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.
Welcome Betsy St. Amant, author of All’s Fair in Love & Cupcakes, to Author Spotlight! Leave a comment below for the chance to win a copy of her book!
I’m 30 thirty years old, a single mom to a six-year-old girl, and work full time. I’m definitely of the “squeeze in as much writing as I can when I can” variety. ☺
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I write contemporary romance and have a YA with Barbour with a strong romance thread that released January 2012, Addison Blakely, Confessions of a PK.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I’ve been writing since I was about seven years old! It’s been in my blood my entire life. I always dreamed to be a published author one day and realized it was time to get serious about it when I turned eighteen. I started going to writers’ conferences and learning the craft of fiction, and the rest is history!
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
I started going to conferences and making a serious effort toward publication when I was about eighteen years old. I acquired my agent when I was about twenty-three, and received my first traditional contract when I was twenty-four.
Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I love to write at the Starbucks nook inside my local Barnes & Noble. I also occasionally will write from my grandmother’s church library, where she volunteers—it’s the same church I grew up in as a child, and while I don’t attend there today, it holds so many fun memories. I just enjoy writing surrounded by books of any sort, be it a library or a bookstore. I don’t get to spend an set number of hours a day writing, as I have a full-time day job, but I try to do as much as I can when I can. If I had my wish, I’d write full time. One day!
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
The biggest help in my writing journey has definitely consisted of the support of my mom and grandmother (my biggest fans!) as well as the professional industry I was blessed to be able to surround myself in. Author Gayle Roper introduced me to the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and after I joined and began attending their conferences and networking, everything changed and progressed quickly. I owe so much to the ACFW and the authors who encouraged me and mentored me along the way. It’s now a blessing to me to be in a position to help other new authors along that same path! Pay it forward ☺
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
Yes and no. I guess I never realized how high the high’s would be, and how low the low’s would be, if that makes sense. The rejections always stung a lot worse than I expected, but the new contracts and the sales and the endorsements at the same time felt even better than I expected. I think the key is finding the balance, and not allowing either extreme to define you.
What are your biggest distractions?
Life in general. As a single mom, I always have my daughter on my brain, whether she is in my custody or with her father. I also have freelance side jobs to help make ends meet, which take up some of my “free” time (what’s that, anyway??). My day job carries a lot of responsibility, and sometimes it’s hard to shake that off at the end of the day and switch over into writing mode. I also just came out of a very trying divorce, which consumed a lot more of my emotional and creative energy than I ever expected. It’s been a really rough few years, but God is bringing me through it and making me stronger, and therefore, making my stories stronger. It will all be for His glory!
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
I think of the best moments was getting the call that I had just acquired a contract with Zondervan Publishers, a division of Harper Collins. My dream house! Was a true dream come true and in a time in my life when everything else was falling apart. God saved that blessing for the opportune moment, to be sure. If I had to pick a “worst” moment of my career, it was probably my first pitch session to an editor. I was too new to the craft to be pitching my work at a conference, but I was “going big or going home”! I totally bombed my pitch and embarrassed myself, but the editor was so sweet spirited. I was disappointed afterward, but it taught me a lot about not rushing God’s timing.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
The lack of time to devote to my writing is my least favorite element of this job! That’s a real struggle for me right now, but God is teaching me how to prioritize and overcome. It’s a work in progress. What I really love, though, are those moments when it all comes together, and the words flow off your fingers onto the page, and it’s one of those “aha “ moments where you know God is involved.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
I absolutely adore my agent, and wouldn’t be where I am now without her. I signed with Tamela Hancock Murray, who is now part of the Steve Laube Agency (formerly with Hartline Agency) in 2007, and we’ve been partners in crime ever since. She is my biggest cheerleader, encourager, industry-mom, and go-to for anything I need. Not only does she handle the professional angle of things for me, she checks on me and my daughter frequently and never hesitates to ask how she can pray for us. She is crucial ☺
Never give up! You never know what breakthrough is around the corner. If you quit sending those submissions out, you will be guaranteed to never get published. So go for your dreams, pray them up, and do your best. Then you’ll have no regrets.
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 book.
If you had to describe yourself as a cupcake flavor, what would it be? Kat Varland is sick of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and thinks she might have just found her very own dark chocolate cherry gauache masterpiece in her best guy friend, Lucas Brannen…
What’s on the book horizon for you?
I’m currently finishing up the sequel to All’s Fair in Love & Cupcakes, titled Love Arrives in Pieces. It’s set to release May 2015 and then I’ll be moving on to a novella contract with Zondervan, which will be a part of a new bridal series releasing next year.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
I love connecting with readers! My website is www.betsystamant.com and I am also on Facebook under the author page Betsy St. Amant. I hang out on Twitter at @betsystamant and also blog at www.writergetsreal.blogspot.com.
My books are available through all the mainstream avenues – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. and also available in both print and e-book.