Welcome to the blog of author Kathryn Cushman!

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!