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 winners from last week’s Author Spotlight with Jessica Dotta is Melanie Backup! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This week we are feature two more authors! Becky Wade and Beth K. Vogt! To win a copy of Becky’s Undeniably Yours (Bethany, 2013) or Beth K. Vogt Catch a Falling Star (Howard Books, 2013), 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’m married with three children (ages 12, 9, 4) and the majority of my time is spent caring for my family and home. As you can perhaps imagine, there’s quite a bit of ongoing kid chaos surrounding me. Unfortunately, I’m not someone who can write amid chaos. I need silence and solitude in order to chase the occasional coherent thought! I block off chunks of writing time when my kids are at school or when they’re home with my husband (in which case, I head to the library to work.) The past few years I’ve written only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Surprisingly, the days of rest in between have proven beneficial to my creativity. Whenever I return to writing, my imagination is ready.
Share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I write contemporary inspirational romances. Love stories are definitely my greatest area of interest, and have been since I was a young teenager. Nothing will keep me turning pages faster than a hero’s great love for a heroine.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I had no dream of becoming a published author. I was simply an avid reader who once read a book so bad that I thought I could write a better one. As it turned out, no. I couldn’t write a better one. Writing looks so easy when it’s done well! Until I tried it for myself, I had no inkling of how incredibly hard it was or how little I knew about the craft of writing.
After you started writing seriously—how long was it before you were published?
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?
Prayer. Before a writing session, I always make time to read scripture and pray. During that time I confess to God with complete honesty that I’ve taken on (in my attempt to write a book) something that is so big that I’ll fail unless He’s in it. Then I ask — beg is maybe more accurate — Him to write the story through me, to use me as His vessel. I really do believe Romans 11:36. “For from him and through him and for him are all things.”
Once I’ve prayed, I typically sing along to a praise song. Then grab a snack. And go!
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
Practice. As helpful as writing groups and non-fiction books on the craft of writing were to me, my most helpful stepping stone was practice. I wrote a new manuscript, from beginning to end, every year. Over time, I gradually improved, found my voice, and discovered the sub-genre I loved most.
Is being a writer what you thought it would be?
In some ways yes. I do get to enjoy all the perks of working from home that I’d imagined: writing in slippers, working with my hair in a top-knot, ready and available snacks, a flexible schedule, a non-existent commute.
On the other hand, it’s less glamorous and more humbling than imagined. I’m still the one who does the family’s endless loads of laundry. I’m the one who has to take the negative reviews with the good. I’m the person who gets anxious and overwhelmed by my job at times. I’m my household’s resident throw-up cleaner upper.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
I least like the stress of the workload that comes 1) during the final few months leading up to a deadline and 2) during the weeks surrounding a new book’s release.
I most like the thrill and joy of the writing itself. It’s freeing, challenging, imaginative and exhilarating work. It’s truly satisfying to complete a novel I felt the Lord lead me to write.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Don’t get bogged down trying to follow all the ‘rules’ about the craft of writing or trying to figure out what’s marketable to editors. First and foremost, write what you feel led to write and write it how you love it. Aside from earning money or becoming a published (or multi-published) author, the writing should be its own reward.
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.
“This one here is funny and emotional and really, really romantic. It’s a love story and a faith story both. Admittedly, the author’s a bit of a nut, but try not to hold that against her.”
What’s on the book horizon for you?
In Undeniably Yours, I introduce readers to Bo Porter and to the entire Porter family. My next three books will be about Bo’s three siblings.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Thanks for asking! I love to connect with readers. I can be found at:
Next up Beth K. Vogt
Tell us a little about your new book
Catch a Falling Star asks the question: What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan? Do you keep pushing for Plan A? Pull Plan B from your pocket? Or do you settle? I got the idea for the novel after talking with a friend whose life was going so well in lots of ways – her career, her friendships, her activities – but in some ways, she was still waiting for dreams to come true. Everyone faces life not going according to plan in some way. And we have to figure out if life is about making plans, or wishing on stars, or is it about something more?
How can readers find you and your books?
Both Catch a Falling Star, and my debut novel, Wish You Were Here, are available on Amazon and through other major book stores. And there are links through my website at bethvogt.com.
Why do you write?
I write books because … life is messy. And I write stories about that. About how we make a mess of our lives … or someone else messes up our lives … and there is hope … there is redemption … It’s the whole reality of “But God … ”
Best author moment?
I’ve had several readers contact me and say how something I’ve written has influenced their relationship with God in a positive way. That’s my prayer: That I reflect God through my writing and somehow bring readers one step closer to God, wherever they are in their faith journey.
If you weren’t able to write, what would you do?
Clean my house, I guess.
Describe your ideal circumstances to write.
Long sessions of uninterrupted time. That doesn’t happen very often. I’m learning to write through the interruptions.
Right this moment, what does your office look like?
I have two stuffed otters sitting on my desk, along with several favorite photographs, and a bunch of “don’t forget” sticky notes. If you turned around, you’d see the baskets of papers, waiting to be filed. I’m a much better “piler” than filer.
How would you describe your writing style to a reader?
I write fiction based on real-life that includes humor, romance, and also delves into the deeper issues we face every day.
If you could write any book—on any topic—and be guaranteed a publishing contract, what topic would it be? (Or genre?)
I’ve already partly written the book – it’s even gone to pub board and been considered by several publishers, but never picked up. It’s a nonfiction book titled Blindsided directed to moms, teaching them that one of the very best things they can do to help their sons choose purity instead of pornography is to be in relationship with their sons.
Ever had a bad review? How did you handle it?
Every writer gets bad reviews.The rule is: Don’t respond to bad reviews. My caveat is: Don’t respond in public. You can’t help but have a reaction – but I do it in the privacy of my home. I might talk it out with my husband or my mentor or my closest writing friends. Ultimately, I have to let it go. It’s someone’s opinion – and not a judgment on me as a person.
How do you solve a grammar dilemma?
I don’t have too many of those, since I have a journalism degree. But a handy online resource is Grammar Girl.
Are you an introvert? Extrovert? In between?
I am an introvert who is willing and able to function as an extrovert as needed. But I require downtime, too, to refresh.
Do you enjoy public speaking as an author? Why or why not?
I was involved with public speaking before I was an author. I loved it then and I still love it. I enjoy talking about issues that are important to me: relationships, faith, family, children, writing.
Can a person make a living as a writer?
I know people who do. But usually those people make a living as a writer by writing and doing something else: writing and speaking. Writing and editing. Writing and teaching.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on my third inspirational contemporary romance novel, Somebody Like You, which is set in Colorado. It has twins in it – and I’m excited about that because I’m a twin.