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 Ace Collins is Shelly Daugherty (winner from Sarah Ladd’s Author Spotlight is Melody Durant) ! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week please welcome Siri Mitchell in the spotlight! To win a copy of her new book Unrivaled (Bethany House, 2013) , leave a comment on this post.
Share a little bit about yourself.
People always ask me where I’m from, but the truth is I don’t really have a hometown. After having moved often as a child, I’ve lived on three continents (North America, Europe and Asia) and visited five (still missing South America and Antarctica, but hope to get them in one fell swoop at some point). I’ve worked at all levels of government (local, state, and federal) and currently write full time.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest?
Although I’ve written contemporary fiction in the past, I’m writing historical fiction for Bethany House at the moment. I’ve always loved history so being able to combine that passion with writing is a dream come true.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I’d always been told I was good at writing, and I started dabbling with an idea in 1993, but I didn’t start seriously working on a book until we moved to Paris in 1996. That’s when I had the time and space to play with my ideas and I met a British author at our church who took me under her wing. It took another eight years, but in 2004, I signed my first contract.
After you started writing seriously how long was it before you were published?
Nearly ten years in total. I wrote four books that nobody wanted between when I started in 1993 and when I signed a contract in 2004 . . . and even then, that contract was for a fifth (as then unwritten) book.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?
I’ve always said I’m a menace to society before ten o’clock in the morning and it’s true! Until then, my fingers are dyslexic and I stammer over words. About 9:30, I usually visit my favorite websites and check in with my e-mail loops and by 10:00 I’m at my desk and ready to go. After lunch, at some point before 2:00, I’ll usually make myself a shot of espresso.
Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I write from 10:00 – 3:00 four days a week (I leave one day free to run errands or make appointments and I try very hard to save the weekends for family.)
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
I started writing in earnest in Europe and didn’t have access to writers groups or writing conferences. The internet wasn’t then the hub of information and resources that it is now, so I started out on my own. It wasn’t until after I was published that I joined ACFW, RWA, HSN, or the Author’s Guild. As the rejections poured in (153 of them) I kept coming back to the thought that there was nothing else I really wanted to do.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
No – it’s tough work! And as I learn more about writing and strive to make each book better, it keeps on getting more difficult. I didn’t expect that. But it has its perks. My writing schedule is as flexible as I need it to be.
What are your biggest distractions?
The internet. (I could say e-mail, but if you saw the e-mails piled up in my in-box, you’d know it wasn’t true!)
What do you most like about being a writer? Least like?
I like being able to say what it is I want to say. I least like having people completely misunderstand and misinterpret what it was I’ve said.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
An agent is advocate, advisor, career planner . . . what doesn’t an agent do?! I don’t think anyone can long survive in this business without one.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Write. You can think about it, you can research it, you can talk about, but you have to actually write the book before you can become a writer.
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.
How about this: Romeo and Juliet with taffy . . . and a happy ending! What could be better than that?
What’s on the book horizon for you?
A very fun historical set in 1924 Boston titled Love Comes Calling. Boston blueblood and collegiate Ellis Eton plans to leave the city for Hollywood just as soon as she can, but somehow life always seems to intervene. Though she tries her best to stay out of trouble, her friend Griff won’t stop poking his nose into other people’s business (like the mayor’s!), and a handsome police officer, starts asking questions about him, and her parents think she’s helping out at an orphanage instead filling in for a friend down at the telephone switchboard, and then she loses her friend’s job on accident . . . and before Ellis’ mad escapade is over, she’ll discover that laws can’t be broken without consequence and the role of a lifetime can sometimes be found right at home.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
In your favorite bricks-and-mortar or on-line bookstore. I’m on Facebook as Siri Mitchell, on Pinterest as SiriMitchell, and on Twitter @SiriMitchell and I would love it if readers would visit my website at http://sirimitchell.com I’ve put up some special links there to share the story behind the story.