Let us re-visit Louisiana Saturday Night. I'm happy to introduce Dorris Jean Shaw. I met Dorris at our Bayou Writers Conference last year. She's a regular attendee. Dorris is also a member of The Inkblots. http://www.theinkblots.org/
1. Tell us about your path to publication -- how you sold your first book.
For me, the path to publication was all about making contacts. At a Bayou Writer’s Conference, I pitched an idea to Anna Darclon, Editor for Wild Rose Press. I should have been better prepared with a ready to go manuscript. She liked my idea, I e-mailed her my draft and she helped me through the process. I have learned so much.
2. What is your background? (education, work, etc.) And how long have you been writing.
I always wrote as a way to stay in touch with family and friends, we moved a lot. I began writing plays for my classroom when I could not find what I needed. I have a Master’s degree in education. I’ve written travel articles and devotionals. This was my first foray into romance.
3. What is your writing process? Do you outline or just sit down and start writing?
My writing process depends on what I am working on. For my self-help, I outline. For the romance story, I just sit down and write then review to be sure I have enough details and etc.
Then I do research to be sure that for the Vintage, I haven’t added something that shouldn’t be there. I like the research part.
4. What does a typical day look like for you?
Read in the morning, write a while, check e-mail, do some checking of facts and things, write and print out what I wrote so I can read it up close. Have to cram in all the other things: cooking, washing, dishes, cleaning and going to town. We live in the country.
5. What is your favorite self-marketing idea?Marketing has been the hardest for me. I e-mail a lot and ask them to send the notices on to others. I do a newsletter of sorts that I send out as a bonus. I love writing it.
6. What is the biggest challenge you face in writing and publishing? Marketing, I am getting better at time management. As my name gets out there, I hope to spend more time on writing or be able to hire someone to do the marketing for me.
7. What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?Writing is work. It’s a good thing I am passionate about what I do. I struggle with editing. I take classes in that area to improve my skills. I was surprised how long it takes to get something out from contract to publication.
8. How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity?For devotionals, if I read something that strikes a cord, I write it down. I look for scenes and study people when I travel. People have stories to tell and I want to tell them. Watching a sunset reves up my spirit.
10. What is your proudest writer moment?
My first contract had to be the best, so far.
11. What's the best advice you were given about writing and do you belong/believe in critique groups?.
Don’t give up. Believe in yourself and keep after it. I would write if no one read it. I wrote to cheer up my military family. The critique group told me I “could use big words and long sentences.” Too many years teaching first grade and special ed had me in a certain mine set, hard to break the cycle.
12. How much (and what) do you read for pleasure?
I like to read the Newberry and Caldecott Medal Winners. If you can write for children, you have accomplished something. They are fair in their assessments of a work.
14. What are you currently working on?
Caribbean Soul, a romance novella set in Belize and an exercise book to go with my workshop that I do on women’s issues. My workshop, ‘Reclaiming Me’ deals with such topics as forgiveness, making a place for yourself and taking charge of your life. I have been asked to do something with mentoring.
15) What professional organizations do you belong to and why?
National Press Women because I have always been interested in newspapers since high school when I wrote for the clubs I attended. I am thinking of joining Romance Writers of America for the things that they offer their membership.
Wrap it up, Dorris. Anything exciting happening in your publishing world? And be sure to list your blog sites/websites, etc.
The Wild Rose Press is releasing two Rosettes, “Shadows in the Fog” on May 27, 2009 and ‘Liv’s Struggle’ out June 17, 2009. I have also had some interest in doing my workshop as a self-help book. I'm considering other options for the workshop. I am still writing romance and have a mystery that I just finished.
Shadows in the Fog by Dorris Jean
Amanda yearns for adventure--to drive an automobile or ride in a flying machine--but her parents expect her to marry well. When she won’t cooperate, they order her to a mountain spa to cure her 'nervous disorder.' Unhappy and alone, Amanda watches out her window every day as a solitary stranger appears at the foot of the mountain like a shadow in the fog. Amanda knows nothing about him except she must meet him. Iaon has his own scars from The Great War and believes he has nothing left to offer anyone. In each other, they glimpse the happiness missing from both their lives. Can they let go of the past and make a future together?
Liv's Struggle by Dorris Jean
Liv married Sal after a short courtship. He made her feel like she had never felt before. Her own father had kicked her out, rejected her. Would Sal do the same or could Liv find a way to ask the question that haunted her? When the old dog has puppies in the midst of the storm, Liv finds the courage to grasp for the life she wants.
Note: Dorris' blog site and website are under construction but you can order her books from the Wild Rose Press. If you would like to receive Dorris Jean Shaw's newsletter contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org