Today, I am so happy to host someone I consider an inspiration. In my quest to publish non-fiction, I stumbled across Susan at OIRWA (Outreach International Romance Writers of America). I’ve had the honor of taking several of her workshops and she has taught me many things I apply to my writing. Most of all she has given me the courage to teach my own online course and for that, I am forever grateful. Her practical advice, encouragement, and insight will help everyone who wants to pursue a writing career. So, sit back, get to know her and enjoy the blog.
Name/Pen name: Susan Palmquist/Vanessa Devereaux
General location: Midwest
- When did you first know you wanted to write?
I was a late bloomer! I didn’t catch the writing bug until I was in my late 20s.
- What inspired you to write?
My great aunt’s neighbor who mentioned she’d just received a royalty check for a book she’d written twenty years ago. What can I say the money aspect drew me in. As you can guess, I didn’t know that most authors don’t make much money but by then I’d already written my first book and was hooked.
- Are you a planner or pantster?
I’m sort of a hybrid. It’s very story dependent. For mysteries, I’m more of a planner but with romances, I’ll have a rough idea of the plot, create some characters and let them take me wherever they want.
- Which of your works is your favorite? Why?
I have two but if I can only pick one, it’s Flynn, book two in my Big Sky Cowboys trilogy. It was a story that was in my head (and heart), for a long time and Flynn is my all-time favorite character I’ve created. I think he’s the type of guy who every woman wishes they could have in their life. He’s tough but gentle, sensible but yet can be a hopeless romantic.
- Would you say your stories are plot or character driven?
I’d like to think they’re all character driven. Although I have an idea about a plot, I try to make sure I have characters who a reader can identify with in order to make the story that much more real to them.
- What do you take with you on vacation?
A good book.
- What’s your motto as a writer?
Keep on writing.
- What’s your next project or what is in your future? I’ve had a half written mystery waiting for me for to finish since…I’m too embarrassed to say, but I’d like to get that completed in the next year.
As for the future, I’d like to keep writing for as long as my hands and fingers keep on working. And something I always tell my students, I’d like to see one of them on the bestseller’s list before I retire from coaching.
Any information you would like to share about yourself
Besides being an author, I’m also a tutor for an online school and I’ve been teaching for various chapters of the Romance Writer’s of America for the last decade. I also have my own critiquing and mentoring service. Finally, I have a writing blog which is a growing community of close to 700 writers and aspiring writers and something gets posted there at least 5 days a week so I’d love you to stop by at www.thiswriterslife.com
Now her blog…
Regrets…Don’t Make Not Writing a Book Be One of Yours
Regrets, we all have those. We all tell ourselves we’ll do something different so we don’t have any more of them.
Could not writing a book be one of your regrets?
I have lots of people contact me, wanting to know more about my mentoring service and most of them write this in their e-mails…
I’ve always wanted to write a book.
I’m finally retired and thought I’d write the book that’s been in my head for so long.
At last, I’m an empty nester and thought this was the perfect time to finally do something for myself so I want to write a book.
Some of them even set up coaching sessions with me, a handful get the first chapters written but then they quit. When I follow up with them the response is always the same…
Writing a book is harder than I thought.
Yeah, sure it is, if it wasn’t then everyone would be writing and publishing books.
No one said it’s easy, truth is it’s hard work and takes up a lot of your time. Sometimes there aren’t any rewards but yet people still write books.
Are you going to be one of those people?
It’s a new year, and if writing a book has always been a dream of yours, then go for it, stick with it, get it written.
I speak from experience when I say not writing a book was on by regrets list. After my father died, I quit writing for a decade. Luckily, I found my way back but I often sit and think about what if I hadn’t? I know I’d be on my deathbed counting not writing a book as one of those dreaded regrets.
If writing a book is truly in your heart then fire up the computer or dig out a pen and paper and start writing.
Don’t whine about it being hard, don’t quit after three chapters, WRITE.