The awesome Jeanne McDonald has brought us back to the origins of the Romance Writers Weekly blog, with three challenging questions. If you’ve joined me from Betty Bolte, welcome!
1. Describe that moment you first felt like a true author (not just an aspiring one).
I truly believe anyone brave enough to put their thoughts on paper, whether for a private journal or for all the world to see, is an author. So the very first time I felt like an author was when I actually finished my first manuscript, MOUNTAIN FIRE. While I’ve been writing most of my life, I had never actually completed a novel length work. Too many had died around page 70, suffocated through lack of craft, inclination and imagination. When I stared at the screen knowing I’d written the last word of the manuscript, I almost couldn’t believe it. Even if that work had never been published, I would have considered myself an author just for finishing the damn thing.
But to answer the question in the spirit it was intended, I first felt like a “true” author the day I received a contract offer to publish MOUNTAIN FIRE. I was at work, and just happened to check my personal email, and there it was. I had to read it over and over again. I was thrilled, to say the least!
Of course, getting published is just one step on the ladder, and while I may consider myself an author, I am not as successful as I would like. Achieving one goal just pushes you on to the next – and after all, isn’t that what life’s journey is about?
2. Name three authors who you inspire you.
Nora Roberts: Not only do I enjoy her novels, I am in awe of her work ethic. She publishes 4 or 5 full length words a year. I don’t care that she has assistants to help with the marketing and social media and other obligations. The act of sitting down and writing around half a million words a year is up to her. It’s amazing.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips: SEP’s writing is brilliant. It’s emotional and engaging and funny and heartbreaking and everything in between. The connection I feel with her books is something I aspire to give my readers. Trust me – I’m still working on it.
Jennifer Crusie: If you want a lesson on how to write dialogue, pick up any Crusie novel. Her characters talk a lot, but it is never “soap opera” dialogue. The story unfolds in the conversations, and sometimes her books read like stage plays. The pace of her writing is breakneck, but so crisp and clean that you are never lost. I devour her books in one sitting when I can.
3. Describe your favorite fan moment (either you as the fan or one of your readers approaching you as a fan).
In October 2013 I attended the Surrey International Writers Conference. If you ever get a chance – go! It’s not just for romance writers, but all genres. One of the founding presenters of the conference is Diana Gabaldon. She could have joined the list of writers who inspire me (she’s another whose work ethic humbles me). I sat in on one of her presentations and really enjoyed it, then had my picture taken with her. She is the ONLY author I have ever done this with, as I’m not “that kind” of fan. But I couldn’t help myself this time.
As for myself, the first time I was asked to autograph one of my books was my biggest fan moment as an author. A group of very supportive ladies at work purchased print copies of my first book and had them delivered to work. Signing those books was an out-of-body experience.
How did Veronica Forand answer these questions? Find out here!
Susan Scott Shelley
5/26/2015 08:21:19 am
I love Nora, SEP, and Jennifer Crusie too :-)
5/26/2015 08:45:41 am
We're setting our sights high, Susan!
5/26/2015 09:24:29 am
I love SEP as well and was thrilled to be her "assistant" during the RWA book signing in Atlanta. And you're right, the people who came to have their books signed were in tears at meeting a person who touched their lives so deeply. That is definitely something to strive for.
5/26/2015 12:04:30 pm
That's awesome, Veronica! That would definitely have been one of my fan moments.
5/26/2015 10:39:00 am
I love Jennifer Crusie and eagerly anticipate reading and re-reading her work. Great fan moment for you.
5/26/2015 12:05:19 pm
I almost didn't ask for the photo. But she came into the conference room when it was almost empty, and my friend goaded me into it. :)
5/26/2015 04:45:32 pm
Great answers! I loved your fan moments, both as a fan and a writer.
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