Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This is a special edition of Readers Write to Know highlighting the wonderful Jean C. Gordon’s Small-Town Midwife. – Jean is giving away either a paperback OR ebook (reader’s choice) of this book I’m SOOOO excited because this book doesn’t release until March 1st! Which means you’ll have a chance to win it just as it’s coming out!
Enjoy this interview and check out the Rafflecopter below to see how you can enter to win this brand new book!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Writing is a natural extension of my love of reading. From that day in first grade when I realized t-h-e was the word “the,” I’ve been reading everything I can put my hands on. A professional financial planner and editor for a financial publisher, I’m as at home writing retirement- and investment-planning advice as writing romance novels, but novels are a lot more fun.
My college-sweetheart husband and I tried the city life in Los Angeles, but quickly returned home to our native Upstate New York. We share a 170-year-old farmhouse just south of Albany, NY, with our daughter and son-in-law, two grandchildren, and a menagerie of pets. Our son lives nearby. While I create stories, my family grows organic fruits and vegetables and tends the livestock de jour.
Although my day job, writing and family don’t leave me a lot of spare time, I like to give back when I can. My husband and I team-taught a seventh-and-eighth-grade Sunday school class for several years and currently serve on our church’s Evangelism Committee. I also share my love of books with others by volunteering at the church’s Book Nook.
Tell us about your current release.
My heroine Autumn Hazard feels her purpose in life has deserted her. My hero Dr. Jonathan Mitchell Hanlon sees his new position as director of the Ticonderoga birthing center as a stepping stone to achieving his. What neither realizes is that they can’t move forward without each other.
Like my other Love Inspired books, SMALL-TOWN MIDWIFE is set in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. An experience my daughter, a midwife, had inspired the story. I thought, what if Autumn was a midwife who no longer had the confidence to catch babies. Then, I brought in Jon, a man from her past, who exudes nothing but confidence in his technical approach to delivering babies. A man whose faith helps Autumn come to grips with her situation, while he’s unaware that he, too, needs to take some direction from above concerning his own career and life.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it?
I think I would. I recently received a letter from a reader who wrote how SMALL-TOWN MIDWIFE had touched her life and the satisfaction I felt was overwhelming.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher (or agent or audience if you self-publish)
I think it has helped me immensely that my day job is also a writing job. I’m used to people reviewing my work and my having to make changes to it for publication. So, when I’ve gotten a revise and resubmit letter from a publisher or agent, I haven’t been devastated (for more than the first day). I also belong to a very good and encouraging critique group. I think having the support of other writers is very important in having the courage to submit a project. But not as important as having God’s support. I put myself in His hands for the writing and the submitting. And, as a recent example, I was determined to write a particular story, and it took two rejections from my editor before I listened to Him and began the story He wants me to write.
What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? (ie. Moon Walk, Watergate, Pope being shot)
Going to give away my age here. It was the assassination of President Kennedy. I was in second grade and we were in an all-school assembly watching a space launch (maybe) and another teacher came over to my teacher and she started crying.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?
One thing I have always done is “just write.” Particularly, when I’m on a deadline (publisher- or self-imposed), I set a daily/weekly word count goal and try to meet it. If you have any words on the page, you can fix them later. When I get stuck on a detail or character action, I’ll put a phrase in brackets [look up later], [some kind of action/emotion here] and continue. Lately, I’ve started to write scenes out of order. If I’m stuck on something in chapter four, but I know what’s going to happen after that, I’ll skip ahead and write what I know.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?
I have always wanted to write. I worked on the school newspaper in high school and sold my first piece to the Buffalo Evening News — a short essay on my family’s Christmas traditions — when I was in high school. I majored in journalism in college and worked on the student newspaper there, too. After I graduated, I went to work for the financial publisher I still work for. My writing expanded into fiction writing when I started doing romance novel reviews for a now-defunct review magazine. From there, I tried my hand at writing sweet romances and published five with Avalon Books that are now available in Kindle format from Amazon Publishing. After that, I had a renewal of faith and felt called to write Christian romance. And here I am.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?
I always know the beginning and end of the story and basically who my hero and heroine are when I start. The middle and other characters, as well as further development of my main characters, evolve as I write.
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?
This is kind of a continuation of the previous question. I always change my mind on at least some things as I write. For instance, when I wrote my proposal for SMALL-TOWN MIDWIFE, it had nothing about Jon’s grandmother, who became a major character. She just appeared as I was writing.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book?
Not to sound mercenary, but I have always written my fiction with the intention of having it published. So, before I’ve started a book, I’ve always had a publisher or similar publishers in mind and have written to the word length of those publishers. I also keep a spreadsheet that tracks my count-up to the required length. I discovered early that my nonfiction writer has made me a better short-book writer than long-book writer.
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read?
A little of each. I enjoy writing my books and I write them for people to read. I believe my story lines are my own. I don’t particularly fashion them to what I think people want to read. However, I do have a certain reader in mind when I write — Christian readers and other romance readers who want a clean read — and write my stories to those readers, knowing I can’t please all of them all of the time.
Find Jean on the web:
Small-Town Midwife| Love Inspired | Look for it in March 2014
Small-Town Mom| Love Inspired | July 2013
Mandy and the Mayor & Love Undercover| Montlake| July 2013
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