Guess who's coming to talk with us today.
Betcha didn't guess right! :) We are having... *drumroll* ROBIN JONES GUNN! Yes, the very author of the amazing Christy Miller series and all those that follow - the author of Praying for Your Future Husband - the author of the Sisterchick series! She's actually here!
She brought something special for one lucky reader... but first, our mini interview. :)
Welcome to Struggles of a (Maybe) Teen Author! I can't tell you how glad I am to have you. I know you're a very busy and sought-after woman, so I've narrowed down my usual interview to three questions that aren't found on your website. First off, What keeps you motivated while writing?
Deadlines are a great motivator. So is feedback from readers or input from a critique group.
My guess is that most creative types can become easily sidetracked in the middle of a project. I sure am. The initial enthusiasm fades. The ideas that were once crystal clear become murky. Instead of fun and frolicking the project feels like work. Lots of work. That’s why a deadline – even a self-imposed deadline – becomes a necessary finish line to motivate me to keep on moving around in the murkiness and to keep on working even though my shoulders ache and I want to go back to bed.
I can definitely relate. With this past November being my first time with NaNoWriMo, I was surprised how much the deadline helped me stay writing (even though I didn't make it). There's always next year.... anyway, moving on!
Who or what has had the most influence on you as a writer?
I’ve been writing for almost 30 years so the influences have changed over the decades. In the beginning years there were two British writers whose work I dearly loved; C.S. Lewis and Christina Rossetti.
After I had a few articles and children’s books published the most life-changing influence came from another author, Ethel Herr. I met Ethel at a writer’s conference and she allowed me to join the critique group she hosted at her home even though it was a closed group and I wasn’t at the same level as the other writers. For six years I drove an hour each way on the first Wednesday of each month just to have the privilege of putting my feet beneath her kitchen table along with several other dedicated writers. We met for six hours each time and went over each other’s work line by line. That was my apprenticeship and I will forever be grateful for Ethel’s influence and the many hours she spent mentoring me.
Over the past twenty years my agent, Janet Grant, has had a profound influence on my life and on everything I’ve written. From the very first Christy Miller book on, we have worked together as a team. I never would have made it through all the ups and downs in this industry if it weren’t for Janet. She has been and still is a very precious gift to me from God.
Wow. Talk about valuable friendships.
Do you have any advice for aspiring teen authors like myself - or any age, for that matter?
Here are a few key thoughts:
- Dedicate your work to the Lord. Do it for Him and His Kingdom and not for yourself or what you hope to get out of it. I do this with every book I write. Before I start, I handwrite a love letter to the Lord and offer up the book to Him as a gift. Then I ask Him to give me the story – to infuse my heart and mind with the tale He wants me to tell. Without this foundation my writing efforts would have crumbled long ago.
- Keep a journal. Capture your thoughts, ideas, feelings, descriptions, insights and questions. Write them down. Play with your words. Open up your imagination and cultivate creativity.
- Listen to poetry. I have several volumes of classical British poetry downloaded on my IPod and I listen to them when I’m on long flights. Try listening instead of only reading great works of literature. I like poetry the most because it goes deep and leaves a lasting impression. Soak up the sound of the English language that has been shaped into prose by a talented wordsmith. It will make you a better writer.
- Don’t stop just because it’s hard or you get discouraged. If you were created to be a crafter of words and a teller of stories then that instinct wired inside of you will never go away. Make peace with the process early on. Use the same measuring spoon for praise and criticism and only add a half a teaspoon of each to your recipe no matter what you’re writing.
Thanks for thinking of me with this interview, Emily. May the Lord bless the work of your hands!
Thank you so much for dropping in! I enjoyed speaking with you.
Readers, how would you like a copy of Christy's Diary? Robin has graciously offered one copy of this book for a giveaway.
- US only, please
- You must be at least 13 years old to qualify
- Non-followers welcome!
Please leave a comment to enter. If your email address is not listed on your Blogger profile, or you don't have a Blogger profile, please leave an email address so I can contact you if you win.