Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
This week Georgia Varozza is in the Spotlight! If you missed her Amish Wisdom interview yesterday on Amish Cooking – head over here to listen to a podcast. Or download it here, free on iTunes.
To win a copy of Georgia’s book, The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook, leave a comment on this post!
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
I’ve raised three sons, two of whom are married and raising families; my youngest son still lives with me. I have three grandchildren (so far!) who all live near me and they visit “Grandma” often. There’s never a dull moment! I also work full-time in Christian publishing as a proofer/copy editor, and freelance as an editor in my “spare time.” Years ago, I began writing by composing technical reports for an investment banking firm (not me at all!), and then later I wrote for our local newspaper. Several years ago I began praying about writing a book and shortly thereafter I was asked to write the text for a sweet little gift book titled The Friendship Garden. That gave me the courage to explore writing another book—and The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook was the result.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I love writing about home and family. I raised my sons in the country and our food and fun were mostly homemade, so it’s a natural for me, I think. Also, we attended a Plain Mennonite church, and I come from Plain stock (Brethren and Mennonite), so having “home” as the center of our days and hearts is embedded deep in me.
I’d love to try my hand at fiction and have two stories percolating in my head currently. One is historical romance, set in Oregon, and the other is contemporary romance and is about knitting. (Knitting, spinning, and weaving are some great loves in my life!)
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I dreamed as a kid of being a writer, and I especially wanted to write a book, but that desire stayed on the back burner because I had a family to feed and clothe and writing a book seemed so “iffy.” But several years ago I was encouraged by a friend—who happens to be an acquiring editor for a Christian publishing house—to put together some book proposals and he would see if he could generate interest. My first proposal was a direct hit, and The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook was soon under contract. I was elated!
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I tend to write in spurts, which probably isn’t the most efficient way, but it’s been my method these last several years because I seem to always be under deadlines with my writing. So, when I have a book going, I write, write, write. I might be at my computer for eight hours a day during those times. But when I’m between books I’m easily distracted by my fiber interests. (In fact, I figured I could justify my knitting obsession if I incorporated the subject into a book—after all, I could call it research!)
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
In many ways, yes it is…but even though I work in the industry, I’ve had to learn that books get birthed v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. It takes many months between when I turn in a manuscript and when I finally hold a book in hand. Patience becomes a real bonus. Also, writing is essentially a solitary endeavor, and I love that part.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
The best moment was when I held my first book in my hands. What a high that was! The worst moment? When I turned in my first manuscript and wondered fearfully just how much red ink they’d be forced to use to make it publishable! Thankfully, having my work edited wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
I don’t have an agent, which, I realize, is not common. But working in the industry, I know that good agents provide an invaluable service to writers. If and when I branch out into other venues, I will get an agent first because I know they will champion me better than I could myself.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Write! It’s really that simple (mostly). Like anything, we need to gain experience and hone our skills by doing. But added to this, I would suggest that you read lots of good books. I think people who are avid readers are more naturally good writers. Good phrasing, a poetic turn of a sentence, or lovely, just-right words seep into our brains by osmosis when we are constantly steeping ourselves in great literature. Lastly, I would suggest studying grammar and style books. (For instance, I just love cozying up to the Chicago Manual of Style from time to time and reading the grammar and usage sections.)
What’s on the book horizon for you?
I’m fortunate to have another book in the works currently. This one is about canning food, and I’m excited! I think younger folks are wanting to go back to a simpler lifestyle, and many people are concerned about the state of the economy, so I think my book will be a big help for many…and hopefully a soothing balm as well…as they learn how to better care for their loved ones and gain confidence in that area.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Alas! I’m a Luddite at heart and don’t have a website or blog, although I think the time is fast approaching when I’ll be forced into the twenty-first century and will have to get something set up. But until then, you can find my books online at Christianbook.com and Amazon.com. A Google search would also be a great place to start.
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
Thank you so much for inviting me into your community for this author spotlight! I’ve enjoyed taking the time to think about the questions you posed. If I could leave your “bleaders” with one encouragement, it would be this: You can do it! Work with diligence, stay close to God in prayer, and then be amazed as you see His will working in your life. He may have some surprises for you, but be confident—He only has the “best” for you. May you hear and answer His call!