Friday, May 25, 2012

Special Guests, Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver

I’m so excited to welcome multi-published authors Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver to my blog. Not only are they a wonderful writing team but they are wonderful people as well. Thank you both for visiting Literally Lori today.

1.  Most of your readers are familiar with your many Heartsong Historicals but Lily is your first trade paperback book (?). Lily is the first in your Song of the River series. Tell us a little about this story. Lily is the oldest of three sisters. We begin her story in 1859 before the Civil War. This was the heyday for steam-powered riverboats on the Mississippi River. In a bid for independence, Lily purchases a riverboat only to discover that she is a co-owner with a gambler who has his own ideas about how to earn money on their boat.

2. I know you are both passionate about history and making sure the details in your books are accurate. How much research did you have to do before you could start writing? We did research separately and together on all aspects of that time period. Also, we continue researching as we write the story to make sure our facts are correct.

3. Did you find the transition from the smaller books (50,000 words) to the larger ones( 85,000+) challenging? Not at all. In fact, we went over our word count with Lily. Our wonderful editor, Becky Fish, had to remove almost 10,000 words to meet our publisher’s plans for the book. She did a fantastic job.
4. As co-authors who gets to do the plotting and who does the romance and emotional side? We brainstorm together on all of the aspects of our books, so I can’t say that one does one while the other does something else.

5. Is there a portion of the books that you enjoy writing more than others? For example, the action scenes, the romance, the black moment or the part where you type – The End? Diane – I love writing the action scenes. They seem to come together faster for me than other parts. Aaron – I love planning scenes that include a lot of characters like holiday celebrations, balls, and family get-togethers.

6. Struggling writers are always looking for encouragement. What advice would you give them? Diane - You can only fail if you quit. I know (from personal experience) about rejections and writing things that will never see the light of day, but if you can look at this as a journey rather than a destination, you have begun to succeed. Aaron – What Diane said is so true, perseverance is one of the most important tools a writer must have. Also, attend writers’ conferences to get the chances to meet with agents and editors.

7. Can you tell us how your individual faith journeys have helped you along your writing path? Diane - I believe God planted in me the desire to write and has been guiding my footsteps along the way. Of course, I find that easier to see as I look back than it is as I take each step. I trust that He is still guiding me and will until that day when He takes me home. Aaron – I dreamed of being a writer when I was very young, as I have always loved books. I later realized that dream was based on selfishness as I mainly wanted to see my name on a book. As I grew older, and grew in my faith, God led me to Christian fiction and showed me how my childhood dream could be used be Him to minister to others.

Thank you so much Aaron and Diane for visiting and sharing your experiences. We look forward to Lily and the other books in the series.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Edits Oh My

I recently completed the edits for my upcoming book, Beautiful Dreamer. It wasn’t my first edit, but it’s been a long time since my last one. These edits were actually very easy and painless and the editor was very kind and gracious. Whew. What a relief. Edits can be daunting and frustrating especially when the editor doesn’t seem to “get” your book. You work hard to make sure you’ve put the necessary background information, an explanation of the characters motivation, the reasons for certain behavior and actions, but now someone is telling you they don’t make sense or they’re not clear or sometimes, downright wrong.
            I had an editor tell me to change “cut the muster” which is correct, to “cut the mustard” because that’s what most readers thought it was. Eek.
            So what do you do? Go with the flow. No one ever wrote me about the “muster/mustard thing so in the end I guess it didn’t make a big difference. On the other side, my acceptance of the editor’s suggestion earned me an “easy to work with” notation in her files. A win/win situation.
            I’m not good with the grammar side of things so I normally bow to the editors skill in that area. Small changes in sentence structure, repetitive phrases and the like, I accept the suggestions offered. This time I only stood my ground on one issue but I’m not sure I’ll win out. We’ll see when the book is released if the city is spelled St. Augustine (my choice) or Saint Augustine (editors choice).
            In the long run it probably doesn’t matter. What matters is my book will be out there and God willing will touch someone’s life in a positive way no matter how St. Augustine is spelled. That’s the ultimate goal after all.