I met Andrea a few years ago at a writer’s conference. Later we began carpooling together to our local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writer’s meetings. We had so much fun we became not only friends, but critique and accountability partners for our writing and pray for each other over all the ups and downs of life and writing. I’m glad you got meet her!
When did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?
I started writing as a child. My earliest recollection of actually producing a work of fiction, was when I was in 4th grade. I wrote a story called “Little Miss Mouse.” Each day, on my way home from grade school, I used to stop at the library and write. I was quite proud of my lined notebook and penciled story. Little did I realize my mother kept it. I found it among her belongings after she died in 2012.
What’s your pet peeve?
Cleaning my house. Seems such a waste of time. It just gets messing/dirty again.
What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?
Realizing that a proposal I had sent to an editor had many, many misspellings in it.
What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?
The slow pace at which I now write. It didn’t always used to be that way. In the 1990s, I could write four 50K word novels and one novella per year. Now it takes me a good four to six months per book!
How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?
My first book was published in 1994 by Heartsong Presents (Barbour Publishing). Since then, I’ve written some 40 books, fiction and nonfiction. Therefore, the way I process rejection and negative views has morphed greatly over the years. While once I let such things ruin my day, now I don’t let it rent space in my head. Too many characters live there anyway. Writers cannot take rejection personally. It happens. It’s a part of being a writer and journeying toward publication. As for negative reviews…if a reader states something like, “The book was too boring. I set it down after two pages.” I consider the comment, but compare it to the other reviews posted. If all other reviews (except that one) are glowing, I discount it as merely one reader’s viewpoint. But if the majority of reviews are negative, I take them to heart AS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE and try to figure out how I can make my next book better.
What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?
I have helped at least a dozen authors get published and when I see their success, I rejoice. They are precious gems in the crown I will lay down at my Savior’s feet someday. I love to encourage other writers which is one of the reasons I partnered with Lynn Coleman, Tracie Peterson, and others to begin ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).
What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?
1) Don’t give up. 2) Work on being the best author you can be. 3) Rejoice with others when they share their good publishing news – even if you’re feeling envious you can’t share similar news. Amazingly, God will use that for His good – and I speak from personal experience.
As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?
I want to be known for stories that are Christian-based faith in action. Stories that touch others’ lives, whether they’re Christians or unbelievers, in search of the Way, Truth, and Life. I’m already seeing a wee bit of my legacy in one of my sons who is writing a nonfiction book. And I see my legacy unfolding in one of my grandsons, who, each time he visits, has to sit at my desk and pretend he’s “writing a book.”
What is your current work in process?
I’ve actually got more than one WIP because, even though I might not actively be working on a book, it’s still percolating in my head.
Too Deep for Words, book 2 in my Shenandoah Valley Saga (coming February or April 2017). After it’s finished, I plan to work on revisions for a super cute novel for Prism Book Group that I’ve tentatively Building a Dream. I can’t wait to dive into that project. After that, it’s on to a secret fiction project that I can’t yet discuss (but I can tease about…ha, ha…) I’ll follow that novel up with writing There Is a Season, book 3 in the Shenandoah Valley Saga.
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Blog: “Everything Writerly”