Mondays are the best! No really, they are (at least this one is)! Keep reading to find out why….
So this is Natalie Monk (left). She’s a super sweet gal who writes inspirational historical romance spiced with southern humor and small-town oddities. She invited me along on this little tour. Her post went up last week which you can read at her Sweet South Blog.
I met Natalie online through our author friend Nancy Kimball. I’m a virtual assistant for Nancy and Natalie happened to win her giveaway that week. We really hit it off! I’m so excited for the big ACFW Conference in the fall where I hope I’ll get to meet her in person.
More About Natalie…
Her writing has won several awards in pre-published contests. She is currently editing her first novel and mixing up ingredients for her next story plot. A country girl from the time she could shimmy under a string of barbed wire, Natalie makes her home in North Mississippi. She proudly wears the label of “preacher’s kid,” and is a homeschool graduate, piano teacher, part-time portrait photographer, and certified wedding-planner. She loves sweet tea, girl talk (usually about books), porch swings, and watching old movies with her family Natalie accepted God’s gift of salvation at a young age and tries to learn and grow every day in her Christian life. Her goal in writing, and in living, is to bring glory to Jesus Christ.
For this tour I was asked to answer four questions (read on for my big, best-Monday-ever news!)…
1. What are you working on?
My first novel is a young adult urban fantasy set partly in our world, and partly in another realm. The major themes are true beauty and sacrificial love. It’s a novel written by a Christian (me), but I am not labeling it as a “Christian” novel…and here’s why: I want to reach beyond the Inspy fiction shelves with my writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Inspy genre. Karen Kingsbury anyone? The thing about my book is that it’s written for teen girls. Having once been one of those many years ago I know that Christian teens will read many different genres, but non-Christian teens won’t step foot in the Inspy section (for the most part). I think the story I’m working on is for the saved and the unsaved alike. We all need to know the King. This is the best way I know to introduce Him to those who’ve never met Him!
I can’t say much more about my novel other than that it will be ready for querying in September because….
I got a call this morning and I am a finalist in the ACFW 2014 Genesis Contest for unpublished authors!
The rules of the contest state I cannot share my novel’s title or anything else that might be seen by a judge. It would disqualify my entry. Sorry. Check back in October if you want to know more. Winners are announced in September. Listen. Do you hear that squealing sound? Yep, that’s me jumping on the bed and screaming like a sixteen-year-old girl who just got asked to prom!
2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?
My story weaves several elements together that I think make it unique. First, you won’t find insta-love in my novel. None of this Bella and Edward stuff. Don’t get me wrong I’m a Twilight fan, but the idea that you can see someone across the room an instantly love them is not real life. The first time I saw my husband I was attracted to him. I had a major crush on this cute, guitar-playing older guy. In my nineteen-year-old brain maybe I thought of it as “love at first sight”, but looking back I know now that isn’t love. Love is my man standing next to me in the ER while my baby is being born. Love is him bringing me home a chocolate chip cookie from work. Love is being there, everyday, no matter what. I think a lot of YA novels out there give teen girls the wrong idea. They portray this fantasy of the perfect guy. I don’t think that’s realistic. I’d like to play a part in changing romance for teens.
There will be no premarital sex in my books. I know it’s realistic, but it’s definitely not the message I want to send to my daughters. I think romance can be written in a way that pleases the audience without crossing the bedroom door line. (Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon is a great example of this).
I also believe my work is unique because it is written for the secular market, but it’s clean. It is not profane, and in the end the underlying message is always a Biblical one. It’s the kind of clean fiction the mainstream market needs without being preachy or cheesie.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I write YA because I love to read YA. I remember those awful teen years. Sometimes books were my only friends. I think it’s such a great age, full of self-discovery and just figuring out who you are and what you want. As an adult, sometimes I still feel that way. The great thing about YA is that even adults enjoy it. I think that’s because no matter what age we are, we’re still figuring life out, learning new things and just trying to fit in (or stand out, as the case may be).
4. How does your writing process work?
I must confess I’m guilty of the picture to the right. I used to have this unrealistic idea that I would have a special time everyday when I would go in my bedroom, close the door and, with latte in hand, tap out a few thousand words and feel good about myself for the day.
That has never once happened.
Writing happens when it happens. Maybe when my kids are grown and I can afford a maid I’ll turn into Stephen King and spend the entire morning writing. Maybe not. I write in the spare moments that aren’t consumed with diaper changes, math lessons or trips to story time. My family comes first. I never want to be the person who found success (hopefully) as an author, but estranged herself from her family. Granted, sometimes I do come up with the best stuff whenever I’m away from my laptop, thus the picture, but that’s why I carry my Moleskine with me everywhere I go. My sister laughed when she saw it, wondering why I have pictures of Joshua Jackson and Alex Pettyfer taped into the pages. She thought it was some secret diary that I kept from my husband of the guys I fantasize about. I literally laughed out loud at that one. “No,” I explained. “Those are the characters in my book.” (As if that makes me sound any saner.)
My process really just has 5 basic needs: my laptop, notes, coffee, chocolate and music. Even if the kids are screaming and Barney is asking if I’ll say I love him too somewhere in the background, if I have those 5 essentials I’m good. If I waited for the perfect time to write, I’d never write.
As of right now I’m in the revision stage of my novel. I edit 4 chapters a week. Each chapter gets looked over and re-edited at least 5 times before anyone is allowed to see it. Consistency and discipline are important, but there’s no exact process to it. Sometimes Monday is great and I get ahead of schedule. Sometimes I do one chapter a day. The important thing is that, by Friday, I’ve reached my goal. Doesn’t matter how I got there. What matters is I did.
I’ve “tagged” some friends, who will answer these questions on their blogs next week on the 23rd. Be sure and check them out!
Christen Krumm is a work at home mom, former coffee addict turned tea addict (ok I’m still addicted to coffee), YA Fiction writer who lives in a semi-small town in Arkansas. Always strapped to my iPhone, Litfuse Nester, and a sinner saved by grace. Dirty diapers, books, running (or not), paper loving, instagrams, messes, lover of one. She’s a great critique partner and an awesome friend. She writes action-packed, suspenseful fiction for young adults. Find her at ChristenKrumm.com.
Scott Abel is a husband and father who has a love for storytelling. You can learn more about Scott and his stories by visiting his website at abelstories.wordpress.com.