Monday, August 13, 2007

A SPECIAL TREAT

Today my blog is featuring a very SPECIAL guest. Allison Bottke has stopped by for a chat while she's on her international blog tour. Most of you know her from her God Allows U-Turns anthologies, but Allison is also published as a fiction author now. I've just finished her 2nd book, "One Little Secret." Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. The minute I finished her 2nd book, I ran out and bought her 1st one, "A Stitch In Time." Again, I'm having trouble getting anything else done. I want to keep reading her book.

But this blog isn't about me today - it's about Allison. She going to answer some questions concerning her writing life and how she's done it and reached the goal all of us writers want - PUBLISHDOM. Now, all my writer friends, get your pens ready. You'll want to take notes.

Allison, what is one piece of advice can you give a new (and not-so-new) writer to keep them writing day after day?

I know it sounds so incredibly droll and simple, but never give up and don’t take “no” for an answer! I kept at it and kept at it and kept at it. Recrafting my proposals and rewriting my first book. I got my start in non-fiction, but always in the back of my mind was the dream of one day writing fiction. However, more important would be to not compare yourself to another writer. There is always going to be someone better, someone smarter, someone more literary, someone more photogenic on the back of their book, and yada, yada, yada. But there is only ever going to be one you!

Janetta, some of your readers may know this about me, but for those who don’t, the fact I’ve been published at all boggles my mind. I’m a high school drop out with a ninth grade education and a GED. I quit school after the 9th grade to run away from home and get married. I was going to live happily ever after in my fairy tale dream. But that’s NOT what happened.

That said, writing is not about formal education, or who you know, or how long you’ve been at it. It’s about perseverance and risk and belief in yourself—and knowing that inevitably, God will make a way where there seems to be no way.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received, which kept you writing?

Never give up. If writing is truly my passion—then I must persevere through whatever comes my way.

If someone told you tomorrow you had to give up writing, could you?

Hmmmm, I guess it would depend on who was doing the asking and why. If I felt deep in my heart and soul that my husband or children were suffering—or if my own health depended on it—then yes, I could give it up—to save our lives. However, a question like that is tough, because so much depends on the circumstances.

If not, why?

If I’ve learned anything it’s to never say never. Although writing has been my passion since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and I do feel it’s the gift God has blessed me with to communicate, I would never say that I couldn’t give it up. I sure wouldn’t want to if I had the choice, but we just never know what may happen in life, do we?

How would you convince the person who is asking you to quit to let you continue writing?

To “let me?” I’m an adult, and therefore able to make my own decisions—other than God, no one has to “let me” do anything. Therefore, if someone in my life is insisting I give up my passion, or giving me an ultimatum, I’m afraid there is a dynamic involved in the relationship that is far more critical than my writing. The issue wouldn’t be to “convince” them, the issue would be to get to the bottom of what is causing the ultimatum in the first place.

What was the WORST critique/rejection you've ever received?

I can’t recall any—now don’t get me wrong—that’s not to say I have not been criticized, I know that I have—many times. However, I choose not to let negative comments linger in my mind for too long. Negativity serves no purpose in helping me to reach my goals or to achieve my dreams. Therefore, I made the choice a long time ago to NOT allow negativity to control me or my thought world. My mom instilled in me an ability to always see the glass as half full and not half empty and “half empty thoughts” serve no purpose in my world.

Who has mentored you in your writing career?

I have been incredibly blessed. Although I’m not sure I would call all of my “teachers” mentors, per say, I have studied under many of today’s bestselling CBA authors. I began attending writer’s conferences as an instructor, and while there I was able to take classes as a student with some amazing novelists who generously shared their craft in workshop sessions. I soaked up everything I could about how to write fiction—taking notes—buying tapes—listening over and over again to teachers like Angela Hunt, Gayle Roper, Brandilyn Collins, James Scott Bell, Jack Cavanaugh, Lauraine Snelling, and Tracie Peterson. It was after taking a 3-day long intensive workshop with Tracie Peterson that I was able to fine-tune my work-in-progress and submit it with a proposal to Bethany House. The rest, as they say, is history. Bethany House signed me to write two novels and the whirlwind began.

Do you belong to a specific writer's group?

I do not. But I’m moving to the Dallas area of Texas at the end of this month and I’ve already connected with some writers in the area and hopefully I’ll join a group this fall.

I know you speak at conferences, but do you still attend them? If you do, which ones?

Alas, my schedule does not allow me to attend conferences outside of the ones at which I speak and teach. However, one of the amazing perks of speaking or teaching at writer’s conferences is the ability to attend classes during your available times. That is how I was able to take so many fiction writing classes from the masters over the years. I’ve particularly enjoyed the Jerry Jenkins Writing for the Soul Conference, the Glorietta Christian Writers Conference, the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, The Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference, The Seattle Pacific Writers Conference, the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference and the Write to Publish Conference in Wheaton, Illinois. But there are countless writers’ conferences being held all over this great country.

Is goal setting important to your writing?

Absolutely! In fact, I teach a class on Strategic Planning for your writing career, and setting definitive goals is vital in this business. Also, thinking about our writing career as a “business” is also vital. I have a series of teaching teleseminars available as MP3 downloads on my web site called: CLEAN UP YOUR ACT. This is a 4-part series that includes strategic planning and developing goals and visions for where we want to take our career. Your readers can find out more about those audio downloads and handouts here: http://www.boomerbabesrock.com/eventsteleseminars.html


What does a typical writing day look like for you? Are you a morning person, or do you burn the midnight oil?

Funny, the older I get the earlier I go to bed at night. But on the flip side is that I’m now waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 AM every morning. That said, I like to start working very early in the day when my mind is fresh and alert. I will occasionally burn the midnight oil during tense times of deadlines, but I try to shut off my computer when my husband gets home from work in the evening. He’s an entrepreneur and works long hours, he’s a work-a-holic like me, and so his schedule isn’t exactly a 9 to 5 kind of thing.


Allison, you've published numerous God Allows U Turns compilations, but what did you do to celebrate the release of your FIRST novel, "A Stitch in Time"?

I know it’s frivolous, but I bought a Mary Frances designer handbag embellished with purses and shoes and accessories. It looks like “Dee,” and it makes me smile and thank God for the ability to be working in this crazy business of writing and publishing every time I use it.

FINAL QUESTION?

Is there anything you’d like to share with my readers that I haven’t asked you about?

I encourage your readers to tell me what they think about One Little Secret. I really do want to hear reader feedback. I’m working on my next novel to release in summer of 2009 and I take to heart reader comments. They can reach me here: AB@AllisonBottke.com and please, I’d love to invite everyone to participate in the Hollywood Casting Call Contest where a lucky winner can win an all expense paid trip to Hollywood! Visit my web site and select the actors and actresses you think would make the best lead characters in One Little Secret! Check it out here: http://www.boomerbabesrock.com/bookcontests.html

And …we have a monthly newsletter that we call a “Dream-Zine,” I’d love to invite your readers to subscribe: http://www.boomerbabesrock.com/dreamzine.html

We also have a co-authored blog with six best selling authors blogging each and every day – BOOMER BABES WITH BRILLIANT DREAMS: http://www.boomerbabesrock.com/blog/

However, more important than that is my final word of the day…and that is for your readers to take the risk and reach for their dreams! God has placed a desire in your heart—He has given you special gifts—and he wants you to use them. No matter how old we are—there is still time to discover God’s purpose for our life—and to make the choices that will change the story of our life.

Thank you, Allison, for stopping by my blog today. May God bless you on your writing journey. Please continue penning the words the Lord gives you so readers like myself can devour them.

nettie

1 comment:

Annette O'Hare said...

Thanks for the great interview, Jeanetta. It's always inspiring to me to hear about successful writers with little or no formal education. I agree with her, I don't think you particularly have to be highly educated or be a dynamic speaker to be a great writer. God didn't call me to be either one of those things. He only called me to write, and that's what I'm going to do...with my little old jr. college educated brain. Ha Ha!