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 Regina Jennings is Mippy! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week Kim Vogel Sawyer is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her book, Song of My Heart, 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 wife to recently retired-military husband Don, mom to three adult daughters, gramma to nine of the most adorable children to ever grace the world, and official petter of four demanding cats. Writing is my full-time ministry, which is the fulfillment of a childhood dream, so I consider myself blessed in numerous directions.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I write predominantly historical fiction, which correlates nicely with my previous occupation of history teacher. Climbing through a porthole into past decades is so much fun. But I also enjoy the occasional contemporary story incorporating my Mennonite heritage. Let’s face it–I just flat-out like to write. :o)
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
Sometimes I hesitate to answer questions like this because I never want my reply to be a discouragement to prospective writers, but in all honesty I began writing seriously in the early 1980s after years of dreaming of becoming an author. I submitted my first manuscript in 1992 (not including the one I sent in 1972…I was only 11 *grin*) and played the send-it-out/get-it-back game with publishers for two years. The rejection eventually crushed me and I stopped submitting until 2002, when my dad insisted I needed to try again. Still reluctant to face more rejection (rejection hurts, you know!), I dragged my feet, so he contracted with American Christian Writers Press to self-publish my first novel. The reader feedback gave me encouragement and I began attending writers’ conferences. I secured an agent in 2003, signed ten contracts between March and November of 2005, and I resigned my teaching position to write full-time in May of 2006. So it wasn’t a short journey, but when the time was right, God pretty much drop-kicked me into writing. I try very hard to perform this task to the best of my ability to honor Him for the wonderful doors He opened for me.
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 would have to say 1) Bible study and prayer before opening my computer screens; 2) chocolate close at hand for a quick flavonoid boost; and 3) a purring cat on my lap providing company. I do my best writing in my wonderful office, probably because I’m very structured. When I used to step into my classroom, I went into “teaching mode.” Now I step into my office and go into “writing mode.” I spend as many hours a day in my office as I did in my classroom. The difference is no grading papers in the evening!
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)
There are so many things that weren’t what I expected. I assumed I would write the book, turn it in, it would be printed just as I submitted it, and my part of the work would be done. There’s much more to writing than writing! There’s editing, and marketing, and networking, and speaking, and teaching, and….. I was surprised by how much of my time was consumed by things other than adding words to a manuscript. It’s definitely a balancing act, but I’ve come to enjoy every aspect of publishing.
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
The best moment was being able to call my dad and tell him I’d secured a contract–such a dream-come-true moment for both of us. A close second was receiving word that Janette Oke had agreed to endorse my first historical from Bethany House. I literally forgot to breathe for several seconds when that news arrived. :o) Worst moment? Losing Mom Sawyer before the release of the book (Song of My Heart) where “she” appeared briefly as a very secondary character. She would have gotten such a tickle at seeing her name in the story, and I wish so much I’d shared the manuscript with her before she passed away.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Think P-P-P. First of all, be professional in your dealings both face-to-face and on-line. Even before you’re published, you’re developing relationships in the publishing world and you want people to think of you favorably. One never regrets behaving professionally but one can certainly regret not doing so. :o) Second, be patient. This industry moves slowly, and it can be frustrating to wait in this “hurry up and get it now” world, but practicing patience will serve you well in the long run. Third, and most important, be prayed up. Publishing is demanding and can take a real toll. You’ll need strength to meet the responsibilities, so learn to lean into His strength and write for Him first. You’ll be a better writer (and Christian!) because of it.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
This summer, my first contemporary with Bethany House, When Hope Blossoms, will release. I’m excited about it and hope readers will enjoy it. Two more historicals–A Home in Drayton Valley and Sweet Sanctuary–will follow. Beyond that…I’m waiting to see what God has planned. :o)
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Feel free to pop by my website (www.KimVogelSawyer.com) for information and purchasing links. And of course ask at any local bookseller!
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleeders)
Thank you for the opportunity!