Advice from Other Authors

Encouragement Writing

Happy summer, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but summer is a crazy busy time of the year for me with church camps, revival services, and Bible schools. That being said, July is insanely busy–am I the only one whose writing time has gone down? 😉 This weekend, I thought it would be fun to take some excerpts from interviews I had done last year with better-known authors on my blog (you can read the interviews I’ve done with “big and small” authors on my blog here).

When I think of these authors that “everyone has heard of” (okay, maybe not quite everyone, but our minds seem to balloon things that way), I tend to think that they are a special, elite-type of author. That they don’t have the same struggles that some of us beginning authors have. I found out something quite different in my interviews. Join me in sitting down for a brief chat with four authors.

Interview with Roseanna White

Me: What is the hardest part of writing?

Roseanna: Execution. Finding the time to turn that sparkly idea floating around in my brain to words worth putting to paper. There are many days when it’s hard to write—but it’s also an integral part of who I am, so always worth the effort!

Me: What is the #1 thing you’d say to an aspiring writer?

Roseanna: We all have a journey. Sometimes our writing is for its own sake—it doesn’t need publication or praise. Sometimes it’s for others. But no matter the journey, we need to remember that it’s ours. That it shapes us into the person and the writer God wants us to be. Our path will never look like anyone else’s, and that’s as it should be. If you love it, respect the dream and fight for it. But never think you’re at the pinnacle, either of your path or your skill. There’s always something new to learn. New steps to take. Enjoy every step!

See the full interview here.

Visit Roseanna’s website here.


Interview with Jen Turano

Me: Your books have many “laugh out loud” scenes. Does humor just flow from your fingers or do you work on tweaking scenes to make them humorous?

Jen: It takes about four edits for me to start getting funny.  I’ll have the scene down, but the dialogue might not be clicking as well 


as it should.  However, by the fourth edit, the characters are really developed, so it’s easier for me to know how they’re going to interact, and that’s when the humor happens.  I delete a lot of words – I never save anything that I’ve written because I’ll think that something is brilliant, a quirky turn of phrase, or a specific scene – but it just doesn’t work, so if I don’t delete it, I’ll try to force it into the story and it won’t come across as humorous, just dumb. 

Me: What is the #1 thing you’d say to an aspiring writer?

Jen: Don’t rush to publish.  It can kill any chance you have at

 a successful career if you put stuff out there that’s just not ready.  Take your time – concentrate on the writing at first – not on your platform, not on your pitch – you need to write the book.  Not everyone is a storyteller, no matter that you hear otherwise all the time.  If you can get a complete story written that’s compelling – that’s the trick.  And, more importantly, if you want to be published – it’s not about the author – it’s all about the reader.  You have to know your target audience and what they expect in a book of that particular genre, and then you need to deliver that. 

See the full interview here.

Visit Jen’s website here.

Interview with Tracie Peterson

Me: How have you been able to write so many books? Is writin

g your full-time career? What does a normal writing day look like to you?

Tracie: Writing is a full-time job for me as well as my ministry.  Years ago when I first got started, I knew that I wanted to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Bible application in each book to offer encouragement to the reader.  I also wanted to entertain the reader, as well as educate them.  I call it my 3E’s – Entertain – Educate – Encourage. I believe God has given me the creativity and imagination to come up with the various book ideas. Most writers would agree that stories are everywhere around us—you just have to open your eyes and see them.  A normal writing day?  There’s no such thing. 🙂 I try to start each day with prayer and Bible although that doesn’t always happen and sometimes it comes in the middle or latter part of the day. I try to write a chapter each day – that’s my overall goal when I’m actually writing the book.  Usually I have several books going on at once so while I’m writing one, I’m usually researching another, plotting out a third and sometimes reading galleys for a fourth.

Me: What is the #1 thing you’d say to an aspiring writer?

Tracie: Go to conferences.  In this day and age of traditional publishing and even self-publishing, I believe the writer conferences are the best bang for your buck. Many editors and agents attend these conferences along with other authors and almost every conference I’ve ever participated in offered the attendee a fifteen-minute one-on-one appointment with editors and agents. This is a valuable opportunity to present yourself and what you write and while it seldom will net you a contract on the spot, it will often get you past the door in a far more personal way than just sending in a proposal.  Added to that are all the great workshops and speakers.  It can be expensive, but is definitely going to benefit the career of any aspiring writer.

Second, I encourage writers to read.  Someone once said good writers are good readers.  I believe that to be true.  I have encouraged new authors to read best-sellers as well as books that aren’t best-sellers.  I tell them to read the book once for pleasure and then go back through it and tear it apart.  Figure out why you think worked and didn’t work for the book. Write out the details of the characters – what they look like, what they do, what they’re afraid of, what their goals are.  Write out details about the settings, etc.  An aspiring writer can really teach themselves how to create better plots, characters and settings by doing this simple exercise.

See the full interview here.

Visit Tracie’s website here.

Interview with Anne Mateer

Me: In reading the “about you” on your page, you mention that writing is only a portion of your life. What does a “normal” writing schedule look like to you? Or is there nothing normal about it?

Anne: I prefer to have a “normal” writing schedule—though 2016 has not brought any such days thus far! My best schedule is to write an hour or so mid-morning, then a couple of hours in the afternoon. I can usually get my word count done in those few hours of intense writing, and its about as much in a day as my brain can take. The harder writing times are at the research and brainstorming stages of a book. Those are much more time consuming for me than the actual writing, though revisions are also times where I work many, many hours each day!

Me: What is the #1 thing you’d say to an aspiring writer?
Anne: Don’t be afraid to write books that don’t get published. My first 4 novels are still in my computer, and while I might someday re-write them (and I mean completely re-write, using only the basic story premise from the original!), I am fine with them never being published because they were HUGE in my personal development as a writer. They were not failures. They were building blocks to being published. They made me a better writer. 

See the full interview here.

Visit Anne’s website here.


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Did you learn something from these interviews?

Have you ever had the chance to interview an author?

What was the most helpful piece of advice a “pro” author gave you?

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