Please welcome my friend and neighbor Jennifer Beckstrand to Inklings today as part of her blog tour.
I have been married for almost 28 years to the same wonderful guy I fell in love with in college. My four oldest children are girls, and I have two boys at the end. Now that the daughters are out of the house, dinnertime is quite silent. My eldest daughter is married and is mother to my first and only grandchild. One daughter got married in June and another daughter got married in July. It was a crazy summer. We told my fourth daughter she can’t get married for at least a year. We are out of money! I promised myself I would take a very long nap after the second wedding and still haven’t got to it yet.
Amish Romance—and Happy Endings
I currently write Amish romance, which is a blast. I love romance in general and love to dream up wonderful stories. I’ve heard from many readers of Kate’s Song that they’re tempted to read ahead just to make sure things turn out all right. They do! It’s a romance, after all, and I can’t resist a happy ending.
There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). Kate’s Song and Rebecca’s Rose are now available. Miriam’s Quilt is scheduled for release in spring of 2013. Kate’s Song was the #1 Romantic Religious Fiction download in the Free Kindle Store, and Rebecca’s Rose is currently in the top 100 Religious Fiction books on Amazon.com.
My books are available online and wherever Inspirational books are sold.
You can learn more about me and my books by going to jenniferbeckstrand.com or on Facebook at Jennifer Beckstrand Fans.
My Writing Journey—or Detour
You know how about four kids into your life you suffer from chronic insomnia because you can’t stop wondering what you forgot to do that day—like hug your child or go to the bathroom?
That is basically how I started my writing career. One night, a few months after the birth of my fourth daughter, I lingered on my pillow unable to sleep and decided to make up a story. It took me 14 years to finish my first romance. Then my agent, Mary Sue Seymour, asked me to try my hand at Amish romance. I fell in love with the genre and about five months later, I had a publisher. It was very exciting!
Writing Process—or Lack Thereof
I do a lot of sitting at the computer, staring at the blank screen, hoping by sheer will that words will come to me. The problem is that when I sit still for more than a few minutes, I invariably fall asleep. I have tried to correct this weakness by snacking while sitting at the computer, which leads to another, weightier problem. As long as my inspiration is flowing and my fingers are flying, I can usually stay awake, although, even on good writing days, my son often comes home to his mother sprawled out on the couch trying to steal a few minutes of sleep.
The advantage of being a task-oriented, stay-at-home mother is that many of my daily jobs allow ample time for musing. I ruminate while puffing on the treadmill or running a vacuum over my carpet or taking a shower. I am notorious for long, indulgent showers—my guilty pleasure. I do my best thinking in there.
I spend about four hours a day writing, three days a week. The rest of the week is hit and miss, and I am very slow.
My motto as a stay-at-home mom is: “My interruptions are my work.” My family takes priority over my writing. So, when my children need me, I’m there. I have been able to manage my deadlines in such a way that I have a little more time for distractions.
Advice—Free and worth every penny
I love dispensing advice! If you are a beginning writer, the first thing I recommend is to learn your craft. Good writing will always be noticed by agents and editors.
How do you learn your craft? Join a writers group like Romance Writers of America or find a critique partner. Attend writing conferences. Read books on writing. Write, write, write every day.
If you want honest feedback on your writing, enter a writing contest. Even if you don’t win, the judges should give you some valuable pointers on how to make your story better.
I’ve heard that the best thing someone can do to improve her writing is to read. I wholeheartedly agree. Read good books of all genres. Even reading poorly written material can help you recognize and avoid mistakes. Volunteer to judge a writing contest. You’ll see lots of things you would do differently.