Award Winning Author Winnie Griggs

 

 

 

 

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AUTHOR VIP

LYN COTE

 

June 2009

WG: Welcome and thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month. To start off, please tell us about yourself.

LC: I’m a former beautician, school teacher, babysitter, full time mom and now writer. I have a degree in education and a masters in American history. But as my dh always says: “I have a good education. I just never let it go to my head.” :)

WG: Let’s talk about your own personal road to publication:
Is there some individual, group or event that you can point to as the catalyst/impetus that set you on the road to becoming a writer? Explain.

LC: My talent for writing was commented on while I was still in grade school. And since that was the only thing they said I was good at—I grabbed it!

WG: Tell us about your journey.

LC: I started writing when my daughter was thirteen months old; I sold my first book when she was about to enter high school. But I started writing in the dark pre-Internet age when if you didn’t live in NYC, you were pretty much cut off from the world of publishing.

WG: How many books did you complete before you sold your first? Have all/any of them sold since?

LC: I wrote 5 books before I sold. Numbers 4 & 5 sold and I still hope to sell Numbers 1 & 3. Number 2 has been allowed to sink into oblivion. Every reader would applaud me for that. :)

WG: What changed most about your life as a direct result of selling that first book?

LC: I was able to pay some bills!

WG: What about your writing process:
Do you maintain a set schedule? Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?

LC: I write six days a week.

WG: Do you set writing goals for yourself?

LC: Of course! How else could I make a deadline!

WG: Do you have a ‘mood setter’, something (music, ritual, environment, etc) you use to get you going when you sit down to write?

LC: I watch Live with Regis and Kelly every morning while I put on my makeup and then I start writing and continue with only a lunch break until I’ve written at least six pages.

WG: Do you do a lot of up front plotting before you start or do you just dive in?

LC: I’m a plotter, but I only plot the main plot. Subplots and their characters just pop up when I need them.

WG: Do you normally start with storyline or with character or with some combination of the two?

LC: I start with a setting and then think of what kind of people would live there. I mean one kind of person likes to live in Manhattan and another in the woods. Then I start thinking of conflicts and before I know it, the story has begun to take shape.

WG: Do you find certain themes or character archetypes making recurring appearances in your stories

LC: Yes, I often find myself using the verse roughly paraphrased: Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. I love the story of Samuel looking over Jesse’s fine strapping sons and thinking each one the future king. But God telling him to ask for David who hadn’t even been included. I’ve often thought that the phrases in the 23rd Psalm where David wrote: “Thou prepares a table before my enemies;Thou anointest my head with oil.” Refers to that moment. I think David’s brothers and neglectful father were his earliest enemies. Sad but true. Our family has the power to hurt far beyond what any stranger can do.

WG: What do you see as your own personal strengths as a writer?

LC: I write fast-paced and deeply emotional stories.

WG: Are there any obstacles/conflicts, specific to your particular lifestyle, that get in the way of your writing? If so, how do you try and overcome them?

LC: I think I have the reverse problem. Our nest is nearly empty and I sometimes feel chained to my laptop. I’m trying to change that.

WG: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your process?

LC: I use a little known resource, A NOVEL APPROACH by Kathy Jacobson. It’s a full writing course that is only available online at www.kathyjacobson.com. It’s downloadable in PDF format for $25 for 220 pages of great instruction and valuable worksheets. I cannot recommend ANA highly enough. It’s a goldmine. If a writer has it, she needs nothing much else to learn the craft of genre writing.

WG: Do you have a favorite sub-genre as a writer? as a reader?

LC: I enjoy cozy mysteries and Regency romances.

WG: Is there a genre you haven't been published in yet that you'd like to try your hand at someday?

LC: No.

WG: Do you have any advice to offer writers still striving toward publication?

LC: See above note on ANA.

WG: Is there some piece of advice you received or bit of ‘conventional wisdom’ that you wish you had ignored?

LC: No.

WG: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about being a writer? What aspect do you struggle with the most?

LC: I love hearing from readers. That’s the best. The hardest is to get the images in my head onto paper just right.

WG: When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun? What is your favorite self-indulgence?

LC: I like to garage and thrift shop shop. :)

WG: What are your favorite movies and/or TV shows? Why?

LC: I love game shows! And Diners Drive-ins & Dives and Antiques Roadshow.

WG: I love to collect quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky, motivational, profound, etc. Do you have a personal favorite you'd like to share.

LC: Don’t sweat the small stuff.

WG: Please tell us about your current project.

LC: I’ve just finished a three book series “Texas Star of Destiny” that was a great workout for me. I love sinking my teeth into historical research. I’ve just finished a three book series “Texas Star of Destiny” that was a great workout for me. I love sinking my teeth into historical research. My first in the series "The Desires of Her Heart" debuted in February. If readers drop by my website's homepage, they can watch my book video introducing it.

WG: Tell us about your upcoming plans.

LC: I am now writing my Gabriel Sisters series for Love Inpsired Historical. The first debuts this December, Her Captain’s Heart. Because of other contractual obligations, the three Gabriel sisters will be released three Decembers in a row, 2008, 2009 2010. I’ve never had a Christmas release before so I’m finding this a lot of fun! I love to add the holidays to these stories!

WG: And before we close, tell us how your readers can get in touch with you.

LC: I’m on MySpace, Facebook, GoodReads, Twitter, Shoutlife and would love to be invited as a friend on those. I also have a blog: www.StrongWomenBraveStories.blogspot.com which features--you guessed it--Stories of Strong Women. Ahead is "Yummy July." Drop by and see what you think.

WG: Thanks so much for spending time with me and my readers this month. It was fun ‘chatting’ with you, as always!

Thank you, Winnie! And I wish all your visitors, a very happy fun summer!

 

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