Author interview with Abby Marks Beale
1. Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading. It is my second book on the topic (my first was 10 Days to Faster Reading) so I was challenged to figure out how best to make this one different than the first one. So I re-read over 30 other speed reading books on my shelves and incorporated a lot of what I already knew and added a few new ones.
2. How did you get started as a writer?
I honestly never wanted to write a book. For all three of the books I have written, I have been asked to write them. As an expert in my field (and searchable on the internet), I was approached by acquisitions editors or friends who knew of the projects. I can honestly say that I don’t love to write, but I love to HAVE written!
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
On my writing days, I get up by 5am so I can get in a few quiet hours before my kids get up and the school rush begins. After the kids are on their way to school, I would usually workout or walk the dog for an hour or more. Then shower and buckle down into my home office for other work, including client communications, emails, phone calls and the like. Once the kids come back home, then it’s mommy time again and I need to make dinner and typically carpool to some sports practice or game in the evening. I collapse by 10pm.
4. Describe your desk/workspace.
I had a feng-shui friend come in last year to evaluate my space which has made it more efficient. I used to spread out all over several surfaces; now I contain it to one long surface. I face a blank wall (which will soon have a picture of my dream vacation home) and behind me are windows looking out into my treed yard.
5. Favorite books (especially for writers)
I like any how-to book I can understand! Some of my favorites are written by Julie Morgenstern, Edward Hallowell, and Richard Saul Wurman.
6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you.
I started doing yoga 8 years ago and I’m in better shape and more flexible now than I was 8 years ago! I am studying homeopathic medicine with
the hope of becoming a certified homeopath in the next 3 years. I don’t watch a lot of TV but for some reason have been spending (too much!) time watching American Idol with my family.
7. Favorite quote
You go in the direction of your most dominant thoughts.
8. Best and worst part of being a writer
I love to HAVE written and signing books (though that took a while to get used to). During a writing project, I dislike the time pressure (but it motivates!)
9. Advice for other writers
Let your editor help you make your manuscript even better. This may mean pushing your ego aside but it is usually worth it.
10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.
In 1991, I received a phone call from someone who said she was from a publishing house and wanted to know if I wanted to write a study
skills book for them. I asked how she found me and she said she saw I offered a course at the local community college so I “must” be an expert. I started to laugh and was about an inch away from hanging up the phone when a voice in my head said I should ask her if she was serious. And she was! That book was published in 1994 and is now in third edition!
Where can people buy your books?
My three books: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading, 10 Days to Faster Reading and Success Skills:
Strategies for Study and Lifelong Learning are all available at your favorite online bookseller as well my web site at .
Although I’m normally not a fan of the “idiots” series guides, I thought this one was actually really good.
10 Days to Faster Reading was really good too.