Local ‘Sisters in Crime’ group focuses on writing

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Like artists in other fields, a great writer makes his or her story seem effortless. And, when someone as accomplished in the publishing fields as High Point’s Chris Roerden says, “Everyone is a writer,” it may make all of us feel as if we too can be published and widely read. But Roerden – an accomplished, award-winning book editor – will tell you that it’s not that easy.

But help is out there, including a group of which Roerden is a member, called, “Murder We Write,” (a play off the popular TV series, “Murder She Wrote.”) That’s the name of their local chapter (one of roughly 50, nationwide) of the group, “Sisters in Crime.” That group has more than 3,000 members who all support each other in the often solitary vocation that writing is.

So personal is the process that when member Jennie Spallone got her first book published, “Oh, my God,” she says, “it was like, it was like my baby.”

The local chapter, which has more than two dozen members, provides feedback and seminars to help the writers be better at everything from writing dialogue to writing about the way evidence is gathered at crime scenes.

“The contacts that writers make for their future is priceless,” says Roerden. “The exposure you get from a national organization is incredible.”

The group is not exclusive to women nor crime writers.

“I am not a sister, nor do I write crime books,” says member Marc Fountain. “But I find it's hopeful to be working with authors who are writing things very different to what I'm writing. The benefit being they look at things in ways that I don't look at it, and vice versa.”

They have at least 10, large chapter meetings a year – all free and typically at the High Point Public Library – and support each other, year round. Because, in the end, it’s not about just about seeing your book in print (though that’s always great) but, as Roerden says, “Don't think about getting published, just write - get it down on paper.”

Meet the Sisters (and one brother) in Crime in this edition of the Buckley Report.