Each year one National Federation of Press Women member is honored as Communicator of Achievement. It is the top honor given by the organization. Affiliates select a member to represent their organization and then a national panel of judges select the recipient. Loretta Hall of New Mexico was honored as the 2016 recipient. She is serving at the affiliate president and is an outstanding writer and author. Her eighth book is at the publisher now. Meet another of our unique and unbelievable NFPW members.
Name: Loretta Hall
City and State: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Affiliate and any leadership positions: New Mexico Press Women (Zia Book Award Chair, 2012-2014; Treasurer, 2014-2016; President, 2016-2018)
Years a member of NFPW: 5
Tell us a little about you.
I’m a freelance writer and nonfiction book author. At first, I wrote articles for a variety of consumer and trade magazines. My first article, “Have Phone, Will Travel,” was published by Home Office Computing in June 1990. It was a guide to shopping for a cell phone in those early days when they came in the forms of bricks, bag phones, and car phones. After answering an ad in a civil engineering newsletter, I was assigned to write three chapters for a book called When Technology Fails. That opened the door for assignments for writing chapters in books on various topics published by what was then called Gale Research. Eventually, that evolved into commissions to write two books for their UXL imprint.
I continued to write articles, mostly for trade and professional journals in the civil engineering and construction industries. But I found that I really enjoyed writing books. My eighth book is with the publisher now, and it should be available around the end of this year. Since the mid-2000s, my interest in manned spaceflight has been rekindled. As a teenager, I was enthralled with our progress toward landing men on the moon. Now, with the emergence of the commercial space industry, that fascination has again captured me. My last four books are about space exploration, its history, and its future.
Any career advice you would give?
For freelance writers, I would suggest focusing on trade publications or niche-market magazines rather than the big-name consumer magazines. It’s much easier to get regular assignments that way, and the pay can be comparable.
For aspiring authors, I’d caution against expecting significant income from writing books. If income is your goal, keep writing for magazines. Or write “works for hire” for educational publishers; you won’t get royalties, but you’ll earn several thousand dollars for each book. Of course, there are other reasons for writing books, and I love doing it.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to be more athletic. I’ve never been particularly good at sports, and I’m more inclined to sit at my computer or curl up with a book.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
In the world’s largest English-language library!
What book are you reading?
I enjoy two kinds of reading. For fiction, I choose mysteries and legal thrillers. Currently, I’m reading The River Is Dark by Joe Hart. For nonfiction, I usually pick something about space exploration. I just ordered a copy of The Science of Interstellar, which was written by the science advisor for the film.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I spent two days learning to drive an open-wheel, formula race car on a road track.
Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?
In our short-attention-span, sound-bite society, I believe it is more important than ever to promote good journalism and work toward a more informed public.
Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.
My primary website is AuthorHall.com; from there, you can find others that relate to some of my books.