My interview with John Lamkin is with someone I’ve known. He is on the Board of Directors with me for the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association. John is our Global Membership Chairman and he does a great job. Even though we’ve met through tele-conferences and e-mails, it seems like I know John well. John is an established writer and photographer and I think you will enjoy what he has to say.
Maralyn: Please introduce yourself: provide some background, i.e.where are you from, how did you start writing, is there anything specifically interesting about you? If you had another career first, how/why did you switch to writing?
John: I’m originally from Southern California. Now I live near Taos, New Mexico part of the year and the rest, when I’m not traveling, on a beautiful lake in Mexico’s southern Yucatan Peninsula. My beat is mostly, but not exclusively, Latin America.
Maralyn: What type of writing do you write?
John: Creative non-fiction including travel, wine, food and gear.
Maralyn: What can you share with others as to important tips or suggestions for other writers on writing and finding outlets for articles?
John: Some good sources of information on markets, writing, marketing and the technical aspect of the new media are: IFWTWA’s Press Pass, Media Kitty, Travelwriters.com, KnowledgeWebb, Travel Blog Exchange, Travel-Writers-Exchange, Media Bistro. Google these and other writing related search words for more information.
Maralyn: How did you get started writing?
John: Little by little – poetry, some prose, then found that I liked to travel and to write to travel.
Maralyn: Do you also blog or have a website?
John: Yes, see below.
Maralyn: Do you query for assignments before you write or after the article is done?
Maralyn: Can you comfortably recommend any publications looking for freelancers?
John: Boots ‘n All, Matador, GoNomad, International Living, IFWTWA’s Global Writes, Brave New Traveler, EscapeArtist and several of the publications listed in question 4. above are good sources of market information.
Maralyn: Are you a freelancer or on staff?
John: Mostly I freelance, but am a regular contributor on some publications.
Maralyn: What’s the most difficult part of your job?
John: Time scheduling.
Maralyn: What is your approach to research?
John: I do research—mostly on the Internet first then further research ‘on the road.’
Maralyn: Have you learned any inside tips along the way you could recommend to writers starting out?
John: Marketing oneself and one’s work is very important. A blog and/or website are good marketing tools. Learn a little about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Microsoft Live will give you a domain name, website and email free. Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are also good tools. Take writing workshops. Join organizations—if you are interested in food, wine and/or travel writing, join the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA).
Maralyn: Have you considered writing a book? If so, could you tell us about the subject?
John: My upcoming book is about the undiscovered Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It’s a non-fiction exploration of little known and seen places and aspects of the area, not a guidebook, but includes some resource information and maps.
I’ve spent much time traveling in the Peninsula, so the book is mainly experiential. I take the reader to many obscure places such as:
- An island where Mayan royalty were buried and which later became a base for Capt. Jean Lafitte and other pirates to attack shipping lanes in the Gulf and to the small village where Jean’s brother lived and died, where some residents still bear the Lafitte name;
- To a very unusual prison which has had no violence in over ten years and even has a spa;
- To the caves where families have made Panama style hats for generations;
- To small Mayan villages where the language is still spoken and the old traditions still kept;
- To the jungles where Mayan shamans still practice their art;
- And, to old haciendas, some in ruins, some still working and some now luxury resorts known only to the rich and famous.
The book will instill a sense of adventure in the “armchair traveler” and will provide the adventurous traveler with the information necessary to live these adventures. It will be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others in 2011.
Maralyn: Do you Facebook or Twitter? If so, do you find them effective?
John: Yes, more and more useful as time goes by.
Maralyn: Where can readers learn more about you.
John: Website http://TravelWritingAndPhotography.com
Travel Journalist & Photographer
Board Member & Global Membership Chair of the
International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association
Toll free Fax & Voicemail 877.520.4890
Google Voice +1 575 737 8275
SkypeIn Phone +1 575 613 1005
Look for my new book about the undiscovered Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico (available from Amazon.com & others in 2011).
Thanks for the interview John. You were most helpful. If there are other writers who would like to be interviewed, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request author/writer questions or blogger/writer questions. For bloggers, my preference is for those who focus on food, wine or travel. However, I’m open to thinking outside the box.
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Books By Hills Success With Writing Where & What in the World
Member: Society of Professional JournalistsFinalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,”