How long have you been writing? Has writing always been something you wanted to do?
I became an avid reader at the age of 12. The more I read fiction, the more convinced I became that I could write just as well as some of the famous authors’ books I was reading. To test my imagination, I would take parts of the stories I was reading and create my own stories. I wrote a few down on paper, but I would eventually throw them away. I did this for many years, always promising myself I would write a novel or a screenplay one day.
What books or stories have you written?
I co-authored a paranormal screenplay with my husband. That ended up in the trash because a very similar movie came out during my final edits. I wrote 10 songs and only one of them I considered selling. When I moved to Arkansas in 2007, I started writing a novel. During the editing process, I decided to join Twitter. After discovering this novel required extensive editing, I wrote two short stories for a couple of contests. Once the winners were chosen (I wasn’t one of them), I expanded “Rag Doll” and posted it on my blog as a short story. I then expanded the other short story, “Messages From Henry.” It is currently self-published on Amazon and Smashwords.
What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome as a writer, in order to be published?
Once I finished writing the two short stories and later expanded them, I sent them to Beta readers. I’m glad I did, but during this process, I lost confidence in my writing abilities. All but five of the 19 Beta readers had five identical questions after they read “Rag Doll.” This told me I had some serious gaps in my story. When I expanded “Messages From Henry,” I sent it to 10 Beta readers. Once I got their observations back, I was convinced I had zero writing abilities. I was encouraged to not give up, and keep writing and editing by Scott Bury, who later became my writing coach and helped me immensely.
Yes, always use Beta readers and when you select them, don’t use family members. Be sure to listen to what they say and when you see a trend, you need to pay close attention to this. If you don’t feel confident, either seek help by joining a writer’s group, obtaining a writing coach or take a class in creative writing.
How do you find time to write your books?
My friends and family complained a lot about my spending too many hours writing. I ended up prioritizing my time. I would write in the morning, after tweeting for about two hours. I set certain days when my friends and family could call me, and when my husband and I would spend the day together. I didn’t always stick to this, and it caused problems for me. I’m hoping to get better at prioritizing, as time goes on. I laugh to myself about this, but actually, it’s no joking matter. Now that I have one of my books published online, I plan to take a break from writing. I am now asking myself, “Where are my friends now?” My husband’s answer to this is, “Your friends are on Twitter and Facebook.” He adds to this by saying, “You know, people you’ve never met.” Well, I do have friends on Facebook I have met, but I’ve learned not to argue this point.
Do you think writing has any benefits, and if so what would they be?
Writing for me has definite benefits. I write to entertain. After many children I met in the local library read my two short stories, they wanted me to expand them and publish. One child prodigy liked “Messages From Henry” so much, he told me he thought it would make a good series. Now with five rave reviews, written by adults, I feel I have accomplished my goal.
Has writing made you a better person? Was there a point in your life where writing helped you deal with something, a death or a problem relationship perhaps?
I like this question a lot. I hope I’m not judged as a bad person by answering this question truthfully. My first novel was mainly about a person in my past that I despised. This person robbed many years of pleasure from, not only me, but my husband as well. By writing the novel and having this person killed-off, it helped me to put an end to my hatred. I guess we all find different ways of coping with unpleasant things in our past.
Where do you get your inspiration for your writing?
Since my last two stories are written for young adults, I referred to author Des Birch’s short story collection, “Different Eyes.” I love how he describes the scenery, smells, weather and peoples’ expressions. He’s is my favorite UK author.
Can you talk a little bit about why you decided to self-publish on Amazon?
Up until the last month, I was telling everybody on Twitter, Facebook and in guest blogs, that I would never publish my works on Amazon, etc. I said I would only post my works on my blog. Several authors read “Rag Doll” and six chapters of “Messages From Henry” on my blog and encouraged me to self-publish. After making a promise to my husband to never read reviews less than four stars, I decided to do it.
I was born and raised in southern California and now living on a non-working farm in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. I retired at the age of 45, when I moved to Rogue River, Ore. I have been writing fiction since the age of 37. I have been an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction since I was 12, but it wasn’t until the age of 37 that I got serious about writing fiction. This is when my husband and I wrote a screenplay. This week, I self-published for the first time. I am also an artist (scrimshaw). Check out Rebecca’s blog and follow her on Twitter.