John Vonhoff, host of Writers and Authors On Fire, interviews CAN members

Writers and Authors On Fire Podcast

Host, John Vonhoff, discusses writing, writing life, writing lessons, and the best tips to be a successful author with his guests.

Listen to episodes below by clicking on the link.

 

  • Cheri Cowell is an accomplished author, speaker, and owner of EABooks Publishing.
  • Dr. Michelle Bengtson is the author of Hope Prevails, a book about depression.
  • Sydney Avey writes literary fiction about the human experience.
  • Jane Daley has written two nonfiction books about life’s hard issues.
  • Sherry Kyle is an author of novels for women and books for tween girls.
  • Crystal Bowman is a children’s author with over 100 books written.
  • Torry Martin is a Christian sketch writer/scriptwriter, who also writes humor and nonfiction books.
  • Mona Hodgson Historical fiction and children’s book author talks about these two exciting genres.
  • Karen Whiting is an author of 21 books and 600+ articles, and writes for children, moms, and families.
  • Sarah Sundin Author of WWII historical romance fiction.
  • Angela Breidenbach writes historical and contemporary romance and non-fiction is intent on growing.
  • Kathy Ide Editor and nonfiction author.
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Blessed Good Friday to you all from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailgaymermartin.com.

Today is a special day for Christians and since this happens to be my day to share a post on writing, I want to send a message of the joy of the Resurrection which we will once again experience on Easter Sunday.

I have been blessed to have been given an amazing career as a writer of Christian fiction, and in my days of creating stories that I hope will touch your hearts, I have learned so much about writing stories readers can enjoy.

Unless you are a seasoned writer, most people do not  understand the amount of detail and craft that goes into being a writer, and most people do not sell their first novel. I did, but not before it went through “refining fire.”

I knew nothing about writing fiction when I began to write. My first romance novel began with the death of the heroine’s husband, traveled through months of her grief, and on page 102 she met the hero. The book was rejected numerous times until I realized that a romance begins with the meeting of the hero and heroine within the first couple of pages. I also learned a story starts at the point of change—not the husband’s death, but the heroine’s new beginning. With the advice of a few kind writers who knew about writing fiction, I had to cut one-hundred glorious pages from my novel. That made all the difference, but by then the book had been rejected a number of times by most houses.

I had courageously continued to submit books and most of those were sitting on editors’ desks, waiting for rejection. In 1998, I had one new book and submitted it to Barbour Publishing. Within a few months, I heard from them. Though the editors felt that particular book would not work for their readership, they liked my voice and writing style. They asked if I had anything else. I thought of my first novel…just sitting there. I said sure I did and I would get it in the mail right away.

Right away meant doing some serious edits. At that time the completed book was seventy-five thousand words. Barbour accepts only forty-five to fifty-five thousands word count, so I had some serious cutting to do. I had learned so much more about writing by then, and I went through the manuscript tightening the story by removing useless dialogue and scenes that did not move the story forward. I cut a sub-plot and tightened my language. When I’d reached the right page count, I mailed the book in. Within eleven days, SEASONS sold to Barbour Publishing and I became a published author.

My lessons learned is continue to study and improve writing skills by honing the craft, listen to those who know the business, and understanding that tightening a novel can only make it better. Those lessons have reaped great rewards and blessings for me. Now 76 published novels and over 4 million books sold, I conclude that I finally know how to write a good book. It takes time, patience and tons of perseverance.

By improving the craft never ends. I continue to read and study writing techniques and find new ideas for ways to improve my work. Next month, I will cover what I have done when I’ve received the reversion of rights and can now republish my older books for readers who hadn’t read them years ago when they were published. My goal is to use what I have learned to this day and to make my old novels new and improved. I hope you look for this  blog on Revision of Rights.

 

(c) Gail Gaymer Martin 2017

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kathyide

Hi! I’m Kathy Ide. In addition to being a published author, I’m a full-time professional freelance editor. For CAN, I’m blogging about tips for writers based on the manuscripts I edit.

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Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman

When people find out I write books for children, their response often goes something like this: “Oh, how fun! I have always wanted to write a children’s book.” Writing for children is fun, but fun does not mean easy. And the more you learn, the harder it gets! If you are someone who wants to try writing for children, here are a few basic tips on how to get started. Read More →

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Welcome to the CAN Blog from Gail Gaymer Martin @ www.gailgaymermartin.com. Today I decided to talk about one way my writing has changed in the past few years. Although I wrote about places I knew, I didn’t worry about accuracy and often I used a fictitious location so I didn’t have to worry about accuracy.

Writing Fiction Using Real Locations

But over time, I learned if I want to write real, I needed to visit the location of my novel. While creating a fictitious location can be easier, I’ve found that fans love to read about real places since they often relate to them as a place they lived or visited. I’ve also learned real places offer bonuses as I researched.

 

Bonus 1 -Realistic Details

My writing is known for realistic characters and locations that bring my stories to life. For the last few years, I’ve used real towns for my novels. When I use a fictitious street or home description, I usually pattern it after one that is real. By researching real location, authors can take photos, note impressions, involve the senses and later can recall their reaction and experience. This can add reality to their novels. When I do Internet research, the photos and information also come to life.

Bonus 2 – Simulating Plot Ideas

While researching a town, authors can learn town history, sights, events and activities that help stimulate story ideas. Recently, I spent two days in the small town of Owosso. Though a lifelong resident of Michigan, I’ve never had reason to visit this mid-state town. My publisher, Love Inspired, enjoys stories set in rural areas and small towns, making Owosso perfect. This town has its own castle, built by a 1920s novelist, James Curwood, to use as his writing sanctuary.

With children in some of my novels, learning about Owosso’s three Playscape venues was a find. Two of these areas provide a kid’s splash pool, slides, swings, rock wall, rope brides, a pavilion and gazebo.  One Playscape is located at the DeVries Nature Conservatory and gives children opportunities to study nature in a hands-on activities. Owosso also has a sled hill for winter fun. The town has a Steam Railroading Institute, an art gallery, a conference center, sleigh museum, community actors and theater, numerous community festivals and events, and a nearby town that has a historic village.  People can roller skate, bowl and shop in a four street area, and the town is filled with restaurants and churches. All of these features triggered ideas for novels in the Lilac Circle Series.

Bonus 3 – Making Contacts

The Chamber of Commerce is the location of the woman who is in charge of all city events. She graciously took me on a tour of some of the cities features. We drove through residential areas where I located the street I called Lilac Circle, featuring characters from my series. We went to the nearby town of Corunna to visit their Playscape in McCurdy Park where characters will find Sled Hill, the historic village and the county Courthouse which is part of the first book, Unexpected Mommy, a 2015 release. Through my contact I learned about holiday events and their details, such as: Christmas, Easter egg hunt, 4th of July celebration and other unique city festivals and celebrations.

I also learned the local newspaper is privately owned and is open to carrying local articles that would interest the town’s residence. I am hopeful I can receive some press when my book series is released. Another contact was the Owosso Bookstore where they are interested in carrying my books when released. I offered to do a book signing.  These personal contacts provide individuals to call for answers to question not found through research.

Bonus 4 – Tax Deductible

The cost for a research trip is travel expenses which are tax deductible. The benefits are high: realism, idea stimulation, contacts and the ability to feel, taste, touch, smell, hear and see the location of your story.

Yes, you can fabricate a town, and you must if it’s speculative, but visiting a town is a far greater investment especially for contemporary fiction, as well as historical fiction which is heightened by walking the fields of Gettysburg, exploring a real plantation, seeing migrant workers and where they live. How can a writer imagine looking at Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower or riding in a gondola on the Grand Canal without experiencing it? I have, and so could you.

(c) Gail Gaymer Martin 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

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