Welcome to the blog of author Kathryn Cushman!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Catching Up

Wow, it's been a really busy last few weeks. On Oct. 3 I had a book launch at The Christian Bookstore in my hometown of Lawrenceburg, TN. It was great fun. I caught up with lots of old friends, family, and people I've loved for as long as I can remember.
On October 12 I had a book signing here at the Borders in Goleta. Lots of great friends there, too (and some yummy samples from the Borders cafe. Mmm!).
Below are some pix from the Tennessee event (I forgot my camera in Santa Barbara-- sounds like me!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back from Minneapolis

I had a great time at ACFW last week. I sat in James Scott Bell's morning class, and it never ceases to amaze me that he always comes up with a new "nugget" of wisdom that is so applicable to my writing.

On Saturday, there was a book signing at the Mall of America, featuring 126 (I think that was the final count) Christian authors.

In the background you can see the gigantic media add for "Waiting for Daybreak". I'm in the foreground (wearing black) beside Lyn Cote.

This is a bigger picture of the ad.

This is a picture of "Promise to Remember", announcing that it was up for Women's Fiction Book of the Year.

BTW- Promise to Remember got third place. Woo hoo! Deb Raney won the category with "Remember to Forget". She also won 2 other categories that night for different books, and she's had movies made from her books, so I'm happy just to be on the same list with her! (Did I mention that she truly is one of the absolute SWEETEST people I've ever met?)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some fun (and rather disturbing) facts

Did you know that...

...if your cat comes walking through the house with a live bat in his mouth--yes, I said BAT (black winged rodent that looks really creepy, just so we're clear)

...and if your cat scampers outside and begins to "play" with said bat in your laundry room


...if your cat's rabies shots are up to date, he gets a booster. If they're not, well, I'm glad we didn't have to find out.

...you have to take the bat carcass into animal control for testing. FYI- they prefer that you use a glove to pick it up, and put it in an empty coffee can. Not knowing this, I used a HEAVY DUTY Ziploc bag.

Can we just say YUCK right about here!! We'll find out in a few days if Buddy the Bat had rabies. Either way, all should end well for Boots the Cat, and Buddy the Bat has gone on to his... uh... reward?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Daybreak has arrived

Hot-off-the-press copies of Waiting for Daybreak are starting to show up in the real world. Amazon.com shows it as being "in stock", and Christianbook.com shows that it will be ready to ship within the week! Woo hoo!!

Copies should be arriving on store shelves any day now. I can't wait for my first real "sighting".

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cadet Cushman, reporting for duty sir!

Well okay, I'm not exactly a cadet (space cadet not withstanding), but I am currently in the Citizen's Police Academy. This is a wonderful program that the Santa Barbara Police Department puts on a couple of times a year. We meet for a couple of hours a week, for ten weeks. Since my current work in progress involves a teenager who was arrested, this has been a really helpful--although it would be fascinating for anyone.

Last week we had a Crime Scene Investigator come in, tonight was the K-9 unit (how cool is that?). Brag, the 97 pound German Shepard, found a little teeny bag of cocaine hidden way down in a box of books, and Hondo, the mere 70 pounder, bit Brag's handler (with a training sleeve on his arm, thankfully!!), holding on so tightly that his back legs were dangling in midair when his victim tried to shake him, and he still didn't let go. Did I mention that his tail was wagging the entire time?

Brag the Dog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Traveling Rat is back!

Earlier this year, when Julie Carobini, Lauraine Snelling, Cathy Hake, and I went on a little southern California book tour (here are some of the pix from that escapade) we met a group of ladies who called their Bible study group the Yahweh Sisterhood of the Traveling Rat. They are a totally fun group of women, who have a rather large plastic rat as their mascot. Not to worry, this rat is not only housebroken, but she always dresses appropriately for any occasion :-).

It seems that the sisterhood all read A Promise to Remember as part of their summer book club-- including Reesa that rat, if this picture is to be believed. Cindy (one of the humans) tells me they had a great discussion. I wish I could have been there!! Here's to some of the nicest women -- and rats-- around!

Friday, July 18, 2008

ACFW Book of the Year Finalist

Yesterday, I was notified that A Promise to Remember is a finalist in the women's fiction category of the American Christian Fiction Writer's book of the year contest!! I am beyond thrilled!
Thanks be to God for this encouragement, just when I need it, too!
Here's the entire list of categories and finalists:

ACFW's 2008 Book of the Year Finalists

Debut Author
Bayou Justice (Robin Miller writing as Robin Caroll)
In Between (Jenny B Jones)
Sushi for One? (Camy Tang)
My Soul Cries Out (Sherri Lewis)
Petticoat Ranch (Mary Connealy)

Contemporary Novella (*six finalists due to a tie)
A Cloud Mountain Christmas (Robin Lee Hatcher)
Finally Home (Deb Raney in Missouri Memories anthology)
Mississippi Mud (DiAnn Mills in Sugar And Grits Anthology)
Moonlight & Mistletoe (Carrie Turansky in Big Apple Christmas anthology)
Remaking of Moe McKenna (Gloria Clover in the Race to the Altar anthology)
Sweet Dreams Drive (Robin Lee Hatcher)

Historical Novella
Beyond the Memories (DiAnn Mills in Mississippi Memories anthology)
Finishing Touches (Kelly Hake in Missouri Memories anthology)
Love Notes (Mary Davis in Love Letters anthology)
The Spinster & The Cowboy (Lena Nelson Dooley in Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner anthology)
The Spinster & The Tycoon (Vickie McDonough in Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner anthology)

Lits (*six finalists due to a tie)
Around the World in 80 Dates (Christa Banister)
One Little Secret (Bottke, Allison)
Renovating Becky Miller (Sharon Hinck)
Splitting Harriet (Tamara Leigh)
Sushi for One? (Camy Tang)
The Book of Jane (Dayton/Vanderbilt)

Long contemporary
Autumn Blue (Karen Harter)
Like Always (Robert Elmer)
Taming Rafe (Susan May Warren)
When the Nile Runs Red (DiAnn Mills)
Within This Circle (Deb Raney)

Long Historical (*seven finalists due to TWO ties)
Courting Trouble (Deeanne Gist)
Fancy Pants (Cathy Hake)
Lady of Milkweed Manor (Julie Klassen)
Remember Me (Maureen Lang)
Then Came Hope (Louise Gouge)
Veil of Fire (Marlo Schalesky)
Where Willows Grow (Kim Vogel Sawyer)

Days And Hours (Susan Meissner)
Death of a Garage Sale Newbie (Sharon Dunn)
Gone With The Groom (Janice Thompson)
Sticks And Stones (Susan Meissner)
Your Chariot Awaits (Lorena McCourtney)

Short Contemporary
Heart of the Family (Margaret Daley)
The Heart of Grace (Linda Goodnight)
The Perfect Blend (Allie Pleiter)
Wedded Bliss (Kathleen Y’Barbo)
When Love Comes Home (Arlene James)

Short Contemporary Suspense (*six finalists due to a tie)
Caught Redhanded (Gayle Roper)
Her Christmas Protector (Terri Reed)
Nowhere to Hide (Debby Giusti)
Pursuit of Justice (Pamela Tracy)
See No Evil (Gayle Roper)
Vanished (Margaret Daley)

Short Historical (*six due to a tie)
A Time to Keep (Kelly Hake)
A Wealth Beyond Riches (Vickie McDonough)
Canteen Dreams (Cara Putman)
Corduroy Road to Love (Lynn Coleman)
Golden Days (Mary Connealy)
To Trust An Outlaw (Rhonda Gibson

Demon: A Memoir (Tosca Lee)
DragonFire (Donita Paul)
The Restorer (Sharon Hinck)
The Restorer’s Son (Sharon Hinck)
Isle of Swords (Wayne Thomas Batson)

Abomination (Colleen Coble)
Black Ice (Linda Hall)
Coral Moon (Brandilyn Collins)
Crimson Eve (Brandilyn Collins)
Ransomed Dreams (Amy Wallace)

Women’s Fiction
A Promise To Remember (Katie Cushman)
Bygones (Kim Sawyer)
Remember to Forget (Deb Raney)
The Oak Leaves (Maureen Lang)
Watercolored Pearls (Stacy Adams)

Young Adult
In Between (Jenny B. Jones)
On The Loose (Jenny B. Jones)
Sara Jane: Liberty’s Torch (Eleanor Clark
Sarah’s Long Ride (Susan P Davis)
Saving Sailor (Renee Riva)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Home sweet ashy home

Ahhh. Evacuations are now downgraded to evacuation "warnings" for our area-- which means we all got to come home. Whew! I've never been so happy to see this place, even if it is covered in an inch of ash (which is still snowing down, depending on which way the wind is blowing).

Friday, July 4, 2008


This is a view down my street last night, as we prepared for our mandatory evacuation due to the Gap Fire. Rumor says we will remain under evacuation orders through the weekend, although our house appears to be out of immediate danger.

Riddle of the day: How many evacuees can a construction company office building hold?

Answer: A couple dozen, along with 8 dogs and 3 cats.

This is the view from my brother-in-law's driveway this morning. Miraculously (and because of some extreme firefighting), his house was saved. His next door neighbor's home was also saved, even though flames completely surrounded both houses. The firefighters were spraying the homes with flame retardant foam, then taking refuge inside the garage when the flames flared up.

More pictures of our burned out hillsides.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


This is what's happening in my neck of the woods right now. My home is not in danger at this point, but some strong winds could change that in a hurry. My brother-in-law's home is right on the fire line and in immediate danger. We are praying for calm winds, heroic firefighting, and most importantly, safety for all involved.
Last night, all of Santa Barbara lost power for a few hours. At a time like that, you realize just how dependent you are on TV, and computer, for news during a crisis.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Check this out

I have absolutely nothing interesting to say. So, as usual, I went to my friend Julie Carobini's blog for inspiration. Click here to see the cool animoto she's made about her books. Oh, to be as cool, and technologically savvy, as Julie!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Beastly Weekend

... or more accurately, a "Beauty and the Beast" weekend. My daughter's high school put on five sold-out shows over the holiday weekend (I attended two of these). It was wonderful! The acting, the singing, the sheer depth of talent was amazing. My very favorite part, however, was the way the set pieces moved so gracefully from the floor up to the rafters (okay, yeah, I admit it, my daughter was on the rigging crew). The picture to the left shows the "Crewbies" who built the sets, including my favorite builder in the white shirt, holding a bright yellow jig saw.
Be our guest, be our guest.... (those Disney songs sure stick with you).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Interview with Sharon Souza

Today, I am talking to Sharon Souza, author of Every Good and Perfect Gift. This is a terrific book, and it really ought to come with its own box of Kleenex (if you know what I mean!).

Here's the scoop: After thirty close years, Gabby and DeeDee's lifelong friendship holds no surprises. Except for one: Thirty-eight-year-old DeeDee and her husband have decided to conceive their first child. And despite their concerns and a struggle with infertility, DeeDee finally gives birth to a healthy baby. But while the friends believe they have faced their greatest challenge, an unexpected tragedy will alter their lives and relationship forever.
In the classic tradition of movies such as Beaches and Steel Magnolias, Every Good and Perfect Gift shares a heartwarming story of friendship that overcomes all odds. Filled with laughter, tears, and everything in between, Gabby and DeeDee's journey will strike a chord with female readers of all ages.

Katie: The friendship between DeeDee and Gabby was so powerful. Are you more like DeeDee or Gabby in your own life? And do you have a close friend like the other?

Sharon: I'm definitely more like Gabby. I've gained more security in who I am over the years, but I've always struggled with feelings of insecurity. I most definitely have a close friend like DeeDee, but these two women were really patterned after my daughters. It's funny, neither has the least problem identifying themselves -- though the one whose personality is like DeeDee's is certain the "character" is far more extreme than she is in real life. To which the rest of us say, "Right."

Katie: Ha! I'll just bet. What gave you the idea for this book?

Sharon: I wanted to write a story about extraordinary friendship between two women that would ultimately take me to the health crisis that I wanted to deal with. I didn't know such a thing even existed until a close friend was diagnosed. In starting the story I asked myself how does one woman show that kind of friendship to another woman? The answer: to help her have a child if she can't conceive. So I used the issue of infertility as a springboard, and that's how the story began. Amazingly, I've had a second close friend diagnosed with the same illness since writing the book. I visited with her recently after seeing her only twice in the past decade. The symptoms are painfully obvious, and more than ever I want to bring awareness.

Katie: I have to say, the diagnosis threw me. I thought I had it all figured out, and when the truth was revealed I was stunned. What would you like us to know about your friend?

Sharon: Since there are now two I'll tell you that before the illness both of them were so much fun to be with. They were gifted in many artistic ways, they loved to entertain, were very active in their church (one is a pastor's wife), were people magnets. People loved spending time with them, myself included. Suffice it so say that neither is even a shadow of their former selves, and this illness has drastically affected their families too.

Katie: What has been the greatest challenge for you as a newly published writer?

Sharon: For me, it's learning how to promote my book(s). My publisher does that to a certain degree, of course, but every published author knows that no one can promote your work like you. So I'm having to step way out of my comfort zone and promote myself and my work. That includes learning ways to get the book "out there." Blogs like yours are a tremendous help, and I so appreciate your inviting me to provide this interview.

Katie: You are so welcome (and I totally understand the out-of -the-comfort-zone with promoting part). What has been the best surprise?

Sharon: It's been really fulfilling to get emails from people I don't know, saying the book has touched them in some particular way. I've gotten a great deal of affirmation from my family and friends over the years, and that means so much, but when a completely objective person affirms your work, it strikes a different chord. I've also been blessed by the comments from fellow writers and people involved in the writing business.

Katie: Do you have more books on the horizon? Tell us what’s next?

Sharon: My next novel, Lying on Sunday, will be released September 1. It deals with infidelity and one woman's journey to find herself after betrayal. It's written in the same style as Every Good & Perfect Gift, with enough humor to temper the tough subjects.

Katie: I can't wait to read it! Thanks Sharon for stopping by!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

And the winner is....

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and registering to win a copy of Julie Carobini's most recent fabulous book! luv2read was the winner, as drawn from the hat by my ten year old daughter. Congratulations! Please send your snail mail address via email, and I'll get that copy right out to you.
Stop by next week, when I'll be talking to Sharon Souza, author of Every Good and Perfect Gift.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chat with author Julie Carobini

Today, I'm chatting with one of my very best writer friends, Julie Carobini. Here's a picture of her latest book cover. Isn't it the GREATEST? A beach chair and chocolate--ah, bliss.
I'm also giving away an autographed copy of Truffles by the Sea. Winner will be chosen at random, everyone who makes a comment is eligible. (Okay my blogger impaired readers--yes, I know who you are-- if you prefer, you can email me instead of commenting in the blog :-) )

Katie: Hi Julie, thanks for joining us today! Truffles by the Sea is the follow-up for Chocolate Beach. Do you need to have read the first one to understand the second?

Julie: Hi Katie and Bloggity Visitors!
No, you do not have to read the first book to understand the second (but it would be more fun that way :) Seriously, there is some carry over, but the stories also stand alone.

Katie: Tell us a little about Truffles by the Sea.
Julie: I'd love to! Truffles by the Sea is the story of a gal who has faced so many mini-disasters in love and life that she makes the declaration that she'll "be gullible no more!" After she moves into a small loft and tries to turn her life around, her motto--and her faith--are put to the test.It's a story filled with faith, gossip, romance, and of course, truffles :)

Katie: Now that sounds like an interesting combination! I know that your former job in the hotel business gave you the idea for Bri’s gig as tour host. What, if anything, do you have in common with Gaby?
Julie: Sad to say, both Gaby and I can be quite gullible :) We both needed to learn that discernment comes from putting our hope and lives right into God's hands first.

Katie: So true! Your books combine two of my favorite things—chocolate and the beach. What’s your favorite kind of chocolate? Where is your favorite beach?
Julie: Yeah, chocolate is a dear friend. I've tried so much, but I've found that I'm a nut for See's--especially their milk-chocolate covered brittle. SO yum. As for favorite beaches, do I have to limit it to one? I've enjoyed time in Nags Head, Newport Beach, Malibu...but I absolutely adore Cambria, which is on the central coast of California. The beaches there have coves and otters and moonstones...just love them.

Katie: I agree, Cambria is lovely. What Julie Carobini books can we look for on the horizon?
Julie: Speaking of the central coast , I'm writing a series of stand alone stories set in the fictional town of Otter Bay for B&H Publishing Group. I'm so excited to be able to share the rocky and majestic central coast with readers! The first book, about a woman who moves back to Otter Bay only to discover secrets about her family that destroy the fairy tale image she'd always had, will be released in summer 2009.
Katie: I can't wait! Julie, thanks so much for stopping by.
Julie: Thanks for sharing your cyber beach blanket with me today, Katie! Readers, please stop by my beachy website where you'll find info on how to obtain bookmarks, bookplates, and discussion questions for book clubs: www.juliecarobini.com. No sunscreen required :)
Remember, leave a comment (or send an email) for your chance to win a free, autographed copy of Truffles by the Sea.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A must read

Today is the official release date for my friend John Olson's book, Fossil Hunter. Here's the back cover blurb:
In the desolate Iraqi desert, a lone shepherd stumbles across a whale fossil. Initial analysis indicates that it could be a new species, a discovery that could shed light on the evolution debate.
Paleontologist Dr. Katie James is asked to lead an expedition to recover the rest of the fossil before her archrival, Nick Murad, can find it first.
But while she's there, Katie also uncovers the unexpected--a human fossil so controversial she's forced to collaborate with Nick to analyze the find before it can be destroyed by a fundamentalist faction of the Iraqi government. Their initial results fly in the face of current scientific theory, and it seems the whole world turns against them, including those they thought they could trust most.
Then the fossil disappears, sending Nick and Katie on a chase that could cost them their reputations, their careers, even their lives.

I read this book while it was still in the manuscript stage, and it is FABULOUS! (Of course, having a hero named Katie is always a good thing, too).

Note: John’s book is being co-promoted alongside Expelled, http://www.expelledthemovie.com/, a fascinating examination of how intelligent design has been swept under the rug and stomped on in academic circles. It stars Ben Stein and is at the theatres right now. Since John incorporates intelligent design as part of his book, Expelled is helping promote FOSSIL HUNTER and vice versa.

**If John’s book and Expelled do well, they’ll make FOSSIL HUNTER into a movie. Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy 20th Anniversary to...

... well, hubby and me.
Wow, we look really young in this picture, don't we? (Or maybe we just look old now, I don't know).
"How," you may ask, "do you plan to celebrate this momentous occasion? Champagne? Caviar? A Caribbean cruise?"
The answer-- watching our daughter play softball, of course!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Survived day one

I made it through morning one of boot camp (relatively in tact, too). I'm happy to report that the trainers didn't scream like drill sergeants -- at least not on the first day.

I must say, there was something infinitely satisfying about doing ab crunches while breathing fresh air and watching wispy clouds turn pink and purple with the rising sun. It remains to be seen whether or not I will be able to walk tomorrow, I'm guessing the answer to that is "no".

Friday, April 25, 2008


In desperation to get into shape for summer, I just signed up for "Adventure Boot Camp for Women." That's right, boot camp. We'll meet at 5:30 AM (yes, I did say AM) Monday through Friday for the next four weeks, starting Monday. I'm actually looking forward to it, but I hope the trainer who will be working with us is slightly less aggressive than the drill sergeant on the left!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

This one's for my dad

What do my father and the Green Lantern have in common?

1) They are both super heroes

2) They are both exceedingly handsome

3) Since my father begins radiation treatment today, they are both radioactive (Dad may not glow in the dark, but he is still way cooler than the Green Lantern).

Here's to you, Dad!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Feeling very CALM

This weekend is the CALM Celebrity Author's Luncheon and accompanying events. I'll be there as one of the non-interviewed authors (read- non-celebrity authors). This is actually great, because I get to sit up on the platform tomorrow with all the celebrity authors, but I don't have to say or do anything. This is my kind of event, I'm telling you :-).
We'll all be selling books before and after the lunch, with proceeds going to CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation).

Here is the link for the event, if you want to check out the particulars.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Book Tour Pix

We had a BLAST on our Southern California mini-tour. But, this is one of those times that pictures speak louder than words, so I'll let the camera tell the tale.
Unfortunately, I forgot to make pix at several stops, so this is the abbreviated version.
(Also, no matter what I do with blogger, these pictures are crowding in on each other, so... sorry!)

This is the Berean store in Temecula.

Front row: Cathy Marie Hake, Me, Julie Carobini, Lauraine Snelling
Back row: Cindy, Gail, and Frances

Book tour quiz: What do Cindy, Gail, Frances, and these other lovely ladies, have in common with....

This... uh... lovely lady?
Answer: They are all members of the Yahweh Sisterhood of the Traveling Rat Bible study group.
Isn't that the funnest thing? They each adopt Ms. Rat for a month, dress her, make her up (she has the most lovely shade of toenail polish).
This makes me want to drive to Temecula just to hang out with these gals!!!!
This lovely display was at the Living Water Bookstore in Covina.
An absolutely gorgeous store!

The lady in the teal jacket is Fia. She is a Norwegian immigrant (as are Lauraine's characters), so she was a big fan! It was great fun to listen to the two of them talk shop.

This is Long's Christian Bookstore in Rancho Cucamonga, our last (but not the least) stop on the tour.

If you look up "good sport" in the dictionary, you're likely to see this picture. Poor Steve is the marketing guy from Bethany House who got the, um, pleasure of driving around with us four women. I think most men would have thrown themselves into traffic by the the second day, but Steve smiled bravely until the end.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm back

Well, I've emerged from my writer's cave, got my manuscript turned in (praise God!), and now I'm in San Diego about to begin my first ever mini-book tour. This is a bit terrifying, but I'm in good company. Julie Carobini and I are the new-comers here, along with veteran writers Lauraine Snelling and Cathy Marie Hake. If I ever achieve a modicum of the success these ladies have, I pray that I will model the same grace and humility they display in everything they do. It's amazing (don't they realize they are best selling authors, for crying out loud)!?!?
I'll post pictures the first part of next week. My laptop and my camera refuse to speak to each other, so I can't do it from the road.
Here is our schedule for today. If you live in the San Diego area, we'd love to see you!

1 PM Berean Christian Store 8807 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92123(858) 292-8052

7 PM Berean Christian Stores 41501 Margarita Road Temecula, CA 92591 (951) 695-8630

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I haven't blogged for a while, because I'm currently in my writer's cave, finishing up "Waiting for Daybreak." I hope to be back soon!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Book Tour

I just got the schedule for my first world (umm, well, Southern California) Book Tour. I'll be touring with Cathy Marie Hake (gasp!) Lauraine Snelling (gasp!), and Julie Carobini (Julie is plenty gasp worthy, but she's a good friend--and I know she'll bring chocolate, so she's a little less intimidating). I suspect I'll be doing a lot of thumb twiddling while these ladies sign books, but I'm excited just to hang out with them for a few days.
Here is the list of times and places, if you live nearby please mark your calendar.
BTW- This will be posted on my events page, and I'll likely post it again closer to the actual dates.

Berean Christian Stores
8807 Clairemont Mesa BlvdSan Diego, CA 92123(858) 292-8052
Thursday, February 28, 1 PM

Berean Christian Stores
41501 Margarita RoadTemecula, CA 92591
(951) 695-8630
Thursday, February 28, 7 PM

Bible House
1634 E. Katella
Orange, CA 92867
Friday, February 29, 10 AM

Christian Book and Gift
8652 On the Mall
Buena Park, CA 90620
Friday February 29, 2 PM

Living Water
1010 E. Arrow Highway
Covina, CA 91724
Friday, February 29, 7 PM

Selah Christian Store
415 Tennessee St.
Redlands, CA 92373
Saturday, March 1, 10:30 AM

Long’s Christian Bookstore
8643 Baseline Rd.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Saturday, March 1, 1 PM

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Julie Klassen, Part 2

Today, we finish our conversation with Julie Klassen, author of the just released Lady of Milkweed Manor. (Isn't that a gorgeous cover?)

You are an editor at your "day job". How did it feel when you were first on the other side of the editor's red pen :-)?
Vulnerable! I worried about weaknesses and errors in the draft, since as an editor, I was supposed to know better. But fortunately, the editors who worked on the book really liked it--and it’s always easier to take criticism when sugared with genuine praise. From the editors’ suggestions, I learned a lot about both writing and editing, and I think the experience will make me a better and more supportive editor in the future.

Tell us a little about how you came to be an editor.
My background is in advertising, and it was in this position that I first worked in publishing. But I was given some great career advice right after college: if someone asks you to do something “above and beyond” your current position, don’t say “that isn’t my job”—do it! So, when I was asked by a co-worker to review an audio book abridgement (done out of house) and found it lacking, I took a stab at abridging the book myself. This led to my becoming the in-house abridger. Later, when my sons were born and I was looking for a way to work primarily from home, my abridging skill was recalled and I was offered a job in editorial. I have been an editor for nearly eight years, and it has been a great fit with my interests and abilities.

Sounds like taking that career advice really paid off! Do you edit yourself as you write, or do you get it all out there and go back and edit?
A lot of what I write initially I know will need to be trashed or at least revamped, but I try to just keep writing all the "fodder" I can. Once all the raw material is there, I know I can go back and fix it. I am, after all, an editor.

Since you are at an editor at the publishing house where you book is published, were there any extra steps you had to go through (or any fewer steps)?
Since I knew some of the people who would be reviewing my proposal, I submitted it under a pseudonym so that if it was accepted, it would be done so objectively. (Of course, this also allowed me to cower under the protection of anonymity in case it was rejected!) But otherwise, I think the steps were similar to those any author would go through (editorial feedback, rewrites, several levels of editing, etc.). The publisher did use a freelance line editor, but the copyeditor and proofreaders were all co-workers. Even though changes were suggested and edits made, I felt that everyone was supportive and “on my team.” It was a great experience overall.

Thanks Julie for talking with us!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Meet Julie Klassen

Today and tomorrow, I am pleased to feature debut novelist Julie Klassen. I'm right in the middle of reading her first novel, Lady of Milkweed Manor, and it is terrific! I recently interviewed Julie, and here's what she had to say:

Tell us about the Lady of Milkweed Manor. What is the story about?
It is the story of a proper vicar's daughter who makes a mistake—and must pay a high price for her fall. Sent away by her unforgiving father, she flees to London, hoping to hide herself away from everyone who knows her. Instead, she comes face-to-face with a former suitor, a man her father had once rejected as beneath her. But how their positions have changed! It is a story about God's mercy, the redemption of past failings, and the beauty of sacrificial love. It has a touch of mystery and plenty of romance, for romantics out there like me.

Sounds great! Where did you get the idea?
The idea was sparked by the film Girl With a Pearl Earring. The cast included a wet nurse--a stranger who lived with the couple and nursed their infant. Although this woman was only a minor background character, she intrigued me. I found myself wondering, what would it be like to have a strange woman living in your home, nursing your child? My resulting research into the private lives of women in the 18th and 19th centuries fascinated me and provided the backbone for this novel.

How long did it take you to write this book?
I researched and wrote (on and off) for nearly two years. I am not really sure how much time I spent on it, since--having then no deadline and no contract--I worked on it in fits and starts as I could around work and family.

You have a quote at the beginning of each chapter. The sources range from Sophocles to Jane Austen, to the Flower Essence Society. Where did you find all these quotes (and how long did this part of the process take you?!?!)?
I no doubt spent far too much time on those! I personally like epigraphs, and feel they add historical texture and credibility to fiction. I found many of them on the Internet, and others in the history books I read as part of my research.

How does it feel to have your first book on the shelves?
I don’t think the reality has sunk in yet. Back in December, my husband led me into a Borders store, innocently suggesting we should see if the book was in yet (he already knew it was, but wanted to surprise me). There they were, three copies, spine-out. We turned them face-out so we could take a picture with our cell phone only to be caught red handed by a store clerk who looked at us askance and archly asked if she could help us. When we explained I was the author, she was clearly not impressed. She said she’d just put the books on the shelf that morning and promptly returned them to their humble spine-out position. Not a very glamorous beginning!

Ha! FYI- I made certain "Lady of Milkweed Manor" is face out in my local Borders, just to even the score :-).
What advice would you give to any up and coming writers out there?
Do what I finally had to do: Quit talking about wanting to write, and write. Stay up late, tough it out, write that first draft. Have a literary friend read it and give it to you straight, then undergo the hard work of revising and rewriting. There’s no denying it is very difficult to get published. Not only do you have to be a decent writer, but you also have to write about something a sufficient number of readers would pay to read (there may be good reason that saga of earthworm romance keeps getting rejected). But don’t give up. There are so many articles, books, and seminars out there about how to write a novel—and so many resources available for free on the Internet—it's easier than ever for a wishful writer to do his or her homework. Just get started already!

When she's not writing novels, Julie works for the "dark side" (she's an editor! Gasp!). Check back in tomorrow for part 2 of this interview and find out more about that part of her life.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Resting the Remote

My family decided (okay, my husband and I decided) that we should go a week without turning on the TV. Today is day 6, and I have to say, it has been WONDERFUL!
We don't watch a ton of television anyway, but the evening hours usually find a show or two going. This experiment made me really nervous--what would we do during our usual TV time? Would everyone be extra cranky?
Quite to the contrary, we've played games several nights, we've run errands without anyone being upset about "waiting until this show is over", there hasn't been a single fight about which show to watch, or prolonged channel surfing during commercials.
I do know that our TV WILL be on this Sunday night (day 8, btw). Extreme Makeover Home Edition will be airing a show featuring the Woodhouse family. The mother, Kim, is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and she has been posting email updates about the process. I can't wait to see it all in action. (Note: I think there are two episodes this week, the first is a re-run, the second is the Woodhouse house).
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I've been tagged

CJ Darlington has tagged my for my first ever meme. The rules are simple (luckily!). You post three writing tips that you've learned along the way, and then nominate 5 more bloggers to take up the meme (which, by the way, is pronounced "meem"). Here goes:

1) Publishing is such a business of "right time, right place". I can't control the mood an editor is in when she picks up my manuscript, I can't control which genre is selling well in the market right now, I can't control the constant changes in the industry. But... I can (and do) believe God is sovereign and He can handle it. So, I've learned to do my best and leave the results to Him.

2) As much as it pains a thin-skinned person like me, I had to learn to take critique--hard critique, and apply it to my work. Ouch!

3) Go to writers conferences. Mount Hermon made all the difference in my career.

Let's see, I don't know if I know five other bloggers, so I'll tag my two fave blogging authors:

Julie Carobini and Sharon Hinck.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Coffee Shop Bonding

My high-school daughter started back to school on the 2nd, but my elementary girl was off until the 7th. What to do with all that extra time? What about my normal routine of going to the coffee shop every Thursday morning to do a little writing and enjoy a great place?
Answer-- take 9 year old with me! Finestra Caffe is in downtown Santa Barbara, and it's run by one of the large churches in town. Chris Tomlin music was coming from the speakers, and we occasionally sang a line or two between bites of oh so yummy bagels. Then, we went into the little gift / book shop, which is always fun (even if they don't carry my book. Sigh.).
As we were leaving, my daughter said, "That's a great place. Let's go back again." Now that's my kind of kid!