The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Amy Wallace is Johnda S.! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week Danielle Stammer is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her book, Singing Over Me leave a comment on this post!
I am married with two kids, ages 4 and 2, with a third on the way. I stay at home and manage our house and write only during nap time or when my husband’s home to take over for me.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I write when I have something to say: a lesson learned or experience that will be helpful to share with others. I want my writing to inspire and equip, so I tend to write non-fiction.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I did a lot of writing in school, and have consistently kept a journal since I was young. Both of these prepared me. I’ve been asked by others when I was going to write a book, but I always replied, “When I have something to say.” There are so many good books available that I didn’t feel the need to compete. After our family survived the EF-5 tornado in Joplin and came through the healing process, I knew I had something to say.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
Singing Over Me was in print 6 months after I started writing it.
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 just need a quiet space to think and no coffee! Water works better for me. I usually begin with a prayer because I want the Lord to guide my thoughts and help me process what I’m writing. I wrote Singing Over Me while sitting in my parents’ living room as my children napped, and in a friend’s back room while she watched them play, and in a hotel room when I had a chance to be alone. The place was secondary to the need for quiet.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
First, my husband’s encouragement that what was coming together was worth sharing. Then, the confirmation of friends and family that I let read early drafts. I appreciated so much their feedback and insight and, of course, their encouragement.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)
When I wrote Singing Over Me, it was because I needed to write it. It was a part of the healing process for me. I didn’t have expectations for the “writer’s life,” but so far, I love getting to speak and tell my story, because it’s a story worth sharing.
What are your biggest distractions?
The rest of life! I only have time to work on publicity when my children are asleep, and often, I’m tired too! It takes dedication to keep my website current and follow up on potential interviews.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
I’m still at the beginning of the journey, so I think time will tell!
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
I least like marketing! I love writing, and I love speaking, but trying to market myself or my work makes me uncomfortable. Plus, I’m not very good at it. That’s where the other people in my life step in and help me out. I don’t think I realized what versatile skills successful writers need.
Be true to yourself. I loved getting the honest advice of editors, but there were some things I refused to change because, in the end, the story is mine, and I’m the one that it reflects. Be open to advice; be humble, and in the end, put together something that makes you proud.
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.
Singing Over Me is a story of survival and loss, but it’s also a story of healing and renewal. It’s intense and inspiring and honest, giving hope to its readers.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
Not sure yet. It depends on if I have anything else to say! ☺
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
To schedule an interview or speaking appointment or to get a copy of Singing Over Me: A Joplin Tornado Survivor’s Journey, check out www.singingoverme.com
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)