I am pleased to introduce Amy Jarecki, a soon to be published author whom I met on Twitter. I’ve enjoyed her tweets and so I sent her a direct message asking if she would like to be a guest on The Write Time. To my delight, she agreed! You can see her blog here. She can also be found on twitter as @amyjarecki
So here is Amy:
What genre do you write?
That question is more difficult than you might think. Firstly, I write what moves me, and try to write about things I know. Aside from articles for the Chihuahua Connection Magazine, I only write fiction. I recently took an online author branding class offered by the Romance Writers of America, taught by Stephanie Bond. It made me take a hard look at my genre, and I came up with the tag line, “Adventure kissed by romance,” which is in the header of my blog. My debut novel, KOICTO, is a historical adventure with romantic elements. The book I’m working on now, CHIHUAHUA MOMMA, is a contemporary romance that takes place in the exclusive dog-show world. So, I would say that I write romantic adventures.
Where do you get your inspiration?
How much time do you have? To summarize, I try to always focus on the positive. My mantra – NEVER GIVE UP! I watch people and use life experiences to pull me through. I have a supportive critique group, and I recently attended Dave Farland’s Professional Writers Workshop where I met twenty-two aspiring writers. Every Monday we post our progress in a Yahoo Group – everyone is extremely supportive and encouraging.
In addition, my husband encourages me to follow my dreams. He patiently listens to my ramblings about my characters. He is the most positive influence in my life.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since the second grade. In the sixth grade I would write short stories in my spare time and hand them into the teacher for her editorial review. I wrote for my high school newspaper, and then got derailed by majoring in Accounting and pursuing an MBA because I thought it was more important to pay the bills than to follow my dream of writing. No regrets, here, however. There’s enough online & conference education out there to fill in the gaps that I missed in my college education.
Do you belong to any online or other writing communities?
Yes – I mentioned a few above – The RWA, my critique group and Farland’s writing support group. I am also a member of the League of Utah Writers and the San Francisco Writers University.
How did you find Beta Readers?
The thing about beta readers is that you have to be willing to pay them back. Other writers will read and critique your stuff if you repay the favor. I found a couple readers through Farland’s group, and I made a terrific friend – aspiring author, Mikko Azul, through the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. My mother and daughter read my stuff, but you can’t rely on feedback from family – they’re too close to you.
Did your query letter land you an agent?
Actually, my query letter landed me a publisher. KOICTO is a “niche” book, for which I had difficulty finding representation in New York. John Kremer, author of 1001 WAYS TO MARKET YOUR BOOKS, has a list of the top 101 independent publishers on his web site, where I found Sunstone Press. They specialize in the Southwest and Native American books. I mailed them my query, they asked for a full, and sent me a contract.
I will be sending out queries for CHIHUAHUA MOMMA when it’s ready. Wish me luck!
When will your book be published?
KOICTO is slated to be published in “late 2011.” I should have an exact date for the release soon. It will be available both in paperback and e-book.
When do you find time to write?
With a full-time job, I have to be very disciplined about my writing. I write at night for 2-4 hours and I get up early on weekends. My goal is 4-5,000 words per week, and I hit it every week.
How do you balance your writing with your “real” life?
My kids are in college, so that helps. I never write on Friday nights – that’s special time with my husband. Also, when he gets up on weekend mornings, we plan our day – hiking, golf, biking. You have to set aside time for the people in your life too.
How do you schedule your writing?
In addition to the schedule above - writing comes first before blogging, Twitter and FB.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Keep learning and working on your craft. Get as many people to look at your writing as possible, and stick with it. Practice makes perfect!
To what do you attribute your success?
I think people make their own success. The keys are to know your stuff and approach life with a positive attitude, be disciplined with your time, use every opportunity to advertise, and always realize there is more to learn.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I posted a preview of my book trailer for KOICTO on my blog on July 28th. I’d love to get feedback. I’m going to post it on YouTube once the book is out for pre-release. My blog is http://amyjarecki.blogspot.com and you can find me on Twitter: @amyjarecki or Facebook: Amy Jarecki – I follow back!