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 Sibella Giorello is Mike Duran! My assistant Amy will be in touch for your mailing address.
If you missed Vannetta’s interview on Amish Wisdom – listen here.
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
Bob and I share 4 children together, and yes they are all grown. I recently was held back from DANCING across the collegiate stage as our last graduated, ending 14 years of college tuition. You can see why I would want to dance. I’m always happy to answer questions about family though, because family is integral to everything we do, right Suzanne? Our oldest daughter, Jordyn is a pharmacist. Next is Yale who is a veterinarian. His twin sister Kylie is a special needs girl – we’re so proud of her. She recently moved into a new group home, which was a big step for the entire family. Then our youngest is Cody, and he recently graduated with a BS in Business and is on the job hunt. (Contact me if you know of an open position anywhere in the continental US).
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
All four of my contracted books are Amish, and I have adored researching and writing about this special group in our society. I write Amish romance for Abingdon Press and Amish cozies for Zondervan. However, I’ve also written Christian romantic suspense and even Christian historicals which we’re still shopping around!
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
I started writing for publication after receiving my MA in English. At that time I was a single mom in my 30s teaching full time, and I didn’t see a lot in Christian magazines that spoke to what single moms were going through. I had a wise professor who said if you wanted to be published, listen to the “conversation,” listen for what isn’t being said, and then jump in – so that’s what I tried to do. I ended up publishing over 100 articles for magazines such as Homeschool Today, Christian Family Life, Single Parent Family, Evangel, etc. Some of those can still be found on my website at http://www.vannettachapman.com/Articles.html. After 5 years of writing articles though, the novel bug hit. That was six years ago, and A Simple Amish Christian is my first inspirational 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?
I’m a big fan of Margie Lawson and have taken many of her courses. She started me in the habit of writing a gratitude journal first thing each morning. It’s very short-just 5 things I’m grateful for, then my goals for the morning. So my routine is up at 5 a.m., start the coffee (brew it strong), do a little yoga to work the kinks out, then write in my journal. By 5:20 I’m at the keyboard,and I write until 7:00 when I head for the shower. I can be ready for work in 25 minutes. So I manage almost 2 hours in the morning, and then I try for another 2-3 in the evenings.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
It would be hard for me to describe how much of a help and a supporter my agent has been. She’s a wonderful Christian woman, so I trust her advice on many levels. She also represents many of the most successful writers in Christian fiction, which helps me to know that she’s been down this road with others. I think an agent is first and foremost your advocate. I might go 6 or 8 weeks without talking to mine, but then we might correspond 3 or 4 times in one day if necessary. At contract time she thinks to negotiate things that it would never occur to me to ask for – like extra author copies or a change in what exclusivity a publisher has. I really cannot say enough how much my agent has helped me. I will say that during our first two years together she didn’t make any money at all from our association, but she kept me as a client nonetheless.
What advice would you give to new writers?
To do those periodic gut checks at the first of every month. Take your journal, go to a quiet place, and reflect. Assess what you’ve done and what you need to do. Have you made the progress you wanted to make? Do you feel like you’re moving in the direction God would have you go? Writing success occurs in incremental steps, but six months can slip away before we’re aware of it. Also, I think it’s important to let a manuscript go at some point and move on to the next idea. A Simple Amish Christmas was my 9th completed manuscript.
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.
It’s Christmas, and Annie Weaver misses her family after leaving her Amish community to work at a distant hospital. But when she hears that her father has been gravely injured in a buggy accident, she rushes home to care for him. Her passion for healing catches widower Samuel Yoder’s attention. Will she also capture his heart?
What’s on the book horizon for you?
A 3 book Amish mystery series set in Shipshewana, Indiana.
Two women, a quilt, and a dead body. Will Shipshewana ever be the same?
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Facebook and myspace
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
Thank you, Suzanne! By the way, your book The Waiting arrived yesterday from the little UPS man, and I can’t wait to read it!
Listen to Vanetta’s October 7th interview on “Amish Wisdom!” She’s as warm and funny in person as she is on the written page!