We’re going to try something a little different here this year, and I’m introducing some author interviews. These interviews, however, focus more on the craft of writing: how do people do it and what have they learned through the publishing process. I hope this will encourage you as well as give you an inside-look at what it’s really like!
Kicking off our interviews is author and editor Denise Weimer.
Denise, thanks for your willingness to appear on my blog! I’m looking forward to sharing your knowledge and advice with the rest of the world (at least with the small portion of it that follows my blog). What genre do you write? How did you pick it?
I’m a hybrid genre writer, having published contemporary and historical romance as well as time slip and romantic suspense novels, mostly set in my home state of Georgia. I was a huge history buff and living historian as a young adult, so it was natural that I’d start writing historicals. At one point, my agent encouraged me to try a contemporary romance since those often prove easier to place. My main story in my dual time period Restoration Trilogy had been modern, and I’d enjoyed writing it, so out came Fall Flip (September 2019), Spring Splash (March 2020) and Traces (March 2020).
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
Historical eastern frontier romances. What a thrilling time for America. I often imagine the virgin forests, the native peoples, the early wars for ownership, and the many challenges of surviving and thriving in the nation’s backcountry. The conflict is right there, ripe for many stories!
How long did it take you complete your first manuscript (published or not)?
I wrote my first published novella, Redeeming Grace, when my younger daughter would take naps. Not long after, I began The Georgia Gold Series, four historical fiction novels set in Northeast Georgia and Savannah in the mid-1800s. I researched a year before I started writing. Then it took me about three more years to write what would become four novels of the series.
Have your follow-up novels been easier or harder to write? Why do you think that is?
Thankfully, easier, because I learned how to focus my research and know when to stop and start writing. I’ve since been trained and now work as an editor, which has really helped tighten my writing in early drafts. My last historical was researched and written in six weeks. That astonished even me.
What’s surprised you the most about the book-publishing process?
How vital authors are to each other. From endorsements to shared promotions to collections to introductions, they are key in opening doors and providing support.
What’s been the most challenging part of getting a book published?
Finding the path that could put my work in front of traditional and larger publishers. For me, it involved group blogging that led to participating in a collection that led to an agent. Now that I have several individual books out with houses recognized in Christian publishing, the next challenge has been building social media connections and sales numbers. Marketing is always a daunting task.
What’s your favorite part of the publishing experience?
Possibly the cover design process. It’s such a thrilling moment to see your book cover for the first time, like putting a face to a name. I love that LPC gives authors some input into their covers. When it all comes together, the cover reflects several elements of your story and offers an enticing package for potential readers.
For learning the writing craft, which do you prefer – books or conferences?
If you could recommend one writing conference, what would it be?
If you could recommend one writing book, what would it be?
If I may answer the three questions above in one … My path has been a little different where writing craft books and conferences have been concerned. Instead of either, my pattern became learning from mentors: my first publisher, Wendy Dingwall of Canterbury House; my agent, Linda S. Glaz of Hartline Literary; other authors and editors; and finally, my senior-ME, Pegg Thomas at Smitten Historical Romance, and editing training with you, Karin, at the PEN Institute.
That said, Pegg and I do recommend books on self-editing and writing deep POV to budding authors who submit to our historical imprints, and conferences are wonderful. I’ve attended and gotten to be on faculty at the North Georgia Christian Writers’ Conference. While finances have needed to be directed elsewhere in our family up to this point, I hope to attend the Blue Ridge Conference in the near future. And maybe when it comes closer to Georgia again, ACFW!
If you could pick any of your novels to be made into a movie, which one would you pick? Who would you want to play the lead roles, and why?
I’m not very good with assigning actors and actresses to roles from my novels, but if I had to pick a novel to be made into a movie, it would be my novella in the Backcountry Brides Collection, Across Three Autumns. My heroine, Jenny White, is a strong frontier woman who holds off British and Native Americans from her home during the Revolutionary War. And my hero, a Scottish scout for Elijah Clark, is swoon-worthy.
For a full-length novel, that historical I mentioned above as having been written in six weeks, working title Bent Tree Bride, would make a great movie. It’s about a mixed-blood lieutenant in the Cherokee Regiment who struggles to reconcile the scholar and warrior within him while fighting Red Stick Creeks during the War of 1812—and trying to avoid falling in love with his white colonel’s feisty daughter. But first, I have to pray it finds a home with the right publisher.
Thank you so much for appearing on my blog! Have a blessed day!
Thank you for having me!
Spring Splash: When an injury sidelines college swimmer Anna Callaway, her dreams are crushed. She pours herself into her sports marketing practicum, helping a local special needs organization promote their athletic event. What she doesn’t expect is a swim team ripe for the Special Olympics—and their handsome but stubborn coach.
Craig Holt has dealt with eager and ignorant volunteers before. No matter how determined or persuasive uptight Anna might be about coaching his team to the Special Olympics, he has no intention of allowing her to raise the hopes of his swimmers, his sister, or his guarded heart.
Then Anna herself gets a second chance at becoming a champion. Will she pursue her lifelong goals or make room for a new dream?
Traces: When a failed romance and a $500,000 prize lure Kate Carson into participating in the reality TV show, Traces, the least she expects is to pick her partner. After all, she’s the PR spokeswoman of the company that derived a thirteen-lens, rotating camera from military use and installed it atop Atlanta’s tallest skyscraper. But she never would have chosen to evade techno hunters for twenty days with “G.I. Joe.”
Stoic, ex-military Alex Mitchell is the sort of man she always vowed to avoid, while the shadows of Alex’s past cause him to spurn emotional involvement. When Kate’s insider knowledge makes her a target of someone more threatening than game show hunters, Alex offers her only hope to reveal the dark plans of proponents of The Eye.