? Do you have any advice for the moms out there with the added hurdle of a full time job as well as full time mommy duties and their writing?

I love that motto! WrAHMs is a group I started to bring mom writers together. Some of the moms have full-time jobs outside the home, some of them are full-time stay-at-home moms—it’s a mixed group. But I think the common thing that links most moms who write is that we struggle with giving ourselves that time to do so. There are always a hundred other things we think we “should” be doing instead. I think that regardless of whether you stay home or work outside the home, there’s a tendency for moms to feel guilty doing something they perceive is only for themselves. But taking time to fulfill yourself creatively isn’t selfish, it’s essential. I truly believe children benefit more from having a fulfilled mother with interests outside of them than from having a mother who is around 24 hours a day to meet their every need and whim. The same goes for spouses and partners 🙂

What a wonderful piece of advice! I know I’m guilty of not taking enough ME time. Thank you for sharing!

Finally, since our theme this year is aliens, do you have a favorite alien?

Well, that’s obvious—Doctor Who!

But of COURSE! 😉


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