Love Inspired Books discussion

Ruth Logan Herne's writing journey

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message 1: by Love Inspired (new)

Love Inspired Books (loveinspiredbooks) | 1035 comments Mod
Dream, first, like oh my goodness gracious sakes to Betsy, I’M HERE!!!!

Can you believe it????

So, how’s my hair? Good? Because it is, after all, all about the HAIR!!!! Smile
And these pants? Do they make me look fat? Because I can change them. Really. It’ll only take a minute. I answered all your sweet questions and thank you for NOT inquiring as to my weight and swimsuit size. It is, after all, only March. I’ve got MONTHS yet.

1.What’s your sale story? How did you end up selling to Steeple Hill?
Oh, Dream, honey, I don’t think we have enough time or space for THAT elongated story. But…
Since I LOVE talking about it, here goes:

Tina Radcliffe sent an SOS to the Seeker loop in late 2007. The “Finally a Bride” contest sponsored by her chapter, OKRWA, needed inspirational entries and did anyone have anything ready to enter because the deadline was fast approaching.

I said sure. Melissa Endlich had recently taken the helm at Steeple Hill and I’d heard wonderful things about her from other authors. She’d never seen my work and I wanted to interview her for Seekerville, so it seemed like a smart move.

As long as I didn’t totally annoy her with the interview, LOL! I entered two stories.

I was named a double finalist in the contest. OH, YAY!!!! Then Melissa awarded me first and second place and asked for completes on both. They were longer works, but I had used the time to shorten them to Love Inspired length. That’s a huge part of targeting an editor, a line. Why would you want to show Love Inspired an 80,000 word book? After reading the first book, Melissa sent me a lovely rejection letter, but encouraged me to send the second full manuscript.

I did, a sweet story called “Seeking the Garden.” It was a story that had bombed in some contests with very negative comments about how it would never fly, that no one wants to read a story about hospice and/or death, and what a weird setting for a romance. But since my family had dealt with hospice when my mother had cancer, we had become big cheerleaders for God-anointed death. Peace. Coming to terms. And this romance called to me from the moment I ‘saw’ Kayla eyeing an inaccessible window, dark and dirty, never opened, never used. I had to know why that window affected her… And “Winter’s End” was born.

Melissa called me in mid-June, and has since contracted two more North Country stories, Waiting Out the Storm, due out in July of ’10 and Made to Order Family, slated for September of ’10.

I am truly blessed to be working with Melissa and Joan and the entire crew of Steeple Hill. And umm, did I mention that Winter’s End, the story that was “dissed” in several contests (but not Finally a Bride, LOL!) was awarded 4 ½ Stars by Romantic Times. SWEET!!!

2.How long have you been writing?
Since birth????
Or thereabouts. ;)
With the avid goal of publication, I’ve been writing for eight years. I don’t even want to think of how pathetic that sounds, but I’m actually okay with it. God’s time. I learned a lot along the way, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

3.How many books did you write before selling to Steeple Hill?
I have fifteen completed manuscripts and several outlines right now. Some are too long for Steeple Hill/Love Inspired. But I’m working on new proposals for 2011 and looking forward to having a long and successful relationship with Melissa and the crew. And can I just say that I’m totally over-the-top in love with the art department that comes up with LI covers???? And if that sounds like I’m gushing, I am. I LOVE my covers. The cover for Waiting Out the Storm hasn’t been posted on book sellers websites yet, but it’s perfect. Absolutely perfect. I can’t wait to see what they give me for Made to Order Family.

4.What’s the best piece of writing advice you received in helping sell your first book?
Seekers are known for their persistence. We’re a group of fifteen Christian authors who met while bumping heads in romance writing contests four years ago. We decided to join forces, form our own group and pray one another into publication. Right now 13/15 are contracted or published, several of us with Steeple Hill.

My buddy Tina Radcliffe sent me an Einstein quote she has posted above her computer:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results." That and persistence, the Churchill ideology of “Nevah give up”.

Success is one of those immeasurable traits, but if I were to pick one piece of advice, it would be to embrace persistence and determination despite the odds. Doctors beat odds every day. Why can’t we?

5.What’s something you wish you’d known when you started your writing journey?
I wish I knew how to play the piano. If only… Smile

6.Do you have a Bible verse that guides your writing? If so, what is it?
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…”
Ecclesiastes 3:1
This verse embodies God’s will, his timing, our impatience, and the presence of a Godly plan, a common-sense directive that simplifies the craziness of our third millennium lives. I love it.

7.What is your favorite writing book?

About that.
I don’t do writing books.
Gulp. Do you want me to pretend??? Because I CAN PRETEND to read all kinds of things, to plot by various prescribed methods, to pay attention to arcs and curves and beats, but the truth is:
I write. And write. And write. And then I edit, edit, edit and edit some more. I’m quite boring, actually.

8.What is the most recent Steeple Hill book you’ve read?
Several, actually. Missy Tippens “A Forever Christmas”, Patricia Davids’ “A Family for Thanksgiving”, and Jillian Hart’s “The Soldier’s Holiday Vow”. My TBR pile has several Seeker books in it, plus a Linda Goodnight, among others.

9.What does your writing life look like?
Life??? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!
I am the most blessed of blessed women. I have a delightful full-time job as a daycare provider to a great group of babies and toddlers. What a gift to be able to help young parents shape the focus and goals of their sweet babies. And working with their young mothers and fathers every day keeps my perspective current, a must for an author.


I cannot write, blog, research, edit, etc. with a horde of small children in constant need of tissues, chocolate milk and diapers. On top of that, I teach my preschoolers all the same basics I taught my own children, so lesson time is a BIG thing in our house.

I write between 4:00 A.M. and 6:30 A.M. Then I edit, market, research, etc. at night once the kids have been picked up. A long day?
Worth it?
Would I change spots with anyone in the world?
Not on your life.

10.What advice would you give to an aspiring Steeple Hill author?
Do not be afraid to cut, to edit. If you really want to write, editing, cutting, slicing and dicing…
It’s in the job description. Embrace it. Your words are part of a process that becomes a finished book, but trust your editors to know where to cut, where to add, where to question. They get paid to know their audience, their line. Developing a strong working relationship of mutual respect just makes sense, right?
Becoming the author an editor wants to work with is a huge part of becoming an author.

Follow Love Inspired books on Twitter! Winter's End (Steeple Hill Love Inspired (Large Print)) by Ruth Logan Herne

message 2: by Ausjenny (new)

Ausjenny | 517 comments I ordered this book with my birthday giftcard

message 3: by Love Inspired (new)

Love Inspired Books (loveinspiredbooks) | 1035 comments Mod
I love giftcards for that reason! I wish more people would do that rather than give me junk I won't use. I'll always use a giftcared for more books!

message 4: by Ausjenny (new)

Ausjenny | 517 comments yep. and for overseas getting a giftvoucher from christianbook is way more efficent than amazon.

message 5: by Janet (new)

Janet Dean | 34 comments Ruthy and Danica, wonderful interview! Nothing makes me happier than reliving the success of a Seeker! You'll love Winter's End, Jenny!

message 6: by Love Inspired (new)

Love Inspired Books (loveinspiredbooks) | 1035 comments Mod
Yes, you will. I just finished it a few days ago. Er, wait. Maybe like a month ago. ACK! I can't keep track. I spent a weekend in the mountains with friends, and I read it then. I enjoyed it. :)

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