I'm excited to introduce Shannon to my readers. You may want to add her new book to your to-be-read list.
How did you start writing and has your role as pastor’s wife contributed to your writing?
My first published book was written when my husband had answered the call to preach. We’d been married sixteen and a half years and I had that deer caught in the headlights feeling.
So I wrote a book about it, sort of. The tale of a florist in love with a widowed pastor. She overhears people saying she’s trying to step into the pator’s first wife shoes and feels unworthy.
Why do you write Christian romance?
I fell in love with clean romance novels in my teens. Over the years, clean romance became difficult to find. At the same time, I’d had a story in my head since my teens. In my thirties, my work hours changed giving me more time to read. I went to the library to find clean romance and ended up empty handed.
I decided that story in my head could be a book. But as I began writing, my characters started talking to God, so I went with it. Back in 1999, Christian romance was in still in its infancy. I had no idea there was a market for what I was writing. Until the finished the book and went to the library to find out how to get it published.
Over two hundred rejections on 6 books later, that story I wrote back in 1999 will release in November as the fifth book in my rodeo series. It’s a totally different version and originally didn’t have anything to do with rodeos or
You have a new release coming out in July called Rodeo Regrets. This is part of a series which has already released three other titles. Why rodeo? Where did this idea come from?
When I was fourteen, my dad became the announcer at our very small town rodeo and I worked in the concession stand. So, I knew a little about the sport. Decades later, my husband and I took our son to the Arkansas State Fair. I saw a cowboy to the bone guy wearing his wranglers, hat, and books holding hands with a city girl dressed in a pin-striped suit and suede boots. I wondered how they met and what they had in common. That became book one.
I needed an indoor, year round, weekly rodeo to fit my story. That’s when I found the Fort Worth Stockyards. I also needed a small town close to
Fort Worth and Dallas for the setting for my hero’s horse
ranch. I found Aubrey known as Horse Country USA. Once the book was contracted,
we planned a trip to see family near San Antonio,
and made a side trip to Fort Worth
and Aubrey for research.
Being a mother and a pastor’s wife, when and where do you write?
During the school year, I write while my son’s at school. My husband spend his days at church or visiting, so I have a quiet house to myself. In the summer, I write in snatches. I start writing when everyone else goes to bed and I stay up until then sleep until . When I’m on deadline, my son goes to church with my husband. I also get some writing in when my son has a friend over or goes to a friend’s house. When my son is home, I focus on him.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers who want to publish Christian romance?
1. Read the genre.
2. Join ACFW.
3. Read the archives of Seekerville. The blog started six years ago with 13 unpublished authors encouraging each other. Over the years, they’ve all gotten published. 13 authors blogging daily about getting published, there’s a lot of wisdom there.
4. Enter writing contests that offer feedback. Seekerville has monthly contest lists.
What wisdom have you gained the you can pass on?
1. It gets easier. Trying to get published is so frustrating. Shortly before my first contract, I was at my most frustrated and imagined that when editors saw my name on a submission, it went straight in the trash. But that’s not how it is. Editors are looking, hoping, and dreaming of finding great writers.
It’s a journey. Rejection is part of the process. Getting rejected often means your writing isn’t at publishable level yet. If you keep learning, studying the craft, and find a unique hook for your manuscripts, an editor will eventually notice you.
2. Once you get published, deadlines can stress you out. But that gets easier too. By the second content edit, I realized I could do this without pulling my hair out. And by the sixth book, I’d hit my stride. I realized I can write a book in four months. I don’t worry about the character journey, spiritual arc, or emotional payload. It just happens naturally.
3. Be careful what you name your secondary characters and just how quirky they are. They might end up with their own book. I’ve renamed and de-quirked many characters to refine them into hero and heroine material.
4. Don’t worry so much about getting an agent. When a publisher’s guidelines say no unagented submissions, you can still send them a query. And you can still pitch to them at large conferences. I know several authors who got an offer and then an agent, including me.
NATALIE WENTWORTH'S PAST IS ABOUT TO CATCH UP WITH HERNatalie once dreamed of finding true love. Then Lane Gray broke her heart. After running wild to fill the emptiness inside her, she heads back to her hometown to heal. But when she sees the cowboy she once loved so much, she finds him hard to resist.
Lane Gray is a changed man. The handsome cowboy wants Natalie's forgiveness-and more. Natalie has made plenty of mistakes in her life, but so has Lane. Could falling for each other again be the worst one yet? Or the path to redemption?
Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom and pastor’s wife. Her debut novel won the 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. When not writing, she runs circles in the care and feeding of her husband, their son, and church congregation. Home is a central
zoo with two charcoal gray cats, a chocolate lab, and three dachshunds in
weenie dog heaven. If given the chance to clean house or write, she’d rather
write. Her goal is to hire Alice
from the Brady Bunch.
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