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, as a mom of middle-school boys who love to read, it’s always wonderful to find a new middle school author! I’m so excited to have Susan Count as my guest today. I could just feel her love for God flowing through what she does and how she does it. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Oh what fun it is to be a middle-grade author! What delight to hear the voices and laughter of children come alive in stories. I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and American Christian Fiction Writers. I take studying the craft of writing seriously and consider revision one of my super-powers. My greater super-power is being a grandmother.
Tell us about your current release. My new release, The Firefly Warriors Club, is a major departure from the horse books I normally write. The story came about after the bushes in the forest surrounding our home came to life with thousands of twinkling lights. We’d never seen such a spectacular show and have not seen one like it since. Then I learned that many children have not only never seen the miraculous firefly, but have never heard of them. God filled our world with delights and clues to His existence. It’s our job to draw young readers near to the light.
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 submitted my first book through the traditional routes. An editor told me the topic of horses was elitist and there were already too many horse books. Then an agent told me she was smitten with the book and wanted it. But the call she promised didn’t happen, and I was done with dancing games. But her wanting it provided the momentum that drove me all the way through the Independent Publishing process. Thank goodness no one had explained to me the hurdles.
Then later, when that voice crept in suggesting they couldn’t be good enough because they weren’t published traditionally; I submitted them for awards. When they won and won again, I asked God to silence the voices of doubt and discouragement. I rest in assurance that my heavenly Father is pleased with my offering.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? More so now than when I wrote my first book. The first one was a wing, a prayer, and a joyful ride. Now that I’ve studied more craft, it’s so much harder. Turns out there are rules. Now to save myself a lot of editing grief, I make every effort to make sure the plot works before I set off on the journey. And that the character is one you’d like to spend time with.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Don’t let anyone discourage you from chasing your dream.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? When I hit a roadblock, it’s time to rest and make sure my connection to God has not jiggled loose. The best way for me to be totally in the moment is to take a ride on my horse on the forest trails.
What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) Sticky notes. I write plot point on sticky notes and plaster them all over a window. That way I can arrange them to lay out rising and falling action. I use a different color of sticky notes to follow the story tension or conflict. Still another color to track the character arc.
Here is where you can find Susan online:
Susan is giving away a copy of her latest release! Here’s how you can enter to win:
I find the sticky note plotting fascinating!
It’s fun and colorful. Makes it easy for me to tell where the inner conflict is sagging, so I can make it worse for my character. Everyone needs to use what works for them.
Thank you. The artist interview me before he agreed to do it. Check out Mat Konar’s web site. He’s amazing.
Thank you. The artist interviewed me before he agreed to do the cover. Check out his work at Matt Konar.com.
I love what you said about not letting people stop you from chasing your dreams. You need people in your life that encourages you to reach for the stars.
When God gives you a dream, don’t you think we have a responsibility to guard it? To hold it up to the light for His blessing instead of letting the world trample it. We do need people to encourage us and I’m grateful for my husband of 50 years who thinks whatever I write is great.