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 Joan Wolf is Catherine Rose! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week debut novelist Catherine Richmond is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Catherine’s book, Spring For Susannah, 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?
Thanks for having me on your blog, Suzanne! I live on the Richmond Rabbit Ranch in Nebraska with my husband and keeshond-collie mix, Dakota. We have a daughter in med school and a son in journalism school. I am blessed to work as an occupational therapist.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
Spring for Susannah is a historical romance.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I was busy raising my family and working as an O.T., when a song sparked a story that would not be denied. Being a published author is “exceeding abundantly above all I could ask or think!” -Ephesians 3:20
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
Twenty years! The first draft was written in pencil in spiral notebooks leftover from my children’s schoolwork.
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 don’t like the taste of coffee, but I love the smell. You’ll catch me inhaling in the grocery store, especially if someone’s grinding coffee beans. Diet Coke is my caffeine of choice. I usually put on an instrumental CD to get started. When the weather’s nice, I take my laptop and dog out on the porch to write. I try for a thousand words each day. On the rare days when the work flows well, I’ll finish by 3 pm.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
My mom is a big help, but not as a first draft reader. She’s a Virginia history librarian. I grew up near Washington, DC. When I wasn’t hanging out at the library, I was visiting the Smithsonian or Mt. Vernon. I couldn’t have asked for better preparation for writing historical novels.
The second biggest help has been Nebraska Novelists. The discipline of producing five polished pages each week, of giving and receiving critiques, has been invaluable. And the creativity of the other writers helps fuel my imagination.
RWA and ACFW keep me up to speed on changes in the industry, with everything from contract terms to changes in Facebook contest policies.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
Don’t you think our contracts should come with maid service? One of the items on my to-do list is to call Cyndy Salzmann, America’s Clutter Coach, for a consultation. I don’t have time to be disorganized anymore!
What are your biggest distractions?
People who had thought of my writing days as their “shopping day.” Tough love and use of the answering machine have solved the problem.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
Now is the best! The worst had to be a rejection letter that asked if I ever read any books – ouch!
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
Deadlines. I’m compulsively thorough with research. With a deadline, I’ve had to be more focused, to research only what the story needs.
What is the role and importance of an agent?
Spring for Susannah would have never been published without Sandra Bishop. She tracked me down while I was on vacation without my laptop. While taking her son to the doctor, she made the changes the publisher asked for and sent the manuscript back in time to secure the contract.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Don’t quit your day job, but do look for work that doesn’t consume all your time and energy.
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.
Spring for Susannah is a mail-order bride story, about a timid woman who is surprised by love.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
My second book, Relying on Sophia, is about a missionary to the Ponca tribe. It shows the events leading up to the landmark civil rights trial that declared an Indian is a person. I’m excited to share this important bit of history with readers. My research connected five people involved in the trial with one church – what a message of empowerment to God’s people!
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)
Thank you, Suzanne!
To celebrate her debut novel, Catherine and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away a Spring For Susannah Prize Package worth over $150!
One grand prize winner will receive:
* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen
* Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond (for KINDLE)
To enter just click one of the icons below and then tell your friends! But hurry, giveaway ends on June 27th. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 28th at 5 PM (6PM MST, 7PM CST, & 8PM EST) during Catherine’s Spring for Susannah Book Club Party on Facebook! Catherine is rustling up some fun for the party – she’ll be chatting about the story behind her novel, hosting a book club chat, testing your mail-order bride trivia skills, and giving away some GREAT prizes! Don’t miss the fun and tell your friends!