It’s not too late to start writing your first novel. By the time my debut novel will be published, I will be almost 43. If you have ever had that dream of writing a book, do it. Don’t put it aside. Start writing now.
Jordanian-American author Natasha Tynes worked as a journalist in the Middle East for over a decade before writing her first fiction novel. We chat to her about how she stopped thinking about writing and begun actually doing it, the unusual way she found her publisher and why she doesn’t believe in writers’ block.
I thought, I want to do that. I want to write stories that evoke emotions in readers. I know this sounds oversimplified, but after that, I just sat down and started writing. I think storytelling has always been inside me. I just didn’t know I wanted to write down the stories I told myself in my head.
Karen Kutcher knows a thing or two about perseverance. It took her four novels and eight years to land an agent. It was another two years of waiting before she was able to hold her first published book in her hands. We chat to her about her writing routine (with thinking time scheduled in), the ongoing juggle of family life and how Oprah inspired her to start writing.
You need to celebrate the small wins, like an agent request or personalized feedback from an editor, because that really carries you through the constant rejection.
YA author Jennifer DiGiovanni thrives on a challenge; from taking up a new hobby (under the guise of book research), to running a small business and co-writing a book with a friend. We talk to her about finding the best time of day to write, seeking out writing mentors and her ‘soft’ approach to book marketing.
If you want to be a writer, then be a writer…Write every day (even if it’s only 100 words), read every day, and focus on the big goals.
Marketing director Karma Brown thought making the leap from copywriting to novel writing would be relatively simple. It turned out to be much harder than she thought and it wasn’t until her forties that she became a published author. Now working on her fourth fiction novel, with a non-fiction book also in the works, she chats to us about early morning writing, her three-step strategy for staying motivated and crying over scenes in Starbucks.
Not only does a debut need to be well-written, it also needs to have a stand-out premise that will entice readers to try a new author and the visibility and promotion to get it on people’s radars in the first place.
Patricia Nelson was always a voracious reader and went to graduate school to be an English professor before realizing her dream job was to become a literary agent. In this insightful interview she fills us in on what authors can do to stand out in a crowded market, her advice for authors seeking representation and when it’s the best time for authors to begin querying.
I’ve met a lot of writers who decline any sort of advice because it wounds their egos. My advice is to lean into that kind of criticism because a) it will make you a better writer and b) prepare you for a traditional publishing career where you get edited or c) show you that there is a better path for you to express your creativity.
Atlanta-based suspense author Emily Carpenter knows a thing or two about perseverance. She made the leap to novel writing from a screenwriting background, only to have her first manuscript rejected 162 times. Although that first manuscript now lives permanently in a drawer she has gone on to become a best-selling author. We catch up with her to talk about how her screenwriting background continues to shape her outlining process, the importance of unbiased criticism and the worst writing advice she has ever received.
I’m still regularly tweaking my writing process even after ten years of writing professionally. So learn all you can, be open to feedback and advice but also pay attention to how your creative mind is best served. You are your own science experiment.
Romance author Roni Loren put aside writing to be ‘practical’ in college but it came back with a vengeance several years later. We chat to her about the challenges of not being a fast writer, knowing when your book is ready for publication and her maximum productivity writing routine.
Learning to tell a story deeply and develop characters takes years of practice, so if you want to be a serious writer then give yourself the gift of that learning curve.
When Soniah Kamal, an award-winning essayist and fiction author, was asked to speak at TEDx she talked about regrets and second chances. She explained how being denied her first dream of becoming an actress lead to the flourishing of her second – becoming an author. We chat to Soniah about waiting for inspiration, being a good literary citizen and the ever-changing nature of leading a literary life.
My mentor told all of her students that if we hadn't sent at least fifty queries we hadn't even tried… I ended up sending fifty-five in total and my agent was the fifty-first agent I'd queried.
Thriller author Mindy Mejia told herself she would write at least one great book before she died. So far she has written three. We chat to her about her long road to securing a literary agent, writing to process fears and maintaining daily motivation.
My first book took me three years to complete and was out on submission for a year and never sold. It was devastating and demoralizing and caused me to listen to a lot of Norah Jones on repeat, while drinking tequila, but looking back I realize it was just part of the process.
Colleen Oakley doesn’t avoid heavy topics. Her books cover the spectrum of the human experience from life to death with all the highs and lows in between. A former magazine editor, about to publish her third book, we caught up with Colleen to talk about perseverance, the importance of speaking up and her number one trick for staying motivated to write every day.
Writing was something I’ve always loved in theory, but it felt like a pipe dream. Beyond the shaky economics of the profession, writing meant putting myself out there in ways that can be really, really uncomfortable. Writing a story and sending it out into the world is a humbling, unnerving, terrifying thing. Did I really want to roll over and show the world my underbelly? Did I dare?
For Kimberly Belle losing her job, in the financial crisis of 2008, was a now or never moment when she could either look for another job or write the novel she had always dreamt of writing. She chose the novel and is now a bestselling domestic suspense author. We catch up with her to talk about her intensive outlining process, maintaining life-work balance and the number one trick to keep readers turning pages.
One of the best things you can do to market your book is to write the next one. That way there’s always something for a reader to look forward to.
Patricia Tighe was always a voracious reader, yet she didn’t start writing fiction until she was almost thirty. Since then she has published six YA romance novels and is currently working on a YA contemporary. She fills us in on generating word-of-mouth book buzz, studying the craft of writing and the importance of having supportive critique partners.
Write for yourself. If you are writing the book you want to read that passion will shine through and it will help you stay motivated to get the writing done.
Briana Morgan is a YA horror and fantasy writer, playwright and freelance editor. She loves dark, suspenseful reads with angst-ridden relationships and complicated characters. We caught up with her to talk about the comparison trap, counterintuitive book marketing tactics and the surreal experience of having her play brought to life.
Read like your dream depends on it. Because it does. Read, read, read. Get a library card and read every book in your genre. You’ll pick up on subtle writing tips that you don’t even realize.
YA Author Cheyanne Young spent a decade working as a mechanical engineer before turning her attention to swoon-worthy love interests. We talk about how J.K. Rowling´s outlining method started her writing journey, the challenges of being a full-time author and her tips for slime-free book marketing.
If you have a story that intrigues you and the desire to tell it – take the leap. This has honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Despite having a successful media career at a young age, for Mel Greenberg writing a book involved facing her biggest fear. Now having confronted and triumphed over self-doubt with the release of her debut novel, we catch up with Mel to talk about her grass-roots approach to book marketing and unexpected reader responses.
When I was nineteen, I lost a job that I thought I'd have forever and was totally crushed about it. I went to the library hoping to comfort myself with a big stack of books. When one of the books didn't end how I felt certain it would, it was like a light switch went off in my head. I realized for the first time that I was capable of writing my own story… It all came on very suddenly and out of nowhere, but it also felt very right.
Ever since she was little, Amy Lukavics was intrigued by horror books and movies. Yet it wasn't until an unexpected job loss that she realized that she could write her own stories. Now with a string of books, and literary award nominations, to her name she talks to us about the rollercoaster ride of publishing, including a catastrophic book rewrite that ended up being the being the biggest learning curve of her career.
Try not to compare your success with others. It’s way too easy to see someone’s books hitting lists or winning awards or getting star reviews and movie deals and feel dejected because your book didn’t… Success isn’t the same thing for everyone. Work hard and celebrate every good thing that comes your way.
After a year of querying her first book Abigail Johnson had given up hope. Discouraged, she resolved to shelve the project and move on. The following day a literary agent contacted her with a full request and within a few months her book was sold. Now awaiting the publication of her third YA novel, Abigail talks to us about the inspiration behind her books, a unique postcard book promotion campaign and finding a balance between writing and life.
Keep writing! Rewrite and edit and write a dozen more stories on top of it all. There’s honestly no better way to improve than to practice. It isn’t a fast process, but it doesn’t have to be! Just write and then write some more.
Australian author C. G. Drews grew up surrounded by books, so it was only natural that she would eventually want to write her own. With her debut novel launching last month we caught up with her to talk about breaking into the online writer community, self-doubt and how rejection makes her consider a career in cake testing.
Keep going. I think sometimes it can be easy to get stuck. I felt that way when I was revising and revising my first book. It helped to work on something new.
A third-generation native Arizonan, YA author Kelly deVos writes about strong, capable, feminist heroines. Following the success of her debut YA novel we catch up to talk about confidence, how she made the journey back to writing and making ALL the querying mistakes.
At one point I thought I would never be an author. It was my dream, but I doubted I’d ever achieve it. But then I got serious. I turned my dream into a plan, and my plan into a goal, and now I’ve written five novels. You can do this – just believe in yourself, and never give up.
Natalia Leigh almost gave up writing after a crushing rejection from her writing professor. Her determination severely tested, she persevered eventually publishing her first YA novel. She swings by WildMind Creative today to talk about overcoming rejection, establishing a writing routine that works for you and making book marketing fun.