Author Jennifer Weiner ~ Interviewed

With over eleven million copies of her books in print in 36 countries, Jennifer Weiner is one of the best-selling novelists of today and is beloved for her funny, relatable female heroines who feel like your sister, your daughter, your mother, or your best friend. She is the author of GOOD IN BED, IN HER SHOES, which was made into a major motion picture, and CERTAIN GIRLS. Her six books have spent a combined 150 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Weiner is the author of the weblog, “A Moment of Jen,” which she launched in 2002, making her one of the earliest, and most popular authors in the blogosphere. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives in Philadelphia with her family. Find her online at Jennifer Weiner.

Tell us a bit about your current project.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is the story of two girls whose lives are completely entwined until they hit high school, when they go through a painful BFF breakup. Flash forward fifteen years, and the beautiful friend who left town shows up at her ex-best-friend’s door with a terrified look on her face and blood on her sleeve. “Something awful happened,” she says, “and you’re the only one who can help.”

We are all about journeys…unique ones at that. How convoluted was your path to your first published book? Share some highlights or lowlights from your path to publication.

You can read the whole sordid tale on my website, but one of the lowlights included the agent who didn’t think GOOD IN BED should be about a fat girl (“because nobody will buy the film rights!”)

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work, or struggle in a particular area such as writers block or angst driven head-banging against walls? Please share some helpful overcoming hints that you’ve discovered.

Over the years, and now that I’m on my seventh book, I’ve learned my limits in terms of how open I can be to criticism. Gone are the days of obsessing over each Amazon reader review, hitting the “refresh” button like a bulimic bouncing on and off the scale, and feeling my mood rise and fall with my ranking. I swore off Amazon, cold turkey, in the fall of 2002, when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter and didn’t need any more stress, and it was one of the healthiest decisions I’ve ever made.

What mistakes have you made while seeking publication? Or to narrow it down further what’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

I was pretty naïve in my belief that colleagues would be happy for me, and that they wouldn’t regard my success as meaning less success to go around, and less potential success for them. I navigated the road to publication pretty smoothly – I did a lot of reading and research ahead of time, so I knew who to query and what I could expect as I tried to find an agent, then a publisher – but there was a year between selling that first book and its publication that was more stressful and less happy than it could have been.

What is your favorite source for finding story ideas?

My life. My friends. My family. Things I overhear or imagine every day.

Have you ever had one of those awkward writer moments you’d like to share with us, the ones wherein you get “the look” from the normals? Example, you stand at a knife display at the sporting goods store and ask the clerk which would be the best to use to disembowel a six foot man…please do tell.

I am not a fashionista, as anyone who knows me would be happy to tell you, so when I was researching IN HER SHOES, I spent an afternoon in the Saks shoe department, spending way too much time staring at/fondling/photographing the Jimmy Choos and Christian Louboutains. I’m sure the salespeople thought I was some kind of weird fetish girl.

Oh, and speaking of fetishes, as I so often do, the original cover of that book had the exact same image (two pairs of legs in high-heeled sandals) as a book called BEST FETISH EROTICA. I ordered the book from Amazon (I was too ashamed to ask for it at my local bookstore)…and for months, Amazon would give me some very odd “we found that readers who enjoyed this book also liked…” recommendations.

With the clarity of experience what advice would you offer up to the wet-behind-the-ears you if beginning this writing journey today?

Again, I’ve got pages of advice on my website, but the simplest advice is, don’t give up. Getting published is like falling in love – not every guy in the room has to love you, as long as one guy does, and that one becomes your agent. That, and write what’s true to your heart. Don’t try to follow trends or please an imaginary audience. Write the book that’s inside of you.

What event/person has most changed you as a writer? How?

My father was sort of a classically awful father – not physically abusive, but not a nice guy, and with an incredibly dark, mordant sense of humor. For good or for bad, I think he made me a writer, if you buy the idea that people who write fiction are drawn to try to impose order on a fundamentally disordered and chaotic universe. (I should also say that I’m very grateful to my mother, for passing along her sense of equanimity and humor).

What piece of writing have you done that you’re particularly proud of and why? (Doesn’t have to be one of your books or even published.)

My husband and I wrote what I thought was a very funny FAQ list for guests at our wedding (I think the questions included “I forgot to pack condoms! What now?” and “I’ve got this rash,” which we answered by explaining that while there would be doctors at the wedding, please not to bother them and go to the nearest ER).

Do you have a pet peeve having to do with this biz?

There’s a lot of sexism, still, in terms of what books get reviewed and how, and I’m not sure I’d diminish that by calling it a “pet peeve,” which makes it sound kind of cute and lovable. It’s not.

Share a dream or something you’d love to accomplish through your writing career.

I think it’s every writer’s dream, or at least it’s been mine, to have readers say, “Your books made me feel less alone,” and I’m so lucky to have heard that from readers all over the world.

What gives you the greatest writer buzz, makes the trip worth the hassles (besides coffee or other substances, or course )?

I don’t think I ever get over the thrill of walking into a bookstore and seeing something I’ve written there. It never gets old.

What is one of the more unique or strange life experiences that has really given you an extra oomph in your writing?

Heh. Well, when your mother falls in love with another woman at the age of 54 and becomes a just-add-water totally radical and dismayingly clueless lesbian, you can’t really not write about. God would hate you if you didn’t!

Describe your special or favorite writing spot.

I like to write in coffee shops – to just take my laptop, leave the house (and the kids) behind, and be somewhere with noise and music and other people, and scones.

What aspect of writing was the most difficult for you to grasp/conquer? How did you overcome it?

My college had a literary magazine, and I was too chicken to even submit a piece, because I knew, even then, that I wasn’t writing the kind of artsy, imagery-laden, ambiguous literary fiction that was in favor among my peers. When I was writing GOOD IN BED, working full-time at a newspaper, not only did I not show anyone the book, I only told a scant handful of people that I was writing it – I was worried that it was terrible and that, even worse, I’d be that cliché journalist with a novel in a box underneath her bed. Eventually, I got used to the idea that if I was going to be published, that people were actually going to read my stuff, and have opinions about it, and I figured out how much of those opinions I wanted and could stand to take in. It’s been a learning curve, but I think I’m in a good place with it now.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

I wish I could tell you I had elaborate rituals – that I chant, or light candles, or invoke my Muse — but honestly, what I have are two little kids, so I open a new Word file, and that’s about it.

Writing rituals. Do you have to sit somewhere specific, complete a certain number of words, leave something undone to trigger creativity for the next session? Some other quirk you’d like to share?

I find I do my best work when I leave the house – there’s something about the physical act of packing up the laptop, gathering my keys and wallet and heading out the door, that signals to my body or my subconscious that home-time is over and work-time has begun. Nothing too quirky, though, and I can write almost anywhere. I’ve written chunks of each book on planes, in hotel rooms, and, lately, in the minivan waiting for my daughter’s school day to end.

Plot, seat of pants or combination?

Combination: I’ll outline, but then let the story take its course.

Author Interview ~ Judy Christie

A former newspaper reporter and editor, Judy started her writing career as editor of “The Barret Banner” in fifth grade. Now a consultant and author, she spends her time helping people slow down and enjoy life more. The first place she ever drove alone was to the public library. She has kept a journal since she was 9 and still has all of them. Judy has written a series of Hurry Less, Worry Less nonfiction books, loves flea markets and is not much of a cook. Gone to Green is the first of a three-part series about Green, Louisiana. You can learn more about her at judychristie.com.

Welcome to Novel Journey, Judy. It’s a pleasure to speak with a debut author, especially one whose book turns a new page in a publisher’s history. Abingdon Press had never delved into fiction before. How did you hear that they were launching a fiction line, and what made you decide to submit a proposal to them?

I heard through the grapevine (over lunch in Nashville) that they were considering a fiction line. I had enjoyed working with Abingdon on nonfiction projects and thought it would be great to be part of their launch. I also knew they would be encouraging partners on my new adventure.

Your book is the flagship for this new line. How are you handling the added pressure?

Thanks for reminding me … the butterflies in my stomach are rather large. I didn’t expect the nervousness – not only at being Abingdon’s launch novelist but also at being a fiction writer overall. I have great respect for the people at Abingdon and heartfelt gratitude for their choosing Gone to Green. How amazing is it to be part of something new like this? I am working hard on my end to get the word out and trying to remember my own advice to “worry less.”

How much marketing has been done in preparation for the launch of this book? What have you found has worked particularly well?

I’ve been marketing as much as I can – and always wish I could do more. Even though I sometimes wonder what Eudora Welty would say about Facebook and Twitter, I feel strongly that authors have to spread the word about their books.

Abingdon has hired a publicist to work with me and done a steady amount of marketing on their end, thank goodness. On my end, I’ve tried everything from e-newsletters to a book trailer to having “Green News-Item” pencils imprinted. I depend on the amazing support of friends and family to spread the word, and that probably has the greatest impact – and gives me much-needed courage.

I also accost strangers on the street, including Billy Bob Thornton’s mom, who sat next to me on a flight to L.A. not long ago, and a woman in the waiting room where I was about to have a root canal.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Gone to Green is about a corporate journalist at a big newspaper who winds up owning a twice weekly in rural North Louisiana. She expects this charming little town full of friendly people, but Green is shabby without the chic. She encounters prejudice and financial corruption – and meets some great characters along the way.

It’s a story about a woman changing a town and the town changing the woman and is the first of a three-part series set in Green.

How did you come up with this story? Was there a specific ‘what if’ moment?

My years in newsrooms large and small and my life as a southerner shaped this story. The what-if moment came several years before I actually started on the book, and I began to store ideas in my brain. I jotted observations and clipped articles and watched the premise unfold.

For decades, I knew I wanted to write a novel set in the South. I am always thinking about book ideas, carry a notebook with me everywhere and keep a variety of journals.

Tell us a little about your main character and how you developed him/her:

I got the main character started, and she developed herself – which is part of the theme of Gone to Green. I enjoy knowing and reading about strong women who struggle on life’s journey – and grow along the way. That was my goal for Lois. I thought about what her house looked like, what was in her office, what she snacked on and how she would react to a person or situation. I wrote a profile of her to get going, and then her personality took over.When I began, I did not know if the book would be in first-person or third-person, but Lois has a strong, clear voice, and it quickly became clear that the story would be told in first-person.
And, no, she isn’t me!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Least?

Most: I absolutely loved getting drawn into the story, inventing a town and people and watching them take shape. My husband would call my office and ask, “How are things in Green?” When a character or plot twist surprised me, I was giddy. The joy I got out of writing this book is almost embarrassing.

Least: Not knowing what I was doing. I had been a successful journalist and nonfiction writer and suddenly I was embarking on a different path. I didn’t know what POV was or an ARC or even back-story …

What made you start writing?

Is it too corny to say I was born to write a novel? I love words. I love books. Like many writers, I’ve been writing since I was a child. I really wanted to capture a slice of life in the South that I think is under appreciated and to write about how most people have something special to offer the world.

What does your writing space look like?

Most of Gone to Green was written on an old laptop on a TV tray at a little cabin on Lake Bistineau in Louisiana. That was a great place to focus and tackle the challenge of writing a novel.

However, I needed something closer to home, so I now have a fantastic writing space/consulting office – a small standalone cottage with a built-in corner desk, a view of our backyard and a porch with a one-person porch swing. One wall is filled with books – including all my favorite how-to-write books – and a “Bionic Woman” lunch box and an old typewriter. My desk is cluttered with notebooks, dictionaries, file folders and a box of giant index cards where I constantly write possibilities for future novels, dialogue, characters, etc.

I have a quote from Anna Quindlen taped to my printer: “… Well-written stories with interesting characters manage to find an audience.” And perched on my desk a quote from Kimberly Willis Holt: “The only one who can keep you from writing is you.”

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

I try to take my own advice every single day – slow down; enjoy life more. I sit in the porch swing, walk in a nearby park, go to used bookstores, and scout flea markets for primitive antiques, preferably painted green. And, of course, I read, and write in my journal. I have a fun husband and great friends and family, am always up for a good meal and a movie, and have discovered “30 Rock.”

What’s the most difficult part of writing for you (or was when you first started on your novel journey)?

Getting started on my first novel took me way too long. When I turned 50, I promised myself I would finish a novel before I turned 51. Why didn’t I do that when I turned 30 or 40?

When I sat down and started Gone to Green, I was surprised at how scared I was. I have this very clear memory of sitting at my laptop and being totally frozen. I had all these grand plans to write novels, and I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Once I got going it was quite a lot of fun.

The other challenge: Weaving fiction writing into my schedule. Now that I’ve seen how much I enjoy this, I want to do it all the time.

What message do you hope readers gain from your novel?

This is a tough question because I think individual readers take unique messages from novels, depending on where they are in life. I’m quite curious about what readers will say they got from the book. I do hope it encourages readers to see life as an interesting adventure and to take a leap of faith or two along the way.

Briefly take us through your process of writing a novel—from conception to revision.

It’s fun to look back at this:

Finally committed to write a novel. Chose one idea from the tons floating around in my brain and focused. Let it gel, taking notes when details hit me. Decided how the book would start – and basically how it would end. Wrote a plot summary and profiles of key characters. Also, wrote a detailed description of the setting – the town of Green, La.

Sat down and started writing. Began to flounder and read Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. Wrote notes on large note cards and shuffled them around. Put more words on paper. Re-read and revised. Asked two friends to read it for me and incorporated their feedback. Sent it to my agent. Took to heart her excellent ideas.

What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?

I wish I had known how much I could learn from a writers’ conference — about the craft and the business of being a published writer (pitching to an editor, for example).

And I really wish I had developed a consistent fiction writing discipline much sooner, made it a habit like brushing my teeth or eating lunch.

Tell us what we have to look forward to in the future. What new projects are you working on?

Next up: Novels 2 & 3 in the Green series.

I’m nearly finished with No. 2: Goodness Gracious Green, due out in 2010. Green Through and Through will be out in 2011. I am crazy about Lois and the other characters in the Green series, and I hope readers will be, too.

I have several other fiction ideas I am constantly prioritizing in my brain or journal, and I certainly hope they’ll appear on the heels of the Green series. (Please go to your library or friendly bookseller and ask them what they have new from that Judy Christie woman.)

On the nonfiction front, my Hurry Less, Worry Less series continues, with Hurry Less, Worry Less at Work out in Fall 2009 and Hurry Less, Worry Less for Families out in Spring 2010.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Sit down and write. No one else in the world has your voice. Pick a project that matters to you and get started on it. As my agent says, “Guard your writing time.”

Allie Pleiter ~ Guest Blogger

An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools, and finding new ways to avoid housework She grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University, spent fifteen years in the field of professional fundraising, and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois The “dare from a friend” to begin writing nine years ago has given rise to a career spanning two parenting books, six novels including the multi-nominated MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website or her knitting blog.

Dialogue Superpowers
Characters make us love books, and in my opinion dialogue makes us love characters Strong dialogue is memorable; everyone wants to be the hero who says just the right thing at just the right time You know when you think of that great comeback thirty minutes after the argument? One of the best things about being a writer is that you can go back and put it in (ah, if only real life worked that way)I recently gave a workshop on Dynamic Dialogue at the Romance Writers of America Conference, and here are some basic points I shared there on how to give your dialogue strength and pizzaz.

  • Characters in stress will talk differently

Use regressed dialogue–shortened, simplified sentences, blurts, etc–to show your character’s growing tension The higher the stress, the choppier the dialogue.

  • One comment can say volumes about a character

Use what I call the “info dump” a dumb question, telling comment, or use of an endearment to sum up a character instantly. You know loads about a woman who’d call someone “dumpling,” don’t you?

  • Dialogue can establish a premise fast

Improv comics know the right sentence can set your scene “How much longer till the bus comes? I’m freezing?” Tells us as much as several sentences of description.

  • Lies reveal truths

What is your character willing to lie for? Why? Remember that a lie–especially a noble one such as a lie to protect someone he loves–can show the deep inner workings of your character. Particularly when your readers know the real truth.

  • Blurts do the same

What your character says when they’re not thinking can often show their inner feelings and motivations If they’re under too much stress to think or guard their thoughts, the resulting dialogue can offer tremendous insights Even if they try to deny it later.

  • Make your last line count

Got a great line? Put it where it will be remembered Ends of chapters or ends of books can make us fall in love all over again with the characters you’ve created.

  • Surprise your readers with a line they didn’t expect

Set up a kiss and give your reader a punch Set up a fight and let them fall into each other’s arms Human beings often say one thing and think another–use that foible to give your reader a big, entertaining surprise.There you have it Dialogue has the potential to do so much more than deliver information Use it’spowers to show off the fabulous characters you’ve built–your readers will love you for it.
BLUEGRASS BLESSINGS
BOOK 3 IN THE KENTUCKY CORNERS SERIES BY ALLIE PLEITER
ISBN 13#: 978-0-373-87538-2

Everyone in Middleburg, Kentucky lines up for baker Dinah Hopkins’s cinnamon rolls Everyone except her handsome new landlord, Cameron Rollings The jaded city man doesn’t like anything about small-town life–from the fresh air to her fresh-baked snickerdoodles And he clearly considers Dinah as quirky as her eccentric oven The way to Cameron’s heart is not through his toned stomach But the Lord led him to Kentucky Corners for a reason And Dinah plans to help him count his bluegrass blessings.

Author Interview – Lynnette Bonner

The daughter of missionaries, Lynnette was born and raised in Malawi, Africa. After graduating high school from Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kenya, she attended Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington where she met her husband, Marty. They married in 1992 and moved to Pierce, Idaho a few years later.

During the time they lived in Idaho, while studying the history of their little town, Lynnette was inspired to begin the Shepherd’s Heart Series with Rocky Mountain Oasis.

Marty and Lynnette have four children, and currently live in Washington where Marty pastors a church and Lynnette works from home.

NOTE: One person will be chosen at random from those who comment to receive a free e-copy of Rocky Mountain Oasis.

Tell us about your latest project.

Can that be “projects”? I’ve never been a writer who can only write one story at a time. Currently I’m working on the 3rd book in The Shepherd’s Heart series, Fair Valley Refuge. The first two in that series are contracted to OakTara. I’m also working on a romantic fantasy, two contemporary romances, and another historical romance set in Africa. So many stories, not enough time to write.

My first novel, Rocky Mountain Oasis, just released with OakTara. I started writing that book during a time in my life when I was under a lot of stress. And for a long time I wondered if God had given me that story just to get me through those few years. The second book, High Desert Haven, is due out in 2010. So I’m currently working on promoting Rocky Mountain Oasis, and I’ll also be working on doing final edits to High Desert Haven.

We love to hear about your journey to publication.

I always loved fiction and would read for hours in high school. But I didn’t start writing until about 1993 after my first son was born. Even then, I didn’t seriously pursue the craft until probably 1999.

I completed Rocky Mountain Oasis around 2000 and shopped it to several (okay, about a million) publishing houses and agents. If they were in Sally Stuart’s Christian Writer’s Market Guide and said they were looking for historical fiction, they probably got a proposal from me. Then the rejection letters started trickling in. Publishing houses said, “Unfortunately, we find we must decline the opportunity to publish this project.” Agents said, “With great regret, I must pass on this opportunity….” And I began to realize the mountain I was attempting to climb.

Then in late 2001 a small e-book publisher said they wanted to publish the book! I was thrilled. The contract was good and didn’t require me to sign my first born away, so I signed with dollar signs dancing in my head – after all, the internet was booming! Surely my wonderful story would take off and I would soon be known world-wide, right?

Well, ahem, I made about 90 cents before the company went out of business a couple months later, and those were sales to my neighbor down the street and my
brother, I think.

When the e-book publisher went belly-up, I was back to square one. By that time, I was homeschooling my two oldest kids and had a toddler to boot. Writing got put on the back burner. 2003 ushered in the birth of our daughter and in 2004 we moved from Idaho to Washington. I was still homeschooling and not writing. But through all those years I just kept praying about Rocky Mountain Oasis. I told the Lord the book was in His hands (I’m pretty sure He already knew this.) And that if He had given it to me just to help me through those tough, stressful years, I would try to be content with that. But I kept asking Him to direct my steps where the book was concerned. I specifically remember praying that if the Lord wanted this book to be published He would need to “drop a publisher in my lap” because I didn’t have time to shop it around again.

My mom is also a writer and she called me up one day in early 2007 to tell me about a new publisher on the scene, OakTara. One of her critique partners, Linda Reinhardt, had just gotten a contract with them. I checked them out and they had super simple submission guidelines, so I zipped up my file and fired it off to them. (Problem – their guidelines didn’t call for zipped files.) By December I still hadn’t heard from them – and I thought, “Well, I’ll try sending it to them with the files unzipped. Duh! So at midnight on December 23rd, 2007 I fired off another cover letter with my now almost 8 year old baby attached. They were the only publisher I’d submitted to in 6 years.

Since OakTara’s guidelines at the time said to expect to hear from them within 8 weeks of submission, I pretty much gave up when I hadn’t heard anything by April. Then on June 9th, 2008 I got the email that stopped my heart for a couple beats before it started pounding again like a herd of wild children. (Ooops, horses! I meant horses.) Words cannot describe the thrill of reading, “Rocky Mountain Oasis is precisely the type of novel OakTara is interested in — quality fiction, from a fresh perspective – and we’d like to offer you the opportunity to join OakTara’s growing stable of authors.” I didn’t come off that high for several days.

What is one weakness you have as a writer and what do you do to overcome it?

Oh, wow. There are so many, how do I pick just one? Hmmm… my biggest weaknesses are probably grammar and spelling. I get so into the story that I forget to pay attention to the rules sometimes. I overcome them by surrounding myself with critique partners who help me in that area and using spell-check and http://www.dictionary.com a lot.

What is one strength you have as a writer and to what do you attribute your success in this particular area?

I’ve been told I write a great story with strong dialogue, and if that’s true, I attribute much of my success to prolific reading of great authors. I also try to let a story sit for awhile after I’ve completed it, then I go back and reread it and make corrections where I don’t feel the dialogue is smooth, or the story-line needs tweaking.

If you could go back to the young writer you were when you were just beginning, what advice would you give yourself?

Well, in many respects I still feel like a young writer just beginning.

But one thing I would tell myself would be to keep writing to the finish, even through all the rejections.

I didn’t complete my second novel until after RMO was accepted. Although I started plenty of new stories as ideas struck.

What’s one publicity tip you can share that you’ve gotten a good response with in promoting your work?

I’d have to say, “Be bold.” Publicity opportunities don’t generally come knocking on your door. You have to go looking for them, and ask for help from others in promoting your book. I think sometimes we have this idea that it’s not “real” publicity unless it is offered to us on a silver platter. I know that asking for help with promotion (from a blog owner, for instance) isn’t always comfortable, but authors are a tight group and are generally very willing to help out another writer.

What do you do to improve as a writer?

I frequent

http://www.christianwriters.com – lots of great information there, I peruse writing blogs of all kinds – from agents to newby writers. I study writing books. I read books in my genre and books not in my genre. I try to attend a writing conference each year. And I do plenty of rewriting.

What are a few of your favorite books not written by you?

I’m a fiction junkie. I cut my reading teeth on the Peter Rabbit stories by Thornton W. Burgess. In high school, I read just about every Christian fiction book I could get my hands on – but the Thoene’s books stand out as my favorites from those years. Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion trilogy, Jeanette Windle, Linda Windsor and Linda Chaikin’s early works are all favorites of mine, too.

Have you received a particularly memorable reader response?

As of the writing of this interview, the book is still not out. But I remember one lady who read one of the early versions of the story telling me that she cried at one spot in my book. It amazed me that I had been able to create such depth of emotion in her.

More recently, I had someone read the excerpt from Rocky Mountain Oasis on my website and email to ask me when it would be out because they couldn’t wait to read the rest of the story. That was a very nice feeling.

Do you have a pet peeve to do with this business?

I suppose if I have a pet peeve it is that it is so hard for writers, even good writers, to get their foot in the door. But, as with any business, it takes dedication and perseverance to prove that you are serious, and I don’t think that is such a bad thing.

What’s your favorite part of being a writer/least?

My favorite part is that I get to tell stories. What better job is there in the world than that? My least favorite part is that I can’t only tell stories, I also have to promote them.

What has surprised you most about this industry?

I don’t know that much surprises me in this industry. I am intrigued by the speed at which publishing is changing. When I first started submitting Rocky Mountain Oasis, every publisher wanted paper copies and SASE’s. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a publisher that wants you to submit via snail mail. With the advent of the Kindle and other e-book readers, and bookstores struggling, and POD publishing on the rise, I think there are many more big changes in the near future. I’m excited to be along for the ride.

Advice to aspiring authors?

Of course it goes without saying that you need to work hard to make your writing the best it can be.

But my biggest bit of advice to aspiring authors would be to never give up. The publisher that just rejected your manuscript might not even have had the time to read it. They may be full up on your particular genre. The editor might have eaten a whole pizza the night before and not slept well. You just never know why your piece was rejected. Don’t give up.

Also, I highly recommend getting a good critique partner. There’s nothing like having someone else who understands just what you’re going through to encourage you and/or give you a kick in the behind when you need it.

Parting words?

I’d like to give a big thanks to Novel Journey for giving me the opportunity to be here today. I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey with your readers.

Also, I’d like to give away an electronic copy of Rocky Mountain Oasis to one commenter on today’s post. It will be the full book and you’ll get instant gratification because you won’t have to wait for it to arrive in the mail! You can read more about the book here.