I’m also excited to announce that Tommie has graciously offered to give a copy of her book …and Night Falls to one of the lucky commenters on today’s post. After reading all her good advice, just leave a comment and your name will automatically be added to the hat. The winner will be announced next Monday August 3rd. I’ve read this book and really enjoyed it, I’m sure you will too, so don’t hesitate to enter your name into the drawing.
If you would like to find out more about ...and Night Falls, you can either click on the cover of the book to be taken to the Amazon page, or click here to go to Tommie Lyn's website.
Alright, without further ado, everyone give a warm welcome to Tommie Lyn!
TL: Lynnette, thanks so much for honoring me with an invitation to be a part of the Author Culture blog today.
AC: Tommie, you are fairly new to writing. Tell us a little about how you “became a writer.”
TL: An interest in my family’s heritage and in the experience of a friend’s ancestor spurred me to begin delving into history. What I learned so stirred me, it demanded to be told. I tried to convince others to write a fictionalized account of what I’d learned, but no one would. Finally, someone I was trying to coerce into writing it told me, “If you want it written, write it.”
And so I did.
AC: So High on a Mountain was born out of that time and then you just fell in love with writing? What made you keep on with it?
TL: I finished the rough draft of that novel in June 2006, not realizing that’s what it was. I thought, “Hey! I’ve written a book!”
I hired an editor to make sure it was the best it could be and fixed the egregious errors he pointed out (but blithely overlooked the deep flaws in the story he tried to show me, and paid no attention to his statement that first novels rarely get published). I tried to learn what I could online about where and how to submit a manuscript for publishing, certain that I’d be holding a printed copy of my book in my hands within a year. Ha!
During that search for information, I found ChristianWriters.com, which became an indispensable part of my “writer’s journey.” It was on CW that I learned about NaNoWriMo, and my first experience with NaNo sealed my fate: I couldn’t stop writing after November 2006.
AC: How many books do you have out now?
TL: I have three books currently available: …and Night Falls (a mystery/suspense novel) ; Scribbles (a supernatural thriller) ; and, On Berryhill Road (mainstream fiction with a strong suspense element).
AC: You chose to go the self-publishing route. Tell us how you came to that decision.
TL: Bottom line? I came to that decision because I’m older than dirt.
I’d read from many sources that it takes about ten years from the time a writer begins writing until he/she is published…and at my age, since I started writing about four years ago, I realized I may not have enough years left to experience the full joy of writing.
You see, for me, the joy of writing is two-fold. First, there’s the enjoyment I receive from the writing process itself. And second, there’s the joy I get from knowing someone has been entertained by one of my stories. While it’s true I’ve been immersed in the first joy almost four years now, I’m selfish enough to want to experience the second joy, too.
AC: For others considering self-publishing, what are some things you think they should know?
TL: First, concentrate on making your writing the best you possibly can. That means learning grammar, spelling, punctuation and all the other mechanics of written language. And it means finding a group of writers with whom you can provide mutual critiques. Critiquing and being critiqued will help you learn what does and doesn’t work.
Second, learn what you need to know to set up your own publishing company and become an independent self-publisher (and there’s a plethora of helpful information for the writer who wishes to do this).
Third, learn what’s involved in designing and laying out a book, designing a book cover and all the other associated requirements, unless you intend to pay someone to do these things for you. You want your book to look professional on every level. (Again, helpful information is available from a number of sources.)
AC: Tell us what you feel the biggest dangers are with self publishing?
TL: The biggest danger, in my opinion, is being taken by the scam artists who prey on writers. Or using a company which may not provide the best opportunity for the writer.
There are a number of avenues an independent self-publisher can take, a number of reputable companies he/she can use to provide the actual printing. Make sure the one you choose is the best for your needs.
AC: What are the biggest benefits?
TL: The biggest benefit for me is having my books read, hearing that someone enjoyed reading one of my stories. Next, I like having control of the process, being able to set it up to suit myself. And the monetary rewards are significantly greater than I would have received through a traditional publisher.
AC: What are some things you do to improve/learn more about your craft?
TL: I’m a member of a local writers’ group and a couple of online groups. It’s difficult to assess the great value those groups have provided me. And I have a library of wonderful “how to write” books. If a writer recommends a book as having been helpful, I read it and glean what I can from it.
AC: Do you have a set goal for how much writing you try to get done each day?
TL: No. It varies too much. Plus, there are a lot of necessary activities involved in writing other than merely typing words into a computer file. When I’m in “story creation” mode, when the story is flowing, I can write up to 8,000 words a day.
But there are times when a manuscript needs editing, and the word count at the end of the day is not appreciably greater than it was at the beginning, given the number of additions and deletions. And times when I have to do research for a story, no words get written at all, but the day’s work will go into the story.
AC: Any parting words of advice for other aspiring writers out there?
TL: Write. Re-write. And re-write again. And again. And again.
Thank you, Tommie. We really appreciate you taking time to chat with us today! :)
Okay everyone, like I said, Tommie is giving away a signed copy of her book ...and Night Falls today, and you will really enjoy it. So don't forget to leave a comment! Winner will be announced next Monday, August 3rd, at the top of our post that day.