On when she got interested in writing…

As a first-grade pupil in the country town of Vidrine, Louisiana, my teacher inspired me with her daily poetry and short story readings to the class. Besides, as a piano student eager to learn more about rhyme and rhythm, my first writings turned to poetry.

At age ten, I submitted a poem, “Success,” to Young People’s Magazine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After encouraging comments from the editor, I revised the poem and returned it to her. Publication followed with a personal check for $2.00.

I knew then I wanted to become a professional writer. As a high school student, my literary efforts included short stories and novels, a few bringing handclaps from teachers and classmates. From submission to editorial houses came a brief encouraging remark now and then. No sales.

Becoming a teacher and pursuing a career in writing…

Inspired to become a teacher as well as a writer, after high school graduation I enrolled at Southwestern Louisiana Institute, Lafayette, Louisiana, for a college degree in English Education. Besides having a high school scholarship, I worked between semesters to take care of extra expenses. Jobs included receptionist in a doctor’s office, proofreader for the local Ville Platte Gazette, and typist in a lawyer’s office.

After twelve years as a high school English teacher, I took a leave of absence to earn a Master’s Degree in education. During that time, I also wrote a “Dear Teacher” column for several newspapers in Louisiana and Texas. Torn between my teaching career and pursuing the newspaper column which had earned unexpected success, I chose to return to the classroom for financial reasons.

What she’s written so far and where her interests are today…

Through the years, some of my poems have appeared in various magazines, newspapers, and professional periodicals. Diverse articles on current political matters and common family issues have been accepted by national publications.  One short story was published in GLAMOUR MAGAZINE, England.

My main interest today is fiction. A recent, three-chapter submission in a novel contest took 4th place out of more than one hundred entries.  Completion of that novel now takes priority every day during early mornings and late evenings.

Promoting her work and getting inspiration from other writers…

In trying to improve and promote my work, I belong to local and out-of-state writers’ critique groups.  Family and friends who are fervent readers are also helpful with comments, pro and con. A favored novelist and “teacher” today is Peter Szondy, author of The Mustard Seed, “an uplifting story about the overwhelming power of faith.”

One of the writers I have admired through the years and wish I had met is the late Grace Livingston Hill.  An exceptional writer, her stories combined Christian faith and romance. That is what I have tried to do in my book, Whispers of the Past.  Among other writers and influential thinkers, who wouldn’t want a conversation with William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, and Margaret Mitchell? To hear about their journey in the literary world would be both instructive and inspirational.


Lena Roach book cover

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