How did you find out about Iceland Writers Retreat originally?
I was searching for a writing event in Iceland because I wanted an excuse to visit and this one popped up. I have wanted to go ever since then. (2015)
What were you most looking forward to about the Retreat?
Being in Iceland and meeting writers from all over the world. I feel like international writing events always bring something extra special to the table because we come from every corner of the globe with this one common thing—storytelling.
How has writing influenced your life?
It’s everything to me in so many ways that it’s hard to pinpoint. I wrote my first novel at age 13 after becoming best friends with Ponyboy Curtis and Holden Caufield. I think it was then when I realized that I could escape in any book, whether I was writing it or reading it. It’s made me a storyteller for even the most basic of things.
What do you find to be your biggest challenge in your writing life?
What was your favourite part of the Retreat?
Meeting so many amazing writers. I have lifelong friends now. Of course, all the workshops were amazing too, and the outings, and the pub night, and the Golden Circle Tour—so EVERYTHING!
Are there any exercises or bits of wisdom you heard at the Retreat that you look forward to using in your writing going forward?
Pretty much everything was useful in some way. The thing about craft is that I always find new ways into things that help me right when I need them too. All the workshops I happened to be in really helped me with going deeper into my novels. I also realized that I’m not half bad at descriptions as I thought I was.
Were there any other highlights to your time in Iceland?
Well, I got to see the Northern Lights TWICE. On the recommendation of another writer I signed up for a tour by bus and it was pure magic! I was already booked on the boat tour. I have heard that it’s not common to see them and I saw them two times, that was magical.
I loved the city too and being in the crisp cold weather.
Is there anything else you think would be relevant to share with our followers?
Yes, if you are thinking about going to this, you MUST. It’s beyond amazing in so many ways. I learned so much, had such a magical time that I can’t even put into words, and feel so lucky that I got to experience it. A month later and I’m still on a high from everything there. It’s truly one of the best retreats that I have even been on and I go to at least one writing conference or retreat every month.
I have been writing for more than 20 years in many areas including; film, TV, novels (mainstream fiction), short stories, graphic novels, picture books, work-for-hire and am now focusing on young adult contemporary fiction. I also work as a writing consultant and am launching my signature course, Story Concierge, this fall. www.judaniebean.com The name of my company is a combination of my mother’s name, my name & my first Westie’s nickname-so they can always be with me.