If you’re an aspiring author and want insights into what’s involved in launching a book into the world, this is the podcast for you. Maggie Smith, author and blogger, interviews debut novelists from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association discussing not only the inspiration behind their book, but also their insights into the writing process, the best advice they ever got, and the joys and sometimes pitfalls they encountered on their path to publication.
123: Jennifer Jensen- Author of The Vice
If you’re curious what it might be like to self-publish your work, this is a segment you’ll want to listen to. Jensen is doing everything right – rapid release of three books in one series in one year (with another one coming in April), soaking up craft lessons from experts, being mentored by a seasoned indie author. She made the conscious decision to avoid the negativity of rejections from agents and publishers out of fear she’d lose the joy she’s found in writing and it seems to be paying off. Her enthusiasm and optimism will inspire you.
Born and raised in a small town in Michigan, Jennifer married her high school sweetheart. She got a job, which she originally left college for, and over the course of a few years, she had two beautiful sons.
In December 2019, Jennifer found herself staring down the big 3-0. Having accomplished so much and at the same time, so little, she looked at the life she had made and knew something was missing.
When picking up a pen and putting it to paper, after an almost ten-year hiatus, she quickly fell back in love with the world of writing.
She made a pact with herself to do better with self-care and putting as much effort into her own happiness that she had put into the happiness of others. Doing so gave her space and energy to create and soon share, the characters that had only existed in her mind.
As our world continues to fight the stigma around mental health issues, Jennifer’s book series, Versions of Me, gives a glimpse into the mind of Harper Jones. In book one, The Vice, Harper—a twenty-eight year old woman—is struggling to cope with her past. As the life she has been living starts to crumble around her, she finds herself fighting not only external battles, but internal ones as well. The battles that she faces drive her motivation behind everything she does. They drive her need to drink, her need to be loved—her need to be the woman she once was.
To learn more about Jennifer, click here.
122: Kristy Lee- Author of The Worst Thing I Could Do
Hear how the idea for Kristy’s novel originated from a ten-year old TV show, how the goal to write a novel came to her in a dream, and how her female protagonist refused the ending Kristy had planned for her and insisted on a different path. We also discuss what it’s like to work with a small press based in another country and how she manages to find time to write between a full-time job and studying for her doctorate.
Kristy was born in Southwestern Colorado. She moved to Illinois after graduating from Alfred University in Alfred, New York with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Shortly after moving to Illinois, she began her career in the not-for-profit arena and has spent the majority of her career in human resources. In 2016 she graduated from the University of Illinois with her Master’s Degree in Public Administration and is currently working to obtain her Doctorate of Education in Organization and Leadership. When she is not writing, working, or furthering her education, Kristy is traveling the globe with her husband, having set a goal of going to one new place each year.
To learn more about Kristy, click here.
121: Kate Allen- Author of Fear of Flying
We talk with Kate Allen (Fear of Flying, Ambiguous Ink Press, March 2021) and discuss how she balances her work as a lawyer with her writing career, how writing a novel and wanting to see it published sooner rather than later sent her on a journey that resulted in her starting her own publishing company, and how her best advice for new authors is be braver about social media, that it can be fun and collaborative and essential for promoting your work.
Kate Allen is a serial multi-tasker and author of contemporary fiction. After obtaining her B.A. in English Literature she took a detour to law school and “daylights” as a lawyer. Her debut novel, Fear of Flying, is an intercontinental tale about love, friendship, and loss. In addition to writing, Kate is also co-founder of Ambiguous Ink Press and founder of www.thisbookislit.com, an online book magazine.
To learn more about Kate, click here.
120: Dorothy Staley- Author of Bear Woman Rising
A tale of two women whose lives intersect in the 1970’s in Alaska, Dorothy’s book not only reflects her own experiences when she lived for years in a remote scientific community near the Arctic Circle but also the power and lasting legacy of female friendships. We also discuss how she found her small press through another writer’s recommendation and how sometimes it’s necessary to jettison interesting back story in order to propel your story forward. .
Writer, editor, teacher, wife and mother, Dorothy Staley left the Arctic years ago, but it never left her. As the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory’s first science writer she interviewed nearly 800 scientists. After 5 years, when family responsibilities and job opportunities took her on a trajectory from the far north to the Deep South, she never stopped writing about the Arctic in her diaries, poems, short stories, and now her debut novel.
To learn more about Dorothy, go to https://bearwomanrising.com/
119: Leslie Rasmussen - Author of After Happily Ever After
Leslie and I discuss the difference between an author and a writer, how her experience writing TV sit-coms and personal essays was very different than writing a full-length novel, and how the idea for her realistic story came from the challenges she observed her forty-something friends grappling with as children left home, parents aged, and marriages underwent major transformations.
Leslie A. Rasmussen was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA. She went on to write television comedies and is a member of The Writers’ Guild of America. Leslie wrote for Gerald McRaney, Burt Reynolds, Roseanne Barr, Norm McDonald, Drew Carey, as well as The Wild Thornberrys and Sweet Valley High. After leaving the business to raise her boys, she attained a master's in nutrition and ran her own business for ten years. Recently, she’s written over twenty essays for Huffington Post, MariaShriver, and SheKnows, and has been on several panels discussing women being empowerment to start a new chapter in midlife. Leslie loves dogs and is a member of The Alliance of therapy dogs and has volunteered at her local Animal Shelter. She lives in Los Angeles and is married and has two sons.
To learn more about Leslie, click here.
118: Elissa Dickey - Author of The Speed of Light
Elissa and Idiscuss how her book was informed by her lived experience of having MS as well as going through ALICE training at her job, how the Twitter events Pitch Wars and PitMad led to her finding an agent, how she wrote 2 other books before clicking with the third, and how her best marketing move has been interfacing with readers in private FB groups.
Elissa is a former journalist who now works in higher education communications and marketing. Though she grew up among the lakes and trees of Northern Minnesota, Elissa now lives on the South Dakota prairie with her husband and children. Her blog posts about living with multiple sclerosis have appeared on the National MS Society online Momentum Magazine Blog. The Speed of Light is her debut novel. Her second novel, Iris in the Dark, is coming in June 2022 from Lake Union Publishing.
To learn more about Elissa, click here.
Top Notch- so interesting to hear how authors did it
The authors on the podcast are high quality and Maggie Smith does a great job with hosting. Always fascinating to hear how other writers did it!
Insightful, informative. Highly recommend!
Maggie’s conversations with a diverse assembly of authors offers valuable insight into the creative processes of writing and editing one’s work. I love that a variety of publishing methods and literary genres are covered amongst these interviews. This peak behind the curtain, from those who’ve successfully brought their books to life, is very reassuring to this aspiring novelist!