Meet the Voices–Jessica Bertrand

tnMeet the Voices presents Jessica Bertrand.
Jessica lives in Colorado and teaches at a private Christian school. Teaching is her primary mission field at the moment, her passion is to take her students to new creative heights. She has had two experiences of serving in people outside of the United States. Jessica’s first mission trip was to Canada to help out painting the outside of a 3 – 4 story church in 2006. Her next trip took her farther from home. She helped a fellow missionary friend in Niamey, Niger, Africa. Both experiences were life changing for her. Jessica is glad that God has given her the many gifts that she has and hopes to further His kingdom with them.

What is the biggest writing challenge you’ve encountered this past year – craft, career, writing life, etc?

The biggest problem I have faced this year is figuring out why my story is worth telling rather than just reading someone else’s. I think it has been more of a mental challenge rather than trying to figure out what to write. Coming up with ideas isn’t the hard part. But me thinking about why someone would want to read what I’ve written is the interesting part. Also finding some time to write during the school year.

How did you solve it?

Actually my Mom was a big part in getting that figured out. She and I had a long talk about making a difference in someone’s life and it might be what they needed to hear at that moment in time. I’ve also been able to get in a little bit more writing time during the summer which is really nice.

What is the one thing you learned that you can share with other writers?

God has given each of us a Voice. We all have a purpose to glorify Him to the best of our abilities. If we write to further His kingdom then we will always have the right voice. Someone needs to hear what we have to say so let’s go out and write it!

Tell us about your current WIP.

Izumi never thought she would find herself a young widow but she did. Now she not only has to pick up the pieces of her heart, she also has to stave off her vengeful brother-in-law. But what happened to her husband and would the killer come after her next?

Keko left home after high school never to look back. Or so he thought. Logging across America meant no ties to anyone or any place. That is until he met Christ. Now he has a chance to mend some broken fences with his best friend. Only the day that he’s supposed to meet his friend, Keko ends up in the hospital. His friend is dead and only himself to blame. How could he ever go back now?

Jessica, thank you for being our featured Voice this week and sharing about your writing life. Visit the My Book Therapy forum and chat with Jessica!

Be sure to join us on Monday, December 14 at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST for a My Book Therapy chat with Jessica and our book therapists, Susan and/or Rachel. To access the chat forum:

*Log into My Book Therapy.

*Click on the forum button.

*Sign in with your username and password, if necessary.

*Click on the Chat tab.

*Your name will show up in the box on the right hand side. To comment, type in the box in the bottom under the yellow smiley face.

*In the chat room, we will abide by chat etiquette–type ? for question, type ! for comment, and type GA for go ahead after you’re completed your question or comment.

*If you have any questions, e-mail lisa@mybooktherapy.com

Meet the Voices: Susanne Lakin

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This week, Meet the Voices welcomes Susanne Lakin. Her novel, Someone to Blame (contemporary fiction), won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel competition in April, 2009, with a publication date of August 2010. Lakin has also accepted a contract for her three fantasy novels in the Sacred Sites Collection of Fairy Tales with AMG-Living Ink Publishers. The first book in the series, The Wolf of Tebron, is schedule for publication Fall 2010. Her contemporary mystery, Innocent Little Crimes, made the top one hundred finalists in the 2009 Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest, earning her a Publisher’s Weekly review that noted her book was “a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through.”

Lakin grew up collating television scripts for her screenwriter mother. As an adult, Susanne assisted in developing series for television, and while raising two daughters and running a bed and breakfast inn in northern California where she wrote her first three novels and a cookbook. She currently works as a freelance copyeditor and writing mentor, specializing in helping authors prepare their books for publication. She is a member of The Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network), CEN (Christian Editor Network), San Francisco Editors Guild, CAN (Christian Authors Network), and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She is currently completing her ninth book: Conundrum, her fourth psychological suspense novel. She has also written the first book in a Young Adult sci-fi adventure series: Time Sniffers.

If she didn’t spend all her time writing and copyediting in Santa Cruz, CA, she would be sixty feet underwater, taking photographs, or backpacking in the Trinity Alps with her dog, Sweetie, and her two daughters, Megan and Amara. She confesses to a serious chocolate addiction, which she shares with her husband of twenty-six years, Lee Miller.

What is the biggest writing challenge you’ve encountered this past year – craft, career, writing life, etc.?

Doing my macroedits for Zondervan for my novel, Someone to Blame, coming out in August. Although I make a living telling others how to fix their manuscripts, and I’ve had plenty of critiquing from critique partners, I wasn’t ready for the stress and anxiety that welled up as I tackled the edits for my publisher, knowing I wanted to please them and still feeling a need to preserve what I felt important to the story. I’m sure I’ve been a complete wreck and annoyance to my very sweet and patient editor!

How did you solve it?

Of course, prayer first and foremost. I had to remind myself to pray, trust God, know he has a purpose for this book, and knows just how it needs to come across. Sometimes I get so embroiled in concentrating, I do forget to take time to pray, walk away from the book, clear my head. Also, it helped a lot to consult very seasoned authors with lots of books under their belts. Having a great writers’ group with gals I can consult and ask advice is such a blessing. They gave me very wise advice, and also told me how much I can press to keep things that are important to me. I am grateful for their taking the time to listen to my worries.

What is the one thing you learned that you can share with other writers?

THE one thing??? In twenty-two years of novel writing I’ve found there is no one thing. But…wait….maybe….persistence. I keep hearing over the years that the one who persists the longest will get published. I never thought I would see the day…but I’ve signed contracts on four books this year. One of my agents assured me last year I would eventually get published, for if you stick with it and keep improving, you will get published. I really do believe that with all my heart AND, being a Christian, I know God’s timing is perfect. I thank him for this long wait and know there are very important reasons for it—not just for my growth as an author (developing and honing my writing), but to serve as an encouragement to friends and clients who are struggling to get “there.”

Tell us about your current WIP.

Conundrum is the most difficult book I’ve ever written. It’s my ninth novel. I prayed to God to tell me what to write next and he gave me the title and whole first chapter in a dream. I didn’t want to write it. It is a mystery set in 1986, mostly autobiographic, exploring the strange death of my father at age 33. It is set against the backdrop of a cruel family betrayal, which I experienced, so brings up a lot of pain. I’ve never written a novel that I resisted so much. It’s almost done but I’ve set it aside until I get that aha moment of redemption and purpose. I’m also starting book four of my fantasy series—The Unraveling of Wentwater, which should be fun–deals with words and how they can unravel lives. Fantasy is my calling, but somehow God veers me aside to write literary mysteries. Oh well….

Susanne, thank you for being our featured Voice this week and sharing about your writing life. For more information about Susanne, be sure to visit her website. Visit the My Book Therapy forum and chat with Susanne!

Be sure to join us on Monday, November 16 at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST for a My Book Therapy chat with Susanne and our book therapists, Susan and/or Rachel. To access the chat forum:

*Log into My Book Therapy.

*Click on the forum button.

*Sign in with your username and password, if necessary.

*Click on the Chat tab.

*Your name will show up in the box on the right hand side. To comment, type in the box in the bottom under the yellow smiley face.

*In the chat room, we will abide by chat etiquette–type ? for question, type ! for comment, and type GA for go ahead after you’re completed your question or comment.

*If you have any questions, e-mail lisa@mybooktherapy.com

Meet the Voices: Keri Norton

Keri NortonThis week’s featured Voice is Keri Norton. She is a northern MN girl with two adopted boys who keep her busy as well as remind her of God’s blessings daily. She graduated in 1995 from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in Owatonna, MN with a major in Bible and minors in both church ministries and English (with an emphasis on creative writing). She worked one year as a journalist for the local paper, but decided that was not the direction she wanted to take her writing. Her husband is very supportive of her writing dreams and is also her encourage to continue on when she gets lazy on her WIP. Both her boys (Kody-10, and Jaxson-almost 3) have special needs, so she has a very soft heart for people with special needs and tends to include them in some way throughout her WIP.

What is the biggest writing challenge you’ve encountered this past year–craft, career, writing life, etc.?

Just sitting down and doing it…life seems to get in the way too often…surgery, boys’ appointments, church activities.

How did you solve it?

Being accountable to someone for my time spent on the WIP. Pick a spouse, friend, or someone from the forum here to keep you on track.

What is the one thing you learned that you could share with other writers?

One important item to learn early is to be true to yourself about your writing style. As I stated above, I worked as a staff writer/journalist for my local paper for about a year, but it just wasn’t my style of writing and neither myself or my editor were happy with my work. Be willing to admit your strengths and weaknesses and be flexible enough to allow the Lord to guide your writing.

Tell us about your current WIP.

The Faith Walkers

Beaten and left for dead in the northern Minnesota wilderness, nine-year-old Mariah is forced to rely on lessons Papa George taught her about outdoor survival and faith in Christ.

Keri, thank you for being this week’s featured Voice and sharing about your writing life. Visit the My Book Therapy forum and chat with Keri!

Be sure to join us on Friday, October 16 at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST for a My Book Therapy chat with Keri and our book therapists, Susan and/or Rachel. To access the chat forum:

*Log into My Book Therapy.

*Click on the forum button.

*Sign in with your username and password, if necessary.

*Click on the Chat tab.

*Your name will show up in the box on the right hand side. To comment, type in the box in the bottom under the yellow smiley face.

*In the chat room, we will abide by chat etiquette–type ? for question, type ! for comment, and type GA for go ahead after you’re completed your question or comment.

*If you have any questions, e-mail lisa@mybooktherapy.com

Meet the Voices: Kit Wilkinson

download1Meet the Voices presents debut author Kit Wilkinson! Kit is a former Ph.D. student who once wrote discussions on the medieval feminine voice. She now prefers weaving stories of romance and redemption. Her first inspirational manuscript won the prestigious RWA Golden Heart and sold to Steeple Hill Books.

Besides writing, she loves hanging out with friends and family, cooking for lots of people, and participating in almost any sport. She and her husband reside in Virginia with their two young children and spazzy black mutt.

 

What is the biggest writing challenge you’ve encountered this past year – craft, career, writing life, etc.?

 

Selling a second story was a huge challenge for me this past year. My first contract went through in December of 08 so just after this my agent sent in a second completed manuscript. My editor loved the story line but the structure of the novel did not fit the suspense line so she asked for some major revisions.

How did you solve it?

 

 

It actually took hefty two rounds of revisions to transform the story (originally a mystery-romance) into a suspense novel. A lot of rewriting! (And I might have complained once or twice while I was at it.) But the characters and the story survived the transformation and I think/hope the outcome was successful.

What is the one thing you learned that you can share with other writers?

 

 

Get a mentor! Find someone a little further down the road than you are and learn from him/her.

Tell us about your current WIP.

 

I’m working on another romantic suspense. It’s set in Savannah, Georgia, and involves a Coast Guard officer and woman who runs a water guided tour service.

Kit, thanks for sharing with us! Voices can visit Kit’s website and learn more about her writing journey! Visit the Meet the Voices thread in the My Book Therapy forum to discuss writing, life, and everything in between with Kit.

 

Be sure to join us on Friday, October 2 at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST for a My Book Therapy chat with Kit and our book therapists, Susan and/or Rachel. To access the chat forum:

• Log onto My Book Therapy.

• Click on the forum button.

• Sign in with your username and password, if necessary.

• Along the bottom of your browser window, you will see MBT Voices Chat. Click on that and the chat window will pop up.

• Your name will show up in the box on the right hand side. To comment, type in the box in the bottom under the yellow smiley face.

• In the chat room, we will abide by chat etiquette–type ? for question, type ! for comment, and type GA for go ahead after you’re completed your question or comment.

• If you have any questions, e-mail 

lisa@mybooktherapy.com