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 Hilary Manton Lodge is Busy Julie! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (amy@litfusegroup.com)

This week is Wanda Brunstetter is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Wanda’s latest book, Inspiring Thoughts from the Simple Life, 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’ve been married for over 40 years to my husband, Richard. We have two grown children and six grandchildren. I write fulltime from my office in our home, and my husband is a retired minister who has recently pursued his interest in Amish photography, which can now be seen on my website.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I write mostly Amish-themed novels, but I also enjoy writing some historical fiction. I’ve also written two Amish cookbooks, two Amish-themed devotionals, and nine Amish-themed children’s books.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

I began writing professionally in 1981, shortly after I finished my first writing course. However, my dream to become an author really started when I was in the second grade and wrote a poem about a moth.

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

I sold my first fiction story to a Sunday school take-home paper within the first month after I finished my first writing course. After that I sold hundreds of stories, articles, poems, puppet plays, devotionals, and some Sunday school curriculum. Then in 1997 I sold my first novel, with many more novels after that.

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 drink coffee, but I do enjoy a good cup of warm tea during the cold winter months. In the summer, a tall glass of iced tea can usually be found somewhere near my desk.

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

The biggest help for me was the writing courses I took, along with the numerous books that were recommended to me on the craft of writing. I had already begun my journey to publication when I attended my first writer’s conference, but I do feel that I benefited from attending, nonetheless.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? 

When I first started writing for publication I never dreamed that I would be expected to do book signings, speaking engagements, interviews, etc. However, I find that they are all an enjoyable part of my life, just like the numerous research trips my husband and I take every year so that my novels are as accurate as possible.

What are your biggest distractions?

Phone calls, e-mails, and household chores can all become distractions.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

There have many moments that have caused me to pinch myself, but one of the biggest and most recent was being voted Author of the Year in Family Fiction’s 2011 reader’s choice contest. One of my worst moments was the first time I got an e-mail from a reader who didn’t like one of my books. Now, I understand that receiving negative e-mails and book reviews is just one more part of being a published author.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

Sometimes keeping up with the demands can be hard, but there really isn’t anything I dislike about being an author. The thing I like most about being an author is the sense of joy and satisfaction it gives me whenever I hear from a reader who says that something in one of my books has given her a new sense of hope or helped her through a rough time in her life.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Make sure that you know as much as you can about the topic you have chosen to write about.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

I’m in the process of writing a stand-alone Amish-themed fiction novel that will release in the spring of 2012, and I’m also writing another Amish-themed children’s book that will release in June 2012.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

My books can be found at most any traditional and Christian bookstores, as well as online bookstores. More information can be obtained about me and my books at my website: www.wandabrunstetter.com

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

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