Welcome to the Winners’ Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Nelly Branson!
What are the names of your books? Who is the publisher?
Nelly (2017) and Michael (2020).
FreisenPress is the publisher.
Give us a short summary of your books.
Nelly is about growing up in a dysfunctional alcoholic home and experiencing and overcoming mental health issues.
Michael deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and journey through a terminal illness. I use excerpts and share insights of readings with a Medium as a strategy for coping with the death of my husband.
Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published.
I began by taking the novel course at Long Ridge Writer’s Group, now known as Institute for Writers (IFW). Writing my memoir (Nelly) became the beginning chapters of that course. My author mentor, Tom Hyman, encouraged me to finish the novel, so I did and self-published in 2017. Then my husband of almost thirty years was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. After his death in 2016, I knew I wanted to honor him by publishing Michael.
Nelly is my story, Michael is his story. They are meant to be inspirational novels for anyone going through similar issues.
How long have you been writing?
I began by taking the Children’s writing course around 2002 when I was home raising my daughter. I quickly realized that writing children’s fiction was not my forte. I progressed by writing and submitting non-fiction articles for publication. Then, life got busy and I took several years off of writing. I began the novel writing course through IFW around 2010. My career was as a Registered Nurse, but have enjoyed writing my entire life.
What’s your favorite genre to write and why?
Non-fiction; biographies. I enjoy telling real life stories.
Please list the course or courses you’ve taken with us.
Children’s Literature Course
Novel Writing Course
How has taking our courses helped your writing and/or career?
I found that immersing myself in the course material was challenging, fun and then writing became a passion. So, I would say the courses planted a “seed” in me.
Have any of your class assignments been published?
Both books through FriesenPress.
Do you have a favorite writing tip you’d like to share?
I try to balance emotions when writing. If there is a sad part, I like to follow-up with writing something humorous.
Words are extremely important and I can linger on a word or how I want to say a sentence for a very long time. When I am through and re-read the text, I know I’ve hit the mark if it makes me “feel” the words.
If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
I wouldn’t change one thing about my life or writing journey. As far as advice about writing, I would say you really need to be committed to the process. I wish I wouldn’t have had to work (as a nurse) plus write. It wouldn’t have taken ten years to write two books!
Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL and IFW.
The most valuable thing to me was to have Tom Hyman as my author/mentor in a 1:1 relationship through the novel writing course. I continue to communicate with him and seek advice from time to time. He is always available and gives wonderful feedback.
Why did you write with a nom de plume?
Because of sensitive family dynamics and material in Nelly, I needed and still need to remain anonymous.
Nelly Branson’s life journey consists of twists and turns as written in Nelly and Michael. She describes growing up in a dysfunctional family, life-long mental illness, as well as how to cope with the significant loss of her husband. The end of her journey is yet to be written! Find out more at nellybranson.com.