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.
The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Emily Freeman is Susan Stitch! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address!
This week we are featuring David Gudgel! To win a copy of his book, Just One More Thing Before You Leave Home (2013) leave a comment on this post.
Bernice & I have been married for 37 years. We have three kids who are all out of the home and building families of their own now. I’m a full-time pastor, and when I can find the time, I speak and write.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest . . .
We’re definitely into books that are about real life. Our desire is to help people live their lives intentionally, instead of just going through the motions on auto-pilot. So I try to write books that will help people stop and think about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, and then offer practical suggestions that might help them do it better.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
My writing snuck up on me. I never thought I would write books. When I was getting my DMin, a professor suggested I turn a class project I did for him into a book. So that’s where this got started. My wife, Bernice, is a great writer, and she has always had people telling her she should write books. Once I started writing, she basically “fixed” what I was writing. So together we realized we made a great writing team!
After you started writing seriously—how long was it before you were published?
Since I wasn’t looking to be a writer, I didn’t really go through a long, stressful process of trying to find a publisher. I sent the manuscripts out to places I had some round-about connections with and my first three books got published with reputable publishing houses. Now though, with how easy it is to self-publish, we’re trying that route with our latest book.
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 writing has taken place while I’ve been away somewhere specifically for the purpose of writing. It’s happened in a friend’s pool house overlooking a golf course, a beach house up in Oregon, a condo up in Idaho, etc. Because I have a real job too, I can focus better on writing when I get away completely from my normal setting. I wrote my third book in various Starbucks while enjoying Soy Green Tea Lattes.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
Two things – my wife being such a great writer/editor and connections within the industry. There are so many people out there with books they want published, and a lot of those books are really good. The biggest hurdle for the average writer like me is getting someone to even take notice of your book. Connections are a big help. Someone who can tell them “Yeah, I know that guy. He’s good! You should check out his book.”
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
In that writing is not my first job, I have always been able to write for fun. I love that, but it still can be a lot of work. Especially when I can’t pull a thought together and it’s taking an inordinate amount of time.
My real job.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
Best? Getting my first book published.
What do you least like about being a writer?
Not selling more books.
Seeing the information in my books help people in their day-to-day lives.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
If you’re lucky enough to get connected with a good agent, the best thing they can do for you is get you connected to publishers. Again, it comes back to connections.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Write about something you know. And try to have your primary goal be to help people through what you’ve written – either through the practical knowledge it will give to them or the enjoyment of reading your work. If your goal is to make a ton of money, then you’re probably going to be disappointed. It could happen, but if there was a formula to make it happen, it would be happening for a lot more people.
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 are connected with a teenager who is in their last couple years of high school, this book is a great resource to help them prepare for life out on their own. Whether they’re going off to college or out into the world, the practical advice Just One More Thing gives will help them a lot!
What’s on the book horizon for you?
A book about marriage and another on learning to be content in this world and not missing out on the joy of today because you’re always longing for something more.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?