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Our Writer-in-Residence program gives you guidance from successful writers. During each writer's three-month tenure, Writer's Block will present an excerpt from a Work in Progress, an advice column on writing style called Find Your Voice, as well as an interview with our Writer in Residence.

You can correspond directly with our featured writer, as well as exchange views via live chat in the Writer's Cafe.


Linda Lee Bower is a playwright, director and actress who has appeared on stage venues, in films, and TV. A native of Dallas, Texas, she currently resides in Caracas, Venezuela, where she is working on her new romantic comedy, The Prom Dress. Her one-act play, The Incredible Pregnant Man!, was produced by the Silver Spring Stage One-Act Festival in 1997. Ms. Bower directed this production. Another of her one-act plays, Mother for Hire, was produced at the theater`s 1991 Festival, again with Ms. Bower directing. The first scene from Mother for Hire is available in More One-Acts for College Students. Here, she talks to us about the writing life.

WB: Were you always a writer?

Bower: I have always been a writer, but not until I was in my thirties did I have time to do fiction. Like everyone else, I have to earn a living. I have a good career as a business consultant and technical writer. But my head was full of stories that I wanted to put on paper.

WB: What attracted you to writing plays?

Bower: I am also an actress as an avocation, and I loved watching the process from the first read-through of a play to opening night. Everyone works to bring the script to life-actors, set designer, props, lights, sound-everyone. It seemed so exciting. I wanted to see my ideas brought to life.

WB: Where did your idea for The Incredible Pregnant Man! come from?

Bower: I was auditioning for a play, and in one phase of the audition, the director had us do improvisations. He broke us up into groups of five and told us to develop an improvisation on the theme "The right to be different." In my group we had four women and one man. Someone suggested that we have a situation with a man is in a profession generally reserved for women or where women dominate. Ballet Dancer? Nurse? Nanny? Well, someone came up with the idea to have the man pregnant. So that`s what we did. We four women played his doctor, his mother, his wife, and his girl friend. The doctor broke the news to him that he was pregnant; then one by one, he had to tell the women in his life. We got roars of laughter. And I just had to write it. So I turned it into a play.

WB: Have you ever had a serious attack of writer`s block? What did you do?

Bower: My writer`s block problem has never been stuck for ideas. I always have scads of ideas. I can always get the first scene or so. Then what? Sometimes I sit there and sit there and sit there, and nothing more comes-stuck for words and stuck for structure. I get these inspirations, but I have trouble executing them. I take courses and workshops, and get staged readings of early scenes. When you see real people portraying your characters, you get further insight as to how to make the piece work.

WB: How did you get your work published and staged?

Bower:The Incredible Pregnant Man! and Mother for Hire were both produced first at Silver Spring Stage, where I had worked in various productions as an actress, including Tobacco Road and Nuts. They have an annual One-Act Festival, and I submitted the scripts. I don`t know if being known to them was of any benefit, because the next script I submitted to them, they rejected. Mother for Hire was also produced in New York, where I had simply submitted it in response to a call for scripts for a festival.

WB: Tell us a little about your new project. Is it set in Venezuela?

Bower: My current project, The Prom Dress, is set in the United States, but I suppose it could be adapted to any place where there are proms. I do have an idea for a future project set in Venezuela. Last December, a terrible flood wiped out numerous homes and killed many people in the state of Vargas. Others are missing, among them 150 children. Just the other night a television program put on a memorial for them, entitled Prohibido Olvidar - Never Forget. A play about the anguish of parents searching for their children could be powerful, I think.

WB: What do you think the future holds: more acting, more directing, more writing?

Bower: More of everything, I hope! They feed on each other-each gives me inspiration for the others.

WB: One last piece of advice for aspiring playwrights?

Bower: The old adage: Writing is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration. You have to persevere.

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