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Before you were published, what were you doing to scratch the writing itch?
I have always written stories. Even as a little girl, I made up stories, usually about knights and princesses, and wrote them down in little notebooks or typed them up in story programs and made bad graphics to go with them. I’ve always been drawn to writing and creative media including roleplaying games and fandom. Recently though, I’ve spent most of my time doing academic writing. Even though academic writing is completely different than writing fiction, it does scratch that writing itch through creation and research.
How did you end up getting your first book published?
Through fandom I met several people who worked in the publishing industry either as writers or as editors. They gently pushed me in the right direction. They gave me a ton of pointers on the mechanics of everything, like writing summaries and formatting the manuscript. They were instrumental in not only cheerleading me while I was writing Twelve Tasks, but also in just figuring out the whole process. I owe a lot of thanks to those folks and it’s why I’m very open to answering questions from other writers who are interested in how it all works.
Was the process anything like you imagined? What fit the dream? What was different/surprised you?
A little. I knew that once I submitted the manuscript somewhere that I would have to wait a little bit for a response, which was nerve wracking by the way. After that though, I didn’t know what to expect! It was kind of an exciting and anxiety-ridden experience the first time through. My favorite part was being able to specify what I thought I would like my cover to look like and then picking from the drafts. That was awesome. The part that I was less enthused about was the necessary evil of editing. I was terrified of opening the very first edited copy I received. Once I got into it though, it wasn’t too bad, and it’s become easier as I’ve written more.
How long did it take you to write your first published book?
I worked on it over a long period of time while I was working full time and attending school part time. I think all together it took about 4-5 months.
What’s your advice to unpublished authors trying to get their work read?
Write. Just do it. Practice. Create. Surround yourself with individuals whom you trust that are going to cheerlead you but also critique you. I know it’s difficult to take criticism, but that’s the only way to get better. Having people read your work and then just tell you it’s great is good for the ego, but not so much for improving. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve managed to find a group of writers who are willing to help me out and in exchange, I help them.
Also, read. Keep reading. Read the books that you were made to read in college and look at not only the story but the construction. Read in your genre. Read outside of your genre. I know sometimes it is hard to find the time, but make time for it.
Lastly, network. This is something I’m still working on myself. I think having an active social media presence even before your work comes out will be beneficial instead of trying to catch up after the fact. This is something I struggle with but I’ve gotten better with utilizing Twitter
Is writing not as fun/as fun/more fun once you have your first book published?
I don’t think that it’s so much my level of enjoyment that has changed, but the idea of writing and the act of writing has definitely changed for me. I still love to do it. I still love to think of plots and characters and come up with different ways to tell a story. It’s still writing but with an added facet. I’ve become more focused and more organized. I plan time to write and make myself do it, even when I’m not feeling it. It has changed from a fun hobby for me now, and has become more like a fun job.
What’s next up for you?
Well, my second novella just came out from Dreamspinner Press in December. It is a Christmas story in the Heartwarming collection called The Trouble With Elves. Also, I have a third work coming out with Dreamspinner in the spring called Clockwork Horizon. It’s a steampunk novella which is a genre that I’ve always wanted to write in and finally managed to gather the courage to try. After that, I plan on finishing a few projects I have started, one of them a longer story that I’ve been working on for several months.