Hi, and thanks for your willingness to appear on my blog! To get started, please tell us what genre you write. How did you pick it?
I write Inspirational Romantic Suspense. And, honestly, I just kind of naturally fell into it. I didn’t really realize as a newbie that’s what I was writing until I met and pitched to an agent at my first conference. I made all the mistakes we are told not to make, including being vague on my genre in my pitch. The very helpful agent quickly named my genre romantic suspense, and that’s where I’ve been ever since.
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
I love to read all genres. I read both Christian and mainstream fiction (though nothing too gore-filled or curse-filled). I’d say my favorite of all, though, is a blend of adventure and romance. Think Indiana Jones or National Treasure-type books.
How long did it take you complete your first manuscript (published or not)?
I wrote the manuscript in about a year, spent another five or six months editing, and then another two or so working with Mantle Rock to get it polished up.
Have your follow-up novels been easier or harder to write? Why do you think that is?
Much easier! The first one was such a steep learning curve, and I was still so filled with self-doubt. I just needed one person (not related to me) to believe in me and tell me I could do this. I met Kathy Cretsinger with Mantle Rock, and she believed in me and my voice. The boost of confidence I received was amazing. Not only that, but I have a system now. I know how many words I can write in a month and what to look for while I’m writing to make it easier to edit.
What’s surprised you the most about the book-publishing process?
The speed at which it happened. I signed a contract in early 2017 and my book was in my hands by November!
What’s been the most challenging part of getting a book published?
As a newbie with an unpublished novel, hearing all these tales of ‘do this, don’t do that,’ it was so discouraging. There were times I believed I’d never make it, and I wanted to give up. But, my advice to anyone still in that struggling phase is this: Find one person who believes in you and listen to them, even if that one person is your spouse or close friend. Then, do not give up until you find one person in the writing industry who believes in your voice. I promise, once you find that one industry person, you will feel confident enough to make it happen.
What’s your favorite part of the publishing experience?
Holding my book, with my name on the cover, in my hands. I’ve dreamed of that moment all my life. It was one of the most fulfilling moments I’ve ever experienced.
For learning the writing craft, which do you prefer – books or conferences? Why?
Both are completely invaluable. Conferences are wonderfully encouraging and great for creating lasting connections and friendships. It’s almost like church for the writer. We, as Christians, need church to get energized, refilled, and for the fellowship with believers. As writers, we need that too. Conferences provide not only emotional encouragement, but priceless information and advice from experienced professionals.
Books are absolutely a part of my writing regimen. I am constantly growing my writing-craft-related book collection. I read anything I can on the topic. I never know where I will find a gem to help hone my craft. I have 22 writing-craft books on my shelf or in my Kindle, and many, many more in my Amazon wish list!
If you could recommend one writing conference, what would it be? Why? (If you haven’t attended one, which one would you like to attend? Why?)
Kentucky Christian Writers Conference last year was amazing! I learned so much!
If you could recommend one writing book, what would it be? Why?
As a struggling newbie needing encouragement, I read Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing. I have to admit there were a few words I needed to skip over, but it was incredibly encouraging. As far as books to help hone my craft, that’s hard to choose just one. I love How to Swat the Killer Bes Out of Your Writing by Nancy Owens Barnes and, especially, Structuring Your Novel, by K. M. Weiland. Weiland’s book changed the way I look at plotting and story structure (for the better).
If you could pick any of your novels to be made into a movie, which one would you pick? Who would you want to play the lead roles, and why?
I think Callum’s Compass would make a great movie! But I have no idea who I would choose to play the lead roles (ha!). Maybe some of your readers could help me out with that?
Thank you so much for being here today and sharing a bit of your process with us!
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