Happy Friday, TLN'ers!!!
For those of you with designs on entering this year's Golden Heart contest, we've got another success story to share!!
Ashlyn Macnamara finaled in the 2011 GH then went on to sell her MS titled A TALE OF TWO SISTERS!
I first learned of Ashlyn last year through the contest circuit. We both tried our hand at snagging attention on a first five lines challenge at Jennifer Haymore's blog. One glance and I knew immediately Ashlyn was headed for publication. (I should seriously make my own book of wagers, because I've been on the money every time!)
I can't wait to catch a copy of her debut when it hits the shelves.
Pull up a chair and let Ashlyn shore up any flagging ambition! Inspiration is at hand and all you have to do is read!!
1)If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
This is the world's most boring book. You probably want to pick up the one next to it.
Ok, I'll try again. I'm terrible at these kinds of questions, though. They're like the ones people ask at job interviews about your strengths and weaknesses. I never know how to respond to those, either.
When a forty-something supermarket employee realizes a long-held dream, she quits her day job to become a full-time writer.Will she be able to handle success as a romance author or will the first negative review send her back to her cash register?
2)Using three words, describe your voice.
Shrill, off-key, grating… Oh, you mean my writing voice. (Please tell me a hundred other writers haven't used this joke before me.)
Ok: irreverent, emotional, strong (or so I gather based on the widely varying contest scores I always got).
3) Tell us a little about your writer's journey. How did it feel to finally get "The Call"?
A lot of writers will say they've been writing stories since they could hold a crayon in their fingers and not eat it. That's not me. When I was in high school, I ran screaming from anything that even vaguely resembled creative writing. Especially poetry. (Ironically, a workshop instructor once told me I had a poetic voice.)
So for years I didn't write—I didn't know I could write—but I had these ideas for stories in my head. And then I discovered fanfiction. Playing in another author's world with ready-made characters showed me people were willing to read my stories and ask for more. It gave me the courage to try my hand at writing my own original characters. It gave me permission to start committing to paper (I write my drafts long hand) all those stories that had been accumulating in my head.
Part of me still doesn't believe this is happening,even though it got a little more concrete last week when I signed my contract.I don't know when it will become completely real. Perhaps when I get my cover art or when I hold my book in my hands.
4) What was it like to be a Golden Heart Finalist? Any advice for this year's Golden Heart hopefuls?
It was a surreal experience. After I got the call on March 25, 2011, I spent a few days walking in a haze. It had happened. My phone had actually rung and a lady from the RWA (sorry, I have no idea who called me —I blanked a lot out as soon as I realized what the call was--although the poor woman is probably suffering permanent hearing loss from the scream) told me I'd finaled. That part was a shock, really, because my contest experience with A TALE OF TWO SISTERS hadn't been stellar.
So that's my advice. If your gut tells you your MS is strong, even if a few contest judges have told you otherwise, take the chance and enter. I almost didn't enter mine. The previous August, I was in a bad place with my writing, and decided I wasn't ready for something like the GH. Thankfully some friends kicked me in the pants. Cheers, Carla!
May you all have a Carla to kick you in the pants and convince you it's worth the chance.
5) From novice writer to soon-to-be published author: What's life like on the other side of the curtain?
Most days, it's not much different. I can say that,because I haven't got my revisions letter yet. But then my agent will ping me about this or that, and I remember. Oh yeah, I have this contract. I have deadlines. Hell, I have an agent.
And then I get twitchy.
All that's about to change, though, because I've given notice at my day job—not a huge deal, since I was a retail grunt. But because I have a contract and deadlines and a revisions letter looming in the not-so-distant future, I'm going to need time to work on my MS, work on the second book in the series to, you know, actually meet those deadlines.
Guess I'm going to have to find some discipline somewhere along the way, too.
6)What's up next for you? Any news you'd like to dish up?
My debut, titled A TALE OF TWO SISTERS for now (but I expect my publisher will want to change that—I never claimed titles were my forte), is coming in early 2013. The second book in the series is supposed to appear shortly after. Right now, I'm working on the draft of that second book, while I wait for the edits on the first installment.
Blurb for A TALE OF TWO SISTERS:
At the age of two and twenty, Julia St. Claire is headed firmly and happily for the shelf. For years, she has watched her older sister pine for a man who barely acknowledges her. Determined to guard her heart against that sort of pain, Julia seeks nothing more than a civilized, sensible union. Then just such an arrangement is offered–by the man of her sister’s dreams– Julia must choose:betray her sister or turn to her childhood friend, Benedict, and take the risk of opening her heart.
Benedict Revelstoke has resigned his commission and returned to the social whirl of the ton, expecting to pick up his life where he left it:attending his club, gambling, and privately loving Julia St. Claire. When he learns a rake has made her betrothal and reputation the object of a wager, he seeks to warn her. But when he betrays his feelings before the reticent Julia,he fears he has lost their longtime friendship — until she turns up at his townhouse with a scandalous proposal.
Can't wait! Can't wait! Can't wait! 2013 is shaping up to be a year full of promise!! I'd like to thank Ashlyn for letting me interview her. Here's wishing her a long and successful career! If you'd like to know more about Ashlyn Macnamara, please click on over to her website: www.ashlynmacnamara.net/
THANK YOU, TLN'ers!! Hope your weekend is a smashing success! I'll be nose to the computer screen. The GH deadline is nigh!! Good luck and much productivity to all the hopefuls out there!
6 days ago