A Writer by Accident or Design?

Please welcome Jamie Cortland as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. I am still battling pain issues so this intro will be brief. I hope you enjoy meeting Jamie and finding out a little more about her and her writing. Let’s all start with a soothing cup of tea.


JamieCortlandHi, everyone. Jamie here. First I want to thank Maryann for hosting me today, and I do enjoy a nice cup of tea.

Most everyone that I meet asks if I have always been a writer. That was not my ambition. But when I was a young child, my favorite pastime was creating detective and ghost stories and acting them out. Was I preparing to be an actress or a writer?

When I was in my twenties, I wrote articles and was the editor of the newsletters of groups that I belonged to. I’ve always been an avid reader and briefly thought how great it would be to write a novel. But, life was happening too fast. Marriage, children, and a few careers later, I was finally able to pursue my heart’s desire which had now changed. Rather than acting, I wanted to write the stories in which my favorite stars would play.

I began with a creative writing course at a community college, hoping that they would focus upon the novel. That didn’t happen. The course focused upon poetry. Many poems and awards later, I began my first novel which I shredded. After joining a national writers organization and attending many seminars, I decided to try again.

My second novel, Apache Springs nearly died from an unpublished writer’s critique. Somehow, I managed to continue and completed the book successfully. The book won second place for best romance novel at a writer’s conference. My next book, a sci-fi, was a hit at a Film Festival in San Jose, Ca. and I received an offer from an independent film studio to purchase my novel. Afraid of what might happen to my work, I turned the offer down! What I should have done was to have a literary attorney look at the contract.

As of today, I have written seven novels, all published, several non-fiction books and hundreds of poems. I suppose I should be satisfied, but I’m still trying for the NY Times best selling list and why not a movie?

My best advice for new writers is to join a national writers organization,attend the seminars and write, write, write. If there is not a good writer’s group in your area, many good books written by excellent writers are available on how to write. Stephen King and Janet Evanovich are authors that I like who have written books on this subject.

Another book that you may want once you get started is the Writers Market. The Writer’s Digest, is a great magazine is available at most newsstands and in libraries. Be careful of advertisements and of the editors and publishers that may be recommended in these ads. Double check them. It’s best to use a traditional publisher; one that does not charge money to publish you. They have their own editors, graphic designers and formatters on staff. There are some good small -publishers ,too, but be very careful.

I’m temporarily back in Austin, Texas again and need to get back to my work in progress. When I write, no matter where it is, strange things happen. I meet people with the same names and occupations as my characters. Sometimes, that can be scary, especially if I’m writing a suspense novel. For instance, when I wrote about Vin in What Lies Within, he was a builder and a good guy. A few days later, after I began writing about him, I met Vince who in real life was a builder and went by the name of “Vin.” Whether he was a “good guy” too, I don’t know. This has happened book after book.

About eight years ago, I began writing romantic suspense. That was when things really began to get spooky. For instance, when I was writing Never Trust a Stranger, I was in Austin late at night. It was storming outside, and, as most everyone who has ever lived in south central Texas knows, we have some hair-raising storms. I was totally into a terrifying scene when the lights began to flicker. Thunder rumbled; something crashed onto the floor behind me and I was convinced my house was haunted.

We are expecting powerful thunderstorms all week. I’m working on my newest suspense novel. I’m not sure if this apartment is haunted or not, but so far I’ve heard some strange things in the middle of the night. I’m thinking I might want to return to writing romance novels rather than suspense.


Weslynn McCallister, pseudonym, Jamie Cortland was born in Evansville, Indiana and raised in Roswell, New Mexico. Today, she lives in the southwest. A published novelist and an award-winning poet, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Mystery Writers of America, and is a founding member of the Florida Writers Association.

Website  ** Facebook  ** Twitter


What Lies Within 

Dying to Dance

What Lies Within - Jamie Cortland

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top