I'm kicking off the new week with another author interview. And this time I'm pleased to welcome Laurie Batzel to the blog, who tells us how she came to be a published novelist.
Check it out...
Laurie Batzel is an author of contemporary and historical romance who lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania. With My Soul is her first published fiction. You can find her non-fiction essays on PopSugar.com, FilterFreeParents.com, and the print edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels All Around. When she’s not writing, reading, or continuing her quest to perfect her chocolate chip cookie recipe, Laurie can be found walking in the woods outside her home with her four beautiful children and their devotedly vigilant corgi, Stuart. To read more of her ramblings on parenting, writing or random song parodies, go to her blog at rebacanyouhearme.wordpress.com
Betrayed by her husband, Willa Jane Wilson and her daughter are left penniless and alone in post-war Germany. She returns to her hometown in rural North Carolina and prays that a new beginning will soothe the anger still raging inside her heart. But no matter how many miles Willa Jane puts between her and her shame, the peace she seeks is drowned out by ignorance and abandonment.
Her saving grace comes in the form of a new opportunity that she can’t pass up. Tasked with caring for children at a local orphanage, she dedicates herself to transforming the financially-strapped institution into a real home filled with love and faith. But when her fundraising mission lands her in the middle of Raleigh’s glittering social scene, she encounters PJ Townshend, a handsome young lawyer with a dedication to service that matches her own. There’s only one problem: PJ is on track to change the country from its political epicenter—Washington D.C.—and the closer they grow to one another, the farther apart their worlds seem to be taking them.
When a natural disaster of Biblical proportions threatens to part them for good, it also puts the orphanage and everything Willa Jane has worked for in peril. An offer for help arrives from the most unexpected source. Accepting it will require forgiveness of the past…but it might also reunite her with the person her heart desires most.
Who are you and what do you write?
My name is Laurie Batzel, and I write romance and women’s fiction, both contemporary and historical.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
Writing has always been my therapy, for as long as I can remember. But I never believed I could sit down, and write a whole book, the whole process seemed so mysterious and daunting. Then when Downton Abbey ended, there was this plotline that never got explored. It drove me crazy, so I sat down to write it as a fanfiction, figuring it would just be a few pages. A few pages turned into sixty thousand words, and a complete romance novel! When I started getting positive feedback for it on a fanfic site, I started to think this dream wasn’t so impossible after all…
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
It’s been a lot of ups, and downs. When I decided I wanted to try to get published, I did a lot of research on the process, literary agents, publishers, etc. I got in touch with the publisher of my debut novel, Anaiah Press, through a pitch contest on twitter. They asked for the first few chapters, and a synopsis which I sent along, quickly followed by a request for the full manuscript. I was in complete shock when they emailed me several months later offering to publish it!
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
The hardest part has been the waiting—there is A LOT of waiting in publishing, from waiting to hear back from agents/editors, etc. to simply waiting for the magic day when you see your book for the first time. It’s been a good exercise in learning patience, which I definitely needed! The most enjoyable has been discovering a community of other writers who in general have been as kind, and supportive as they are talented.
Would you go back and change anything?
Not at all. I just try to learn from every experience, and incorporate that into what I do going forward.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are simply to write. That’s all. I have a very long list of books that I want to write, that somehow keeps getting longer the more I keep writing, lol. I’m just going down the list, and enjoying the process as much as the result! Not everything you write is going to sell, but if you write what you enjoy writing, and reading, there is no such thing as wasted time.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Manage your expectations—and by that I mean, try to have as few expectations about the process as possible. You have very little control over the market, over what sells, and what doesn’t. The only thing you can do is look at it as a long game. Write, revise, submit, repeat.
And what everyone needs to know...
Ketchup or Mayo? Ketchup
Night or Day? Night
Inside or Outside? Inside
Dogs or Cats? Dogs
Twitter or Facebook? Facebook
Ebook or Paperback? Paperback
Sun or Rain? Rain!
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? Both lol
Comedy or Drama? Comedy
Chips or Chocolate? Chips
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