Shannon Taylor Vannatter is back, and this time, she's in the interview chair! Don't forget to comment for a chance to win a copy of White Roses, Shannon's current release by Heartsong Presents.
Can you give us a glimpse into your journey to publication? How long did you pursue publication before your contract? Had you written any other novels before White Roses?
I started writing in late fall of 1999. In 2001, one of my books was print on demand published. I didn’t know what that meant and thought I’d be famous. Not!
I wrote five books before White Roses and three after, before I sold. I got the contract in early spring 2009. 9 ½ long, frustrating years. Now that I’ve improved my craft, I plan on going back and fixing some of the old ones.
What has been the biggest surprise about the process from the contract to the book release?
Writing is a full time job and deadlines are stressful. I thought it would be a career where I could run around and write just when I wanted to. Wrong! I spend 6 – 7 hours daily during the school year actively, writing, revising, and publicizing. In the summer, I grab hours when I can since I have an eight-year old.
You have a wonderful blog, which provides a place for writers and others to share their true-life love stories (http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/). Where did you come up with the idea and how has the experience creating and overseeing that blog been for you?
I’d been trying to figure out what to blog about for over a year. My marketing friend, Linda Fulkerson, suggested I blog about romantic tips and give advice on love and marriage. It was a really great idea, but it scared me to death. Yes, I’ve been happily married for 26 years, but that doesn’t make me an expert on the subject. I could just imagine someone asking me for advice and ending up getting a divorce.
I kept praying about a topic. Finally, I took an online marketing class through ACFW presented by Rusty Shelton. He gave an example for a blog topic that got my wheels spinning and I came up with sharing real life romances and pictures.
Initially, I planned to feature regular people, but soon learned that non-writers don’t want to write or don’t feel like they write well enough to share their story. So, I turned to writers and included weekly book giveaways. The blog has really taken off and my readership grows consistently every month. I’ve enjoyed the stories and gotten a lot of book ideas. By the way, Julie’s story was my favorite pick for the first quarter of my blog’s life.
How do you spend your time when you're not writing or speaking?
Son time includes riding four-wheelers in the woods, going for walks, and in the summer—swimming in our blue Wal Mart pool. Family time includes movie nights, eating out, and shopping. I go in the cheap shoe store and my guys go in the book/movie/music mega-store next door.
Since my husband is a bi-vocational pastor, church is a large part of our lives. We have a great lady’s prayer group I enjoy fellowshipping with our congregation, which usually includes food.
What are you working on next?
I’ve officially finished all the edits on the White Rose series. I submitted a Rodeo series set in Texas, but haven’t heard anything yet. I’m polishing up a longer length romance about an estranged married couple who have both become Christians since their split. I write ideas in a big notebook and plan on getting to all of them.
In case you missed it, here’s the link to Julie’s story on my blog: http://shannonvannatter.com/my-favorite-romantic-blog-post-june-aug-2010/
Thanks for stopping by, Shannon!
About Shannon: Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. Her three book series is set in Romance and Rose Bud, AR and published by Heartsong Presents, a division of Barbour Publishing. Each book releases to a ten thousand member book club and then to stores six months later. White Roses her debut novel will hit store shelves in November. Two more books in the series will follow: White Doves releases to the book club in October and stores in April and White Pearls releases to the book club in January and stores in July.