Congratulations to the winner of last week’s Author Spotlight, JOY GIBSON. Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.

Welcome Callie Smith Grant, editor of The Horse of My Heart, to Author Spotlight! Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win a copy of Callie’s newest release.

9780800723347Introduce us to you as an author: When did you get bit with the writing bug? How would you describe your writing style?

I’ve been writing most of my life. I write mostly non-fiction for both adults and young readers.

Tell us about your new release:

The Horse of My Heart is a collection of true, heartwarming stories from many other writers and myself centered on this marvelous animal. For several years, I’ve collected animal stories for anthologies published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  The first four books featured dogs or cats, and then my editor suggested horses.  We had horses when I was a child, so I readily agreed to collect stories about them.  What stunned me, however, was how much I thought I knew about horses, but actually did not.  A horse is a very physical animal companion – we ride them, care for them, and show caution around them – and contributors taught me plenty!  I found the stories about childhood horses to present day horses to people who were afraid of horses provided a variety that really pleases me. I hope it pleases the readers too!

Anything new for you on the book horizon?

I am contracted to compile a book in a year or so on dog rescue stories.

After you started writing seriously, how long was it before you were published?

I published magazine articles in my thirties and have been getting published in some regard ever since.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?

A second cup of coffee, frankly.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first-draft reader?

Writing groups and listening to professional editors.

Best author moment? Worst author moment?

Best moment: I was in a bookstore handing over my first two animal collections to the owner at the register who had asked me to sign them to someone. A woman in line I did not know and who did not know me saw the books and said to me, “You are going to love reading those books! They are fantastic!”

Low moment: A blogger said that my book was “boring.” This was a book of thirty stories by others, and I thought it was odd that absolutely none of the stories appealed to her.

Right this moment, what does your office look like?

Two computers side by side, piles of books, piles of paper, cats hanging around…

What’s one thing you learned about the publishing industry in last five years? Last year? Last six months?

It’s changing constantly.

How do you solve a grammar dilemma?

As a former English teacher, I’m not sure what a grammar dilemma would be. In one regard, things are right or they’re not; however, the language does evolve. For example, simple past tense of the word “slink” is “slank.” But nobody uses it. They incorrectly use “slunk” instead, and it’s become acceptable.

What is the smartest writing advice you ever got?

That everyone thinks they’re too busy to write — that even people in prison are too busy to write. But a writer figures it out.

Are you an introvert? Extrovert? In-between?

I’m an introvert who, when necessary, presents as an extrovert.

What drives you to succeed?

Getting paid helps tremendously.

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Callie Smith Grant is the editor of The Cat in the Window, The Dog Next Door, The Cat on My Lap, and The Dog at My Feet. She is also the author of several nonfiction books for young readers and adults as well as many animal-themed stories and poems which can be seen in Guideposts anthologies and in magazines such as Small Farmer’s Journal.

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