Sandy is a special friend of mine. Not only is she one of The Pencil Box Crew, clients of Diana Lee Flegal at Hartline Literary Agency, but she is a valued critique partner. I am thrilled to see Sandy’s first inspirational book released and available for the Christmas season.
Sandy and I are giving away an ebook copy of The Yuletide Angel this month. For a chance to win, please enter a comment concerning this interview and your email address by midnight (CST) November 20, 2014. After a fair and random drawing, I will announce a winner on Friday, November 21, 2014, 2014. Participation is limited to U. S. residents, eighteen and older.
Thank you for your kind words and having me on your blog, Ann.
You are more than welcome. I love blessing you. Sandy, what inspired you to write a Christmas story?
I’ve never concentrated much on holiday stories because so many people write them, but I was looking for another project to tackle. A certain publisher was looking for Christmas novellas. The deadline presented a challenge to me, so I began working on various ideas. I’m happy to say I met the deadline, though my book sold to a different publisher within days of submission.
Please, tell us about your book.
The Yuletide Angel is the Christmas love story of Violet Madison, a shy, spinster-in-the-making who delivers food to the poor in the middle of the night and Hugh Barnes, the handsome, confirmed bachelor living next door. When Hugh discovers the identity of the town’s mysterious benefactor, he vows to protect her on her rounds—in secret. Neither of them knows someone waits in the shadows to ruin the ministry and reputation of The Yuletide Angel.
I know you have waited a long time for publication and you have been most faithful. When did you begin writing novels and what’s kept you going through thick and thin?
I’ve been writing and publishing since 1986, but I didn’t begin writing novels full time until 2009. Until then, I believed God kept telling me it wasn’t time. Once He said yes, it took me five years, five novels, and two novellas to sign that first publishing contract. I like to think I’ve been in school these past years. Steady accomplishments and pure stubbornness kept me going. J Each time I’d start to get down, God would send me some type of encouragement—a good contest result, an agent, a close call. It’s been a total up and down experience.
Share your secrets for getting the words on the page. Do you consider yourself a fast writer? What do you do when you feel stuck—the dreaded writer’s block?
Oh my! NO WAY am I a fast writer. I envy those who breeze through two or three thousand words per day. If I did that, it would be a total waste of time, because nothing would be readable. I’m an edit-as-I-go writer. I’ll write a paragraph and reread it at least once before going on. If I stop for any reason, I have to reread to regain my focus. When I get stuck for ideas, I reread. (Can you see a pattern?)
Sounds a lot like me. 🙂
Getting away from the computer and doing something else helps. Writing through is important even if those words get deleted later. Keep moving forward. Pray about it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked God to give me HIS words. Works every time it’s tried.
For those of us who have never done a blog tour or Facebook party can you tell us how you learned about them. Is there a special go-to book or person who helped you with marketing? Any hints for newbie’s would be great.
I began setting up my blog tour shortly after the contract was signed. Anytime I’d see a post requesting guests, I’d respond. Friends, like you, were kind enough to offer time on their blogs. I tried to get the posts ready as far in advance as I could because, with the release in mid-October I knew September and October would be crazy busy.
I’m always getting Facebook event invitations. I’d like to take part in more than I do, but sometimes the schedule doesn’t permit it. Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas assigns a marketing rep to each author. Mine is Meaghan Burnett. Meaghan has been my guide in the marketing of The Yuletide Angel. She advised me to do a FB event for the launch of the book. I was very nervous about it, but it turned out to be a good time. I had hoped to get 65 people to say they were coming. In the end, over 100 signed up.
I set up the event page about a month before the launch and began posting to it on occasion—not enough to bug people (I hope), but to build interest and let them know things like story teasers, blog tour stops, progress on the publication, and pre-order information. I was blessed by numerous people sharing the event. For the day of the launch, I prepared a script so all I had to do was copy and paste my posts. I knew it would be too hectic otherwise. I did a variety of things—memes I’d created with book quotes, historical tidbits from the era, an anagram quiz, recipe sharing, Christmas memories and traditions. We did some giveaways too, of course. My event ran for four hours and it was constant communication. The idea was to have fun, and I hope people did.
Give us advice. What important lessons have you learned along the way?
Persistence. Don’t give up. If writing is a plan you think God has for you, keep at it.
God has his own timing so relax and go with the flow.
Get your social media and networking established before looking for that contract. We may write in solitude, but we can’t learn or sell books that way. And it’s not a matter of using people. You help others whether they help you back or not. But other writers are your support system—people to communicate with who know the ups and downs and oddities of the business. They provide advice and are great at helping you get the word out when needed. Join reader groups on Goodreads and Facebook. Enjoy talking about other author’s books.
People don’t seem to realize how much it takes these days to be writers. What has most surprised you most about publishing?
The busyness. I always feel as if I’m behind. I’m working on the full novel follow up to The Yuletide Angel, but it’s been difficult to get the word count goal in.
Ha! One thing I’m sorry to have to admit: the world does not revolve around my book! People, while supportive, have other things to occupy their lives and minds. Who’d have guessed?
Please tell us where to find you and your book.
Thank you! Blessings, Sandy!!!!