When you’ve been writing for as many years as I have, you meet a lot of people at a lot of different places. Megan and I met years ago at an ACFW conference. Back then, neither of us were published. We were both eagerly learning what it would take to make it, and this year we both celebrated the release of our debut novels! I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you to Megan, and to share in her excitement as she spreads the word about her new book.
Megan, welcome! Thanks for appearing on my blog!
Thanks so much for letting me stop by!
What genre do you write? How did you pick it?
My published debut is a historical romance. However, my very first story I wrote was a dystopian YA. At the time, I was reading tons from that genre, and I had just finished one that, more or less, made fun of God. It didn’t sit well. I woke up the next morning and decided I was going to try and write a story in the genre I liked. One that gave glory to God. Since then, I’ve done regular YA, fantasy, adult contemporary, and, of course, historical. They range from inspirational to sweet mainstream.
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
I’m a bit of a mood reader. I’ll choose anything from YA to fantasy to contemporary to historical. (Do you see a pattern here?) Pretty much anything that has a bit of a love thread. I’ll even throw in some suspense and mystery every now and again. If I like the characters, and the story is good, I’ll give it a try.
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript (published or not)?
My first story, that YA dystopian I mentioned earlier, took me about three or four months to finish the first draft. It went on to final in a few contests, including ACFW’s Genesis. However, it will more than likely retire on my computer. It will always hold a special piece of my heart because it’s the story where I learned and fell in love with writing.
Have your follow-up novels been easier or harder to write? Why do you think that is?
I think maybe in a way a bit harder. There’s more pressure. It’s no longer a “I’m just having fun” kind of time and seeing where my mind wants to wonder. It’s more of “I’m going to my job” feel when I sit down to write. But on the other side, I understand better now the technical aspects and how to get from start to finish quicker.
What’s surprised you the most about the book-publishing process?
How there’s not a first-time-author-how-to book. There really needs to be one. It’s all the little things and little questions you face all at once. You’re expected to know things you won’t actually come across until after you’ve published (at least for me.) I would have loved some kind of checklist or pamphlet. 😊
What’s been the most challenging part of getting a book published?
The whole waiting patiently thing and not trying to unlock doors by breaking through a window. Proverbs 3:5 is my life verse for a reason, and it for sure applies in my writing journey too. Sometimes all I can do is trust in God’s timing, breathe, and keep writing the next story.
What’s your favorite part of the publishing experience?
Going to my local Barnes and Nobles and finding my book on the shelf was pretty sweet.
For learning the writing craft, which do you prefer – books or conferences? Why?
Both would be the easiest answer. Each plays a good, yet different role. But I also want to add in here blogs and contests helped me too. I think I learn best by trial and error. So, early on, contests allowed me to see what was working, what maybe wasn’t. They also allowed me to grow a thicker skin, and taught me to determine between a helpful comment versus someone’s opinion that may or may not be a good fit for my overall story.
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?)
I’ve been to ACFW a few times, and I’ve been once to RWA’s annual conference too. I probably enjoyed ACFW better because of its “atmosphere.” It just feels like home. A place where I fit. However, RWA has a wider selection of classes. I’m heading to a smaller conference in November so I’m anxious to see where it fits in. As a first conference, I’d probably recommend ACFW. I’m hoping to get back there soon, and I’m also itching to branch out and attend a few others as well.
If you could recommend one writing book, what would it be? Why?
The writing book that I go back to the most is Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. It’s not even an actual “writing” book, at least not one for novelists. However, the how and why of story structure is all there. And I use the “beat sheets”—the how to set up a story—a lot for new plot ideas. The book uses movies I know as examples, and I just “get” it. The wording and layout is very Megan-user friendly.
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?
Funny you should ask that question … actually, one of my unpublished Christmas stories has been picked up by a producer. (You are the first public people I’ve told!!!) There’s still a long way to go with the whole process, but I would love it if this Christmas story would make it through all the hoops and onto the big screen one day.
To see my published historical as a movie would be equally as awesome, or let’s face it, any of my stories. As far as lead roles, I think I better not say in case it goes to production, and they cast someone I don’t pick. 😊
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
My historical is in a collection of mail-order bride stories. Having many, many preachers in my family, I knew who I wanted my hero to be. The rest of the plot came by asking myself these questions: Why would a preacher need a mail-order bride? And why would that cause a stir in his congregation? That’s how Perfect for the Preacher was “born.”
What kind of woman would answer an advertisement and marry a stranger?
Escape into the history of the American West along with nine couples whose relationships begin with advertisements for mail-order brides. Placing their dreams for new beginnings in the hands of a stranger, will each bride be disappointed or will some find true love?
Perfect for the Preacher by Megan Besing
Fresh from seminary, Amos Lowry believes marriage will prove to his skeptical congregation that he’s mature. If only his mail-order bride wasn’t an ex-saloon girl, and worse, pregnant.
Megan Besing adores reading, writing, and reviewing stories with happily-ever-afters. Her own writings have received many awards, including being a multi-category finalist in ACFW’s Genesis and a winner of MCRW’s Melody of Love contest. Her debut, Perfect for the Preacher, released in Barbour’s Mail-Order Brides Novella Collection.