Writing from life experiences topic of panel discussion


Every writer draws from their life experiences when fleshing out scenes for both fiction and nonfiction. But how to use the most impactful life experiences and translate them into a meaningful narrative takes time and thought.

The FWA Ponte Vedra Writers group will explore “Writing from Life Experiences” with a panel discussion featuring three authors who have mined specific life-altering events for their books.

The meeting takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library.

The panelists will discuss specific life experiences that they used in their writing, including decisions made about what to use and what not to use. Those in the audience will have a chance to ask questions as well. The three panelists are Judy Holmes, Margaret (Peggy) Nicholson and Linda Sexton.

After 27 years teaching English to middle and secondary students, and more years coaching teachers and teaching college students — not to mention raising her own children and nurturing 11 grandchildren — Holmes has used that hard-earned wisdom to write her award-winning book, “Responsible Kids: 6 Steps to Raising Them in an Irresponsible World.”

Nicholson had been working on a travel memoir when the birth of her grandson sparked an interest in genealogy, and she began researching her family tree. Through DNA testing she discovered an unexpected birth father. This led her to write “My Surprise Family: Find Your Ancestry Story.”

Sexton was a pioneer as a woman engineer, and later a pioneer in open adoption. She and her husband adopted two children, both in open arrangements with the birth parents. She became determined to help others embarking on the same adoption journey and wrote “The Branches We Cherish: Twenty-Five Truths About Open Adoption.” The book won Gold in last year’s Royal Palm Literary Awards competition in the Unpublished Nonfiction category.

The Ponte Vedra Writers group is part of the Florida Writers Association, a statewide, membership organization dedicated to the support of both aspiring and published writers in any genre.

The April 22 meeting is free and open to members and nonmembers alike. For information on FWA go to floridawriters.org.