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 books. FUN.
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’m married to a wonderful man, and we are empty nesters—unless you count our two dogs, two cats, two pot bellied pigs, pygmy goat, hen, and rooster. I left my job as a newspaper reporter in early 2008 and write novels full time.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I’m contracted with Thomas Nelson Publishers for 14 Amish novels and novellas.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I wrote my first story to my grandparents when I was five years old—On a dark stormy night kind of thing. I’ve written in some capacity most of my life—freelance articles, newspaper reporter, and tons of manuscripts that I should probably burn so no one finds them after I’m dead.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
Hmm…that’s a tough question. When my children were young, I would write a manuscript, send it off, file the rejection notice, then get back to raising children. A few years later, I’d go through the same drill. But in 2006, I realized that writing a good story wasn’t going to be enough, and I began to really study the craft.
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?
Most of my first drafts are done in a recliner. Serious revisions are done locked up in my bedroom. Line edits are done at my kitchen table. When a deadline is on top of me and I need to power write, I leave home and go to my favorite cabin in the woods and hibernate for days until I’m done. Hours per day depends on everything else going on in my life at the time, but at deadline time, I’ll write about 10 hours per day. Normally, I probably average about 5 hours, working around other things my editor or publicist might need and media commitments.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
I’ve never been in a writer’s group, and I don’t have a critique partner, but my first responders…those who read the first drafts…make sure I don’t go ‘off’ somewhere I don’t need to. Writers conferences such as ACFW and RWA have been a tremendous help.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
It is nothing like I thought it would be! I had this silly idea that you wrote a book, turned it in, then went on to the next one! Ha ha ha! SO many other steps involved in the entire process. Only thing that is like I thought it would be is that I have the freedom to write in my jammies all day if I choose to.
What are your biggest distractions?
Internet, laundry, food, barking dogs, inability to say ‘no’ to social events, phone calls, and an ongoing ‘to do’ list that begs for items to be checked off.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
Best moment—call from agent that Thomas Nelson bought the Daughters of the Promise series, on Friday, Dec. 18, 2007 at 4:18 p.m. I haven’t had a bad moment since.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
There really isn’t anything I don’t like about being a writer, but the most challenging thing for me is balance. My relationships with my family and friends are important, and those relationships must be nurtured, but my deadlines are tight, so I constantly work on balancing everything. As for what I like most—did I mention about writing in my jammies? Seriously, my favorite thing about writing are the letters and emails I receive from readers, especially the ones who say my books have brought them closer to God.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
A good agent knows the publishing business and what is selling at a certain time. He or she will also have good relationships with editors and know how to negotiate a contract. I’m fortunate to have an agent whom I also consider a dear friend.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Don’t just write the book. Study the craft. I believe that anyone can get published if you have thick enough skin to file away the rejection notices and keep going.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your books.
All of my books include a romance, but there is always much more going on—multiple plots that will appeal to readers of all ages, men and women. I have a deep affection for the Amish and their simpler way of living, but I stay focused on authenticity, and members of the Amish community read each book prior to publication.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
I’m currently finishing up book #5 in the ‘Daughters of the Promise’ series, Plain Proposal. Next, I’ll write a novella for An Amish Wedding, co-authored with Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Long. After that, I’ll write book #2 in the ‘Land of Canaan’ series, not yet titled. Following that, I’ll start to work on my third series. I’m super excited about the first ‘Land of Canaan’ book—Seek Me With All Your Heart—to release in October 2010. This book follows some of my characters from the ‘Daughters of the Promise’ series to Colorado.
For more info about my books, please visit my website at www.bethwiseman.net.
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders, Beth! (blog + readers = bleaders)