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Ask the Author
Love Inspired Books
> Get to know Debbie Kaufman
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Oct 28, 2011 08:21AM
1.What’s your sale story? How did you end up selling to Love Inspired?
I took a chance and placed a bid on the annual Brenda Novak Auction for the Cure. Senior Editor Melissa Endlich had donated a meeting at RWA and a critique of three chapters to help raise money for diabetes research. I had three chapters and a synopsis of a story, an inspirational historical, totally unlike anything I had written before this. It was also a story everyone told me to set elsewhere, because 1918 Liberia, Africa would never sell. I wanted Melissa’s advice, so I bid and sent up a small prayer.
I lost the bid.
However, Anna Stewart, who coordinates so much of the auction, asked Melissa if she would be willing to donate a second package if I matched the winning bid. Melissa, being the generous soul that she is, agreed to give just a little more of herself.
The meet and greet with Melissa at RWA Nationals went wonderfully; she really is a sweetheart. After that, I went home and waited for my critique.
That was my first serious mistake.
I literally waited and devoted my time to finishing revisions on a suspense story. In my mind, it was a good idea to get her input before proceeding. I have yet to figure out why I thought that made sense.
Around the end of November 2010, Melissa sent me a glowing request for the full. I had expected a critique and instead she wanted the full. Looking back, I have to laugh at myself for being so unprepared for the sale. So, I did what any professional aspiring author would do.
And then I got to work.
Here’s the confidential part, just between us, right? I’m not sure my editor should know how fast I can work when necessary.
Due to family needs, I didn’t start the rest of the book until two days after Christmas. The last 35,000 words of The Doctor’s Mission were written, the story completely revised twice, and on the editor’s desk within thirty days. Six days later the Senior Editor of the historical line, Tina James, called me to say Love Inspired was buying my book.
I highly recommend the Novak auction. I do not recommend waiting to finish the book!
2. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been seriously writing for about the last two years. Before that I wrote sporadically for three years, treating the process as if I were learning a hobby.
3. How many books did you write before selling to Love Inspired?
The Doctor’s Mission was only my second manuscript. My first manuscript, a suspense-driven story that I consider my learning project, really paved the way for writing The Doctor’s Mission.
4. What’s the best piece of writing advice you received in helping sell your first book?
Besides just finish the book? Learn what a specific publisher or line requires. After I studied the Love Inspired Historical line, it made a huge difference in how I shaped my story. I was able to stay true to my plot lines and characters and still meet the parameters for a Love Inspired story. I don’t think I can emphasize enough that you must read what you want to write.
5. What’s something you wish you’d known when you started your writing
I wish I’d understood that good writing is really rewriting. And rewriting. And rewriting. Until you get it right.
6. Do you have a Bible verse that guides your writing? If so, what is it?
In a sense, I do. Proverbs 3: 5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
I stumbled upon this scripture at the age of ten while secretly reading the Bible in an attempt to learn something about God. These verses were a powerful message to a child already convinced that most people couldn’t be trusted and wondering if God was any different. This scripture gave me hope in what was an otherwise outwardly hopeless life. These days I don’t have to hide my Bible reading, and I have a decorative inscription of Proverbs 3:5,6 sitting on my desk where I write.
7. What is your favorite writing book?
There are so many great writing books out there, but my absolute favorite is Break Into Fiction: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells, by two former Harlequin authors, Mary Buckham and NYT Best Seller Dianna Love. These two fabulous mentors teach a power plotting method that really helped me to understand the basics of writing any novel.
8. What is the most recent Love Inspired book you’ve read?
Renee Ryan’s Courting the Enemy, a September Love Inspired Historical release set in the dangerous time of WWII. As you can tell, I’m a little behind in my reading since my writing schedule just went on steroids. I have all of the other September and October releases on my shelf waiting for my next spare minute.
9. What does your writing life look like?
At the beginning of the week, I set specific goals with another writing friend, a relationship designed to keep us both immediately accountable. Most weekdays I write from early morning to mid- afternoon. My brain rarely functions for writing at night. One day a week, another writing friend and I get together and push each other to produce at a higher volume. Sounds perfect, right?
I wish! Because two of my four children still live at home, one a high-school senior, my schedule varies as needed. It especially varies around the three grandchildren. If I get too off-track, my failsafe writing method is to sneak off to a friend’s lake cabin and keep my fingers on the keyboard from six in the morning till six at night until she kicks me out or my family mutinies.
10. What advice would you give to an aspiring Love Inspired author?
Don’t submit a book until it’s really ready. After you’ve studied the line and finished your book, get a thorough critique and listen to what’s being said. Through RWA find a published author to help you, bid on a critique at the annual Brenda Novak auction, enter critique-based contests. Do whatever it takes to make your book the best it can be before you ever submit. Oh, and definitely finish the book BEFORE you send it to Love Inspired!
Dec 09, 2011 01:58PM
Debbie, It is nice to meet you here, this book really sounds like a good one even though it took you awhile to get started and be recognised.
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