Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

So, I Wrote This Book …

on November 7, 2014

SpinsteredTheNovelCoverSometime in September, I took a chance and entered my novel, Spinstered, in the monthly Clash of the Titles contest. Since family, friends and fans vote for the winner, I knew it was a long shot. It didn’t help that I had some serious competition.

Still, I told my family, friends and even the high school students I teach. The latter I bribed by promising fudge if I won.

Thursday morning, I crawled out of bed a little early to keep that promise. I won the contest and I know my students had a lot to do with that. Not only did many of them vote but they encouraged their friends and family members to do the same.

Anyway, the website’s announcement included a Q & A about my writing journey. I thought it might be fun to share that here. Just pretend Barbara Walters is asking the questions.

***

Let’s start at the beginning—how long have you wanted to be a writer and what did you envision for your writing life?

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I wrote my first poem at the age of 5. And, for the longest time, that dream meant being a romance novelist. In my 20s, I saw myself becoming the clean, Christian version of Kathleen Turner’s character in Romancing the Stone—enjoying a life of adventure and romance and lots of bestsellers.

So, what happened?

Well, things didn’t turn out the way I imagined. (Do they ever?) On October 15, I turned 51 and, though I suppose I’ve had a few mild adventures, I still dream of true love and being such a popular novelist that even people in the jungles of Columbia have heard of me.

Back in my 40s, though, I realized I needed to write about my single heart and broken dreams. When I started working on Spinstered, it was a nonfiction book about grieving singleness. I took the seven stages of grief—denial, disbelief, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and hope—and applied them to what I was dealing with as a 40-something single woman.

A few years later, while at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, a friend encouraged me to focus on my fiction writing. As a result, Spinstered the Novel was born.

What are some of your strengths as a writer?

Years ago, I had the privilege to work for the in-house radio marketing department at Focus on the Family. I learned I not only love writing scripts and dialog but I’m pretty good at it. I even won a few awards while I was there.

I’m also passionately committed to making my manuscript as good as I can. Though that can also be a detriment because I’m a bit OCD about it, which means I have a hard time letting something I wrote go until it’s perfect. And it’s never perfect.

Continuing that thought, what are your weaknesses as a writer?

Well, to be honest, I don’t write as much as I should. I think it’s a mixture of fear and laziness. Fear that what I write won’t be any good. And the laziness that comes from letting other things distract me from what I know needs to be done. Like spending too much time on Facebook.

Why did you decide to self-publish Spinstered?
That’s a long, sad story but suffice it to say I went through a disappointing contract experience that did not end with a published book. In the meantime, numerous interactions with singles fed the urgency I felt to get this book to the audience I know is out there.

My choice was to start over with submitting to agents or editors—a process that can take years—or self-publish. Since the novel had already gone through several rounds of edits, I knew I could have it ready within a week or two. In fact, I was able to make my goal of taking copies to the Labor Day Singles Retreat at Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, NC. I sold several copies there and made some great connections. It also led to my first 5-star review!

What’s next?

First, I plan to finish and self-publish the nonfiction version—Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40—in the next few months. In addition, I wrote an unrelated novella titled Cold Read that I hope to have available soon. Finally, I have two sequels to Spinstered in the works. Book two will be titled Inconceived and I’ll probably name book three Altared. Of course, all of that could change. I’m open to whatever God wants to do!

Interested in purchasing Spinstered? Here are the links:

Click here for the Kindle version

Click here for the paperback

And here’s a brief description:

Three friends. Three stories. Three women trying to figure out how they ended up over 40 and still single. 

Committed to her job and pushing fifty, Catie Delaney has almost given up on her dream of love and marriage. Maybe, she tells herself, she’d be happier just embracing her singleness. Maybe that’s been God’s will all along. 

Catie’s friends, Jolene and Uli, have their own struggles with men, careers, and family. 

Then into this mix of feminine angst walks Brian Kemper—the latest GWP (Guy With Potential) to join their church’s singles group. But just as something seems about to happen between him and Catie, her world falls apart. 

With their hearts on the line, these three friends search for hope … and find it in unexpected places.

Thank you for being a part of this journey!
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