What audience is Growing Up Gracie intended for?
The target audience is young adult. That being said, some of my favorite books are young adult and I am definitely no longer a "young" adult.
How did you get the idea for Growing Up Gracie?
I grew up in Cody, Wyoming, and I've had a deep love for that area my entire life. I have always felt that friendships play an overwhelming role in the adults we turn out to be. Throughout my growing up years I was usually in some form of a best friend group of three. The characters in Growing Up Gracie are not based on any of my close friends, but many of the places and circumstances are bits and pieces of things I experienced growing up. Also Gracie and Quentin's story has tiny pieces reminiscent of my life.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I wrote Growing Up Gracie fairly quickly (a few months maybe) when I was a new mother and had an infant who was a great sleeper. I remember my parents and husband taking me out to dinner one night to celebrate that I had finished writing my book. I then proceeded to put the book away and not touch it for about five years. When I dragged it out again I read it and was appalled at the horrible writing I had once celebrated! I began editing and editing and editing and editing. I probably did three complete rewrites before giving the book to my first readers. Then I edited some more and more and more.
The Letters Never Sent took me about six months to write. I am currently in the revision process and I hope to submit it in the spring.
What was the process of finding a publisher like?
Finally on my 29th birthday I felt I had something worth submitting. I set a goal of publishing by the time I was 30 and sent it to my first choice publishing house. Two days before my 30th birthday I was informed by Cedar Fort Publishers they wanted to publish my book.
How did it feel to get a contract?
This was probably one of the most exciting moments of my life. First I screamed and danced and called my husband and mom and best girl friend. Then I got nervous: maybe someone was tricking me. I actually called the publishing company just to confirm that no one was playing a horrible joke. Once I knew it was real I pulled the manuscript up on my computer and reread it and again I got incredibly nervous: Oh no! It's really not good, I thought. And finally I settled into a long pattern of waiting to hear any news at all on the process of being published from my company and starting writing another book.
What is your writing schedule?
I wake up at 5 and try to get in an hour and a half of writing before the day begins. I take Saturdays and Sundays off. Then when my kids nap I try for a little more writing. When it's movie day, I may write for most the day.
What books do you like?
I enjoy classics like Pride and Prejudice and The Catcher in The Rye. I also like contemporary writers Kristin Hannah and Suzanne Collins. If I am completely honest, I mostly pick a book based on how pretty its cover is--So, who says you can't judge a book by its cover? I usually get books from the library and so shortly after I've read them I can't remember the title or the author. My favorite is historical fiction set any time before the 1970s. I read The Work and the Glory series night and day until I finished it. I also recently read and was totally enamored with Alicia: My Story. I love reading about hardship and I don't need a happy ending to be satisfied with a book.
Do you currently have any more projects in the works?
Yes. I have three books at different stages of writing.
First is The Letters Never Sent.
Here is a blurb:
When Lily Foster makes a major life change and discovers secrets about her ancestors she never bargained for, the first step of an exhilarating journey is taken. As she struggles with her own trials Lily finds a link that will take her from present day to that of her great-great grandmother Ailsa MacDonald Ritchie, making her own way from Scotland to Wyoming. This book is about a journey of redemption and a search for sense of self. And the realization that sometimes what we long for the most is the one thing that was right in front of us all along.
The Letters Never Sent is a mainstream family saga about the women of the Ritchie family. I am currently in the revision process.
I am also writing Ever After Emmy, a love story set in the 1950s. I am about half way through the first draft.
And finally I have a rough start on a companion book to Growing Up Gracie, called Danielle, Never the Bride.