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 Deeanne Gist is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Deeanne’s latest novel, Love on the Line, 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 been married to my college sweetheart for 28 years. When we were in our twenties, we had four babies in four years and a month. They are all grown now and we just watched our oldest walk down the aisle a few weeks ago. What a fun and special time that was.
Writing is my full-time job. I pop in on facebook first thing in the morning, then I devote at least four hours to working on my book. I spend the final 3 hours of the day on administrative activities such as emails, promotions, event planning, interviews, social networking, etc. When I’m on deadline, I work 70+ hours per week. So finishing a book is cause for a big celebration. This time my husband is taking me to Vermont. We’re going to view the fall colors from a hot air balloon. I can’t wait!
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I write historical Americana and have always been fascinated with intriguing little tidbits I find in historical timeline books or in an article somewhere. Of particular interest to me are women who chose untraditional jobs. In Love on the Line, the female protagonist is a switchboard operator. I discovered during my research that telephone companies gave their rural operators homes to work out of. I loved the idea of an independent woman in a society dominated by male breadwinners.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
With four kids under the age of four, I retired early from teaching to be a stay-at-home mom. At that time, I began a career in freelance journalism. A few years after experiencing some success, I decided to write a novel. I had become disenchanted with the moral fiber of the heroines in the stories I read. I wanted to write a compelling story about two people overcoming adversity, but who also tried to honor the boundaries God has asked us to respect while courting. Not an easy task–especially when they didn’t want to stay in the boundaries.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
I finished my first manuscript in 1997. It wasn’t published until 2005. That book, A Bride Most Begrudging, went on to reach #1 on seven different bestseller lists and was recognized with a Christy Award and a nomination for ACFW’s Book of the Year. So those of you with a file folder full of rejections, take heart! I have a file folder just like yours.
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?
A good night’s sleep, a big breakfast, and a quiet moment with God are the three most important factors in my writing day. Since I write on a laptop, my muse often moves around. I wrote one book in our outdoor kitchen. Another in our gameroom. Another in our bedroom. And another in our living room. Love on the Line was written in my office where I have an obnoxiously big monitor–which I absolutely love. I also have a dress code: Comfy clothes. Froggie slippers.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
In my journey to publication, the greatest source of help came from RWA (Romance Writers of America). Through their chapter meetings, conferences, and workshops they gave me what I consider a degree in Fiction Writing. Even though it is a romance-driven organization, any genre author would benefit from their workshops on setting, description, pacing, characterization, plotting, and everything else involved in writing novels.
On a more individual basis, family members and author friends have influenced my writing the most. My sister has been my plotting partner and first draft reader for the last several books. My mom & dad also give my first drafts a read-through. My critique partner, author Meg Moseley, reads each chapter as I finish it. And with Love on the Line I put together a PIT Crew. This is a Personal Intercessory Team who committed to pray for me daily during the writing of the novel.
What are your biggest distractions?
Chocolate, things on the to-do list that chip away at my writing time, and noise.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
My favorite moments are when I hear from readers whose lives have been changed and renewed from reading one of my novels. And wouldn’t you know the worst moments come from the same source–readers. But these readers are upset with some aspect of my books.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Write the book.
While you are doing that, hone your craft–join a writer’s organization, enter contests, read how-to books, attend conferences, find a critique group. With my first attempt at writing a novel (which no one will ever see), I was rejected over and over. Not because I couldn’t tell a story, but because I didn’t know my craft. You could be the most talented athlete ever, but if you don’t learn the rules to basketball, you can’t play the game. Same with writing. You must learn the craft.
Can you tell us about your last release?
Deeanne’s 2010 book, Maid to Match, was chosen by Booklist as one of the year’s Top Ten Inspirational Fiction. It won the National Readers’ Choice Award and Book Buyer’s Best. It was also nominated for a RITA, Readers’ Crown, Holt Medallion, Golden Quill, Maggie, Lories Best, and Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice.
My current book, Love on the Line, has already hit several bestseller lists, has received starred reviews, and is about a switchboard operator and a Texas Ranger who goes undercover as a telephone repairman.
Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world…which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.
Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
I have a very active online community. I’m on facebook everyday. (facebook.com/DeesCircle). You can contact me, enter contests, obtain book club ideas, and receive exclusive perks at IWantHerBook.com. And any reader who’d like to spend a weekend with me can find out the details at GetawayWithDee.com.
As for my books, they are available online, electronically, on audio, and wherever books are sold.
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
Thanks for having me, Suzanne. It was my pleasure. 🙂
Deeanne is thrilled to introduce Georgie and Luke to the word in her latest novel, Love on the Line. To celebrate Deeanne’s publisher, Bethany House, is hosting the Love on the Line iPad2 Giveaway, blog tour and an Author Chat on Facebook! Enter today and follow the link below to RSVP for Deeanne’s rip-roarin’ Facebook Party!
One fortunate winner will receive:
- A Brand New iPad2
- An Autographed Hardback Copy of Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 7th. Winner will be announced at Deeanne’s Author Chat Facebook Party. Deeanne will be wrapping up the Love on the Line celebration by chatting with friends new and old! So grab your copy of Love on the Line (it’s okay if you don’t have one yet- you might could win one!) and join Deeanne on the evening of November 8th for a rip-roarin’ book chat, a little trivia and lots of giveaways (books, and Amazon, iTunes & Starbucks gift certificates)!