Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I’m so happy to introduce you to romantic comedian and fellow coffee lover Heather Gray! I love people who write romantic comedy – it’s a gift I.DO.NOT. have, so I so admire them. Heather is generously giving away THREE copies of her latest 8-book box set called LOVE AT FIRST LAUGH. Read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I love to write stories about people who imperfectly struggle with real issues but ultimately find a way to rest in the goodness of God. I can relate to those kinds of people because I’m imperfect, I struggle, and God holds me in the palm of his hand despite it all. Outside of that – I’m a mom, a wife, and a coffee aficionado (which is just a fancy way of saying I really, really like coffee).
Tell us about your current release: Love at First Laugh is a boxed collection of eight Christian romantic comedies. My contribution to the set, An Informal Affair, is about two friends who notice their singles group at church getting smaller and smaller. Lia decides it’s time to kick things into high gear with online dating, and she talks Maverick into coming along for the fun. Only, it turns out that high gear isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Lia finds herself going on depressing date after depressing date. The constant state of being judged for her physical appearance takes a toll on her. Meanwhile, Maverick decided the whole dating thing isn’t working out too well for him, either. He starts choosing his dates (including the “aviation professional” who ends up working in a hobby shop where she sells model airplanes) for the sole purpose of providing entertaining conversation the next time he talks to Lia…
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? The pressure to be and do – and to be and do more – is constant. Whether it’s the desire for recognition – or the need to pay a tuition bill – the lure of more sales is a constant temptation that says, “Make a little compromise. It’ll be okay.” The thing is, pressure is a part of life, and we all have to figure out how to deal with it. In my case, I’ve surrounded myself with friends – and fellow writers – who speak Truth into my life. It’s important for everyone, writer or not, to have an accountability network, to have people who speak Truth even when it’s uncomfortable or painful. I’d like to think I’m the same kind of Truth-telling friend to them that they are to me.
With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I’ve come to the conclusion that it simply isn’t possible to get it all down. There are too many stories and too many characters who want their stories told. So I try to weed through all the different voices in my head and figure out which is the next story that God wants me to tell. Sometimes I get captivated with a character or plot notion that, while it might sound fun, isn’t part of what God wants for me. So I’ve learned to let those stories go and instead sort through the different threads looking for the ones that have His signature on them. Sometimes it’s easy – He practically gives me a flashing neon sign – and sometimes it’s a bit more challenging. In the end, though, it’s always worth it. The writing (and even the dreaded editing) is always more rewarding when I’m telling the story God wants me to share.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? I remember standing in front of the TV and watching the news story of Ronald Reagan being shot. I remember the reporter circling the gun to show viewers where it was because the image was grainy. That was a long time ago. I was *probably* around five when it happened.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write. Write. Write. And then, edit, edit, edit. Then, when you’re done with that, hire an editor. Life can get complicated, and our own insecurities can tear us apart if we let them. When you’re aspiring to be a writer, though, there are a couple of things to remember. 1. You will never become a better writer unless you work on honing the craft of writing – and to do that, you need to write AND be edited. 2. You will never have a second, third, or fourth book published if you never take the plunge and try to get that first book published. 3. So, put #1 into practice and make that manuscript shine. Then get going on #2. You can do it!
What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) I always write (or type…) on the computer, but I do a couple of rounds of my editing on paper. I tend to see different things on paper than I do on the computer screen, and my mind is happier when I can spread several pages out in front of me and watch the flow of events across those pages. That’s harder to accomplish on the computer – at least for me. Plus, I really like using a red pen, even if it is on my own work. 🙂
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? Ha! Some questions have no easy answer… Honestly, I just tell the stories God gives me to tell, but I do try to tell those stories in such a way that people will actually want to read them. One of my favorite writing memories, though, is one time when I woke up in the morning and thought, “Ooh, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next in that book I was reading. Wait a second… That’s a book I’m writing, not reading!”
Find Heather online:
Find LOVE AT FIRST LAUGH online:
Heather is giving away THREE copies of the box set!! See how to enter here:
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