Word Fest Hosts Award-Winning Author, Islander Alumna

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – We all have a story to tell, whether it’s an autobiography about our life experiences, a fictional novel full of romance and adventure, a fashion blog, or maybe even a podcast about health and fitness. We want to tell these tales, but we often don’t know where to start. To turn the first page, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the Department of English at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted the inaugural Corpus Christi Word Fest on Nov. 7. Alisa Hope Wagner, `99 Islander alumna and award-winning author, was selected as the keynote speaker. Wagner presented “Intro to Novel Writing” to discuss the heart of fiction writing, explain how it can be applied to the story of everybody’s life, and share advice with aspiring authors. 

“Write every day – do a scene, a chapter, or even just 200 words every day,” said Wagner. “Don’t get overwhelmed by the whole thing, do a little bit every day, and you’ll have a full book before you know it.”

After earning her bachelor’s in English from the Island University, Wagner earned her master’s degree in English, Applied Linguistics from the University of Houston.

“We’re thrilled that Alisa wanted to come back to campus and give back to this community that helped her hone her writing skills. Plus, she was able to share valuable experience and helpful advice to students and aspiring authors who were once in her position,” said Dr. Mark Hartlaub, CLA Dean.

When she is not writing, Wagner is a busy mom of three children, who is also a certified personal trainer and certified in fitness nutrition. Interesting enough, Wagner’s bestselling book is about fitness and nutrition.

“The path to becoming a published author is very difficult and is full of obstacles and rejection,” said Wagner, who has written 16 books and is halfway done with book number 17. “As a writer, you have to keep your sensitivity but also realize that not everybody’s going like your work, but you can’t let rejection stop you from doing what you’re called to do.”

Leann Fox, Navy veteran turned professional blogging coach, opened Word Fest with her lecture on “Writing for the Internet.” During her talk, Fox, who teaches women across the globe how to turn their passion into profit through the online creative process, discussed the differences of writing for the web verses writing a book and the importance of knowing ones’ audience.

Word Fest concluded with a meet and greet with local authors and communicators, who were able to showcase their work. Attendees had the opportunity to mingle with those who have made a career of writing, blogging, podcasting, and YouTubing and purchase their showcased books.