What is your book about?
A young woman inherits all from her uncle, but only after she meets specific conditions he impossed in his will. Her uncle may have intended to help her even from the grave to find certain things in her life and to help and protect her . . . but the things he had no way of knowing, might be more than the woman could survive. Mystery and suspense build as she must find a way to expose the truth before something even more devious and sinister overwhelms her.
There is more to learn about life than simple survival. Lara finds many things before she finds her way on her journey home . . . if she lives through it.
How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?
In less than a week I had begun to write. This is the first novel I wrote and was almost spontaneous. It started as a short story and I loved it so much that it did not end for over 500 pages. The final page count is less now.
My daughter had a school assignment to write a short story. She had waited until the last minute before desparately announcing how much it counted for her final grade and that there was no way she could do it. I had always loved to write things such as poetry, essays and a few other things. She looked to me with pleading eyes.
I explained to her that I knew she could do it. When she claimed she had no idea how to even begin and announced it was impossible I had to laugh. I told her “We have been doing it for years. Every time we light up a bonfire and get out the hot dogs, do you not remember sitting around talking? When we played our little game of pass it on… we were making short stories together.” I would start with a phrase such as “In a place that had woods just like those you see out back, there was a boy/girl Who walked down a path just like that one. Way back in the woods can you imagine what she/he saw?” I would then point to one of the children and it was their turn. When they got to a point they felt was just right they would in turn choose another and the story went on.
As I explained to her that she could do it, a big smile came to her face and she began to convince me to do what I had told her . . . write. She believed in me and my husband joined the conversation sharing his enthusiasm and confidence in me. I was right that she could do whatever she put her mind to and they were right that I could do more than I had ever dreamed.
How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?
I thought about who, what, and then what if? Who could this be about? What is going on? What if this or that? What is the character like? How would they react and then on and on…what would the cosequences be? What does it look like, sound like, feel like, smell like? It is almost an accidental or spontaneous process that evolves as I write.
What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?
I want it to be a story they will remember and enjoy. I want it to be interesting, intriguing, something they can feel they know the characters and can be there in the story,… hear, feel, see and even fear…what may be outside looking in. I want them to enjoy it to the very end and remember it even longer than that.
What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?
Life got in the way. When you are raising a family there are many things that make writing the book less of a priority. An almost fatal accident made existance difficult and the idea of finishing the book only a distant dream. I did not give up but when I had the story completed I could see it was still not finished. It needed more. It needed more than I could give.
I enrolled in a class at Arkansas State University and doors opened giving me a new enthusiasm I had never felt with the feeling that I could . . . I could do it. They taught me so much and they helped me to learn to learn. I have always believed that we should learn in everyday and all that we do. The class helped me to view things in more than one way and to use that in what I was working on.
I went home after the second class and rewrote the entire novel.
What was the most difficult part about writing the book?
Editing. It is difficult for me to edit and asses what things need change or to be kept at all. Is the ending predictable? Is it too obvious or possibley unrealistic? Are the characters believable? Can the reader see and hear what is going on or does it need more? Is there too much description and the story drags? I wrote it so it is hard for me to be able to asses many things about the story.
Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?
It gave me the confidence to believe I can. It freed me to be able to write and write and have dreams be real. It opened a door and I will go forward and not give up.
What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
I would love to be more organized but everything that I do is little at a time. I can not sit long periods so I come and go. I can not stand for long either but I alternate with things I am trying to do. I have so many ideas for stories, books, paintings, and more that flood my mind and I try to not only organize those by making notes of them but also make time to answer those who contact me, help others as I can and promote the books. I had started a writer’s group and it is so wonderful to see people taking time to help one another. I have met some that consider other writers as their competition, or if you do things differently or publish differently they take exception. I think we are all people trying our best in life and if we can use a little understanding and compassion we are all better for having made the effort. The writer’s group has progressed to a point where I am going to try a mentor format allowing individules with similar needs to focus more directly with one another. Those things all take time so I do the best that I can. Some days I can write more than I can type and others it is whatever I can do for the day.
What are you working on right now?
Two things. I am working on the final edits and cover for the new novel You Can Call Me Danny. I am also about to start the next Children’s book and do all of the illustrations that I am cowriting with my 6 year old grandson. He has come up with an amazing story line and I think together we can make it work. It may sound odd to want to write a story with a child that young but a good story is a good story and I love this one.
Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?
I would love to be able to write for all readers. I want to be able to have a book that you will love if you love to read. I want to write books that will inspire a person to read more just to find out how it ends. I may not be able to do all of that in the same book, but I have only just begun. Every book that I have written so far is different. It is not that I have planned to force them to be different, but there are so many stories that flood my mind I can hardly wait to write them.
What is the easiest part of the writing process?
The easiest part is coming up with the ideas. I can think of a dozen story ideas then I have to find the time to write, work, develop and refine to make them into books.
What advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Never give up. Believe in yourself and do not give up. There will be so much to learn and so much to do. There will be many things you had no idea about but you can do it…
Enjoy what you are doing. There may be times you feel pressed and have to do this or have to do…. at least think you do….that. If you love to write let that love grow and enjoy what you are doing instead of having to do what is required.
Be realistic and know or research to understand whatever it is you are working or trying to do remembering to always think for yourself. I have learned so much from so many people but understand there are times that what is best for one may not work for all.
I cannot designate a certain time or amount of pages or words I write per day. If I did, I would constantly suffer failure and disappointment. Others may need that structured objective to keep them on track. Each can find what works for them. Know your limitations but do not let limitations prohibit your growth. You can do so much if you never give up.
Have you written any other books?
The first book I published was the second book I wrote. I had others that I had started and in mind too. It is Life Goes On. I then published Journey Home. The third book is one that is near and dear to the hearts of many in the family and friends. The children’s book The Pumpkin Field that I wrote and illustrated. I was and am working on the novel You Can Call Me Danny and also one that I am not sure of the title for as yet. I have the story but it has a ways to go before it is ready. In all of that I got the desire so strongly to write a nonfiction book. I gave it a title that is too long but seemed right for what I had written. I Will Not Give Up . . . Not Today . . . Life Is A Journey. That story is . . . me. It is something I chose to share and hope that if it helps another it will have succeeded and be the special writing I tried so desparetly to accomplish. To find words for some things I had never had words to describe and words for feelings was difficult.
You can request my books from most book stores and many places on line. I will include some of the links to CreateSpace and Amazon. All of the books are available on Amazon and there will soon be another addition. I am only a cover away and it is a story uniquely connected.
Each of my books are of different genre. Journey Home was reciently in a promotion. Of all of the books available at that time I could only dream it would make the top 100 of a category it related to. It made it to #2 and #15 in two different categories for the same book. I felt such an excitement.
I wanted to be able to reach out with what I write and have a voice. I want to try to make a difference. It could be in something the reader relates to or some way it touches them. It could just be that for that time they could relax and enjoy something to read. When I saw that my books are in all different countries and how many people are beginning to share what I have worked to create . . . it makes me smile…it lets me feel as if I have a voice and could almost sing and an arm that can reach beyond these walls and this place to feel free.
What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?
Never Give up . . . Not Today
CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/3506777
Amazon E-book http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Home-ebook/dp/B0054GLX92/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2
The fanpage has many things and links I share but also pictures…. Of many things. I have even included some of the paintings I did when working on some of the covers for the books and coloring pages to go with the children’s book.
I invite you to join me with the blog I have been working on… More Than Just A Story In A Book http://linda-nance.blogspot.com/