Velda is one of the founding members of the NWA Writer’s Workshop. Not only is she immersed in her own writing career, she graciously volunteers her time to meet with a growing group of writers every week on Thursdays to help us whip our manuscripts into shape. Today I’m proud to have her answering my 11-Questions.
Author name: Velda Brotherton
Latest title: Stone Heart’s Woman and Wolf Song , both November releases
1. I’m always interested in the writer’s process. How often do you write? Do you have a daily word count goal? Give me an overview (or detailed if you really want to go there) of your writing life.
I write every day but Sunday when I laze around and visit with family. Usually I do my email for an hour or more in the a.m., then write from 1 to 5 or so. Often I do this in jammies unless I’m expecting company, which isn’t too often during a workday.
I’ve never had a word count goal. I write and once I get involved in the story, fingers fly and my mind follows suit. I’ve been writing like this since 1983, and have never tired of it. As I’ve gotten more involved in several projects at a time, I’ve had to set up a schedule that allows certain work done on certain days so I can keep up with emails, promotion, writing blogs and short stories and articles and whatever book or novel (s) I’m working on. During the day I try to spend a half hour or so sitting on the patio in the sun, or in the summer I take time out to swim with my daughter when she’s not busy. At night I often lie awake living in one of the stories I’m working on or setting up a workshop. I hold two a year.
2. Do you also work a full-time non-writer job or career?
Nope. I’m retired from all that nonsense and have been since we moved back to Arkansas in 1972. We weren’t Hippies, but back-to-the-landers.
3. How supportive has your family been of your writing time? Have you ever had to fight for your right to write?
Early on, when I was writing with no interest from publishers, I often got this sideways look and sometimes even a, “How long are you going to do this before you give up?” question. My husband was ambivalent at first, but after I started to get published he became very supportive. When my mother was alive, she resented the time I spent writing when she wanted me to spend more time with her, but she was actually responsible for me going to work for a weekly newspaper that led me to so many stories over the years. She loved my books, too.
4. How long does it take you to write (from start to finish) a novel?
My novels usually take at least a year to write, and that includes research, which takes a couple of months, off and on, depending on whether it’s historical or contemporary. I’ve one novel, though, that I’ve worked on off and on since I began to write. One day I may get it right and publish it.
5. What route to publishing did you take (agent, traditional, self-pub), and how long did it take from finish to publication?
I’ve gone just about every route there is so far. I’ve had three agents with traditional publishing in New York, I’ve gone the regional publshing route with no agent, and now I’m self-publishing, if you could call it that, the back list of western historical novels that were originally published in New York. They are going on Kindle, but will eventually be on all digital Ebook formats. And I intend to follow that up by self publishing some novels that have never quite suited NY publishers.
6. Is there a theme, or premise you’d really like readers to connect with in your latest book?
You know, I hear theme tossed around all the time, but never think of it when I write a book. I think about my characters, their strengths and weaknesses and how they’re going to survive all the problems I throw at them. I suppose you might say I write about women strong enough to stand up to adversity, no matter how bad it gets. But theme? Who knows what that really means? I don’t.
7. Where are you going now, are you working on a sequel, or something entirely different?
Yes, in fact, I have three women’s fiction manuscripts stacked on my desk right now.
If I ever get them edited just the way I want, I plan on publishing them to E
Books. I also have two new books coming out: One is a Western Historical
Romance, Stone Heart’s Woman with The Wild Rose Press and the other is a
mainstream paranormal, Wolf Song from SynergEbooks. It will be out in November.
Another book that will surprise everyone, I expect, is still sitting at a
publishers waiting to be considered.
8. Where do you find inspiration for your stories and novels?
In my life and the lives of others and a very wild imagination. Sometimes I’ll be watching a movie and some character will walk through and I’ll suddenly imagine her involved in my story. Or at the end of a story, I’ll wonder what might have happened next and write a book about it, not using a single character from the original story. Things strike me at the oddest moments. Sitting on the shoreline of a lake in the Ouachita Mountains in Southern Arkansas while on a camping trip, I came up with one of the women’s fiction novels I’m editing now. By the time we left our campsite and came home I had most of the idea stuck in my head. All it needed was the writing.
9. With all the focus lately on authors providing a lot of their own self-promotion, what are you doing in this respect?
concentrating on online promotion. Last summer I wore myself out physically
promoting two regional nonfiction books. I won’t do that again, I can’t. The
Internet offers all I need to promote E books and that’s where I’m going with
it. Guest blogging, getting acquainted on special social media sites that cater
to my audience, making sure my books are featured any and everywhere available.
It’s a never ending process.
10. Who or what would you say has been the biggest influence on you as a writer?
Oddly enough, both are men. The biggest influence on
my early writing is Dusty Richards who supported me from the beginning, who
urged me on when I wanted to back off; the other was Parker Rushing, the editor
of the newspaper I worked for. He taught me so much and did so much for me
early in my career. In fact he threw my first publication party at his home.
Sadly, he passed away soon after my first book came out, but I’ll always think
of him as a huge supporter and good friend.
11. Where can we find your book? Is it available in e-format as well?
My books are all available at Amazon including the Kindle editions.
Barnes and Noble also carries all my print books, as do several other online
book stores. It’s really easy to find them. Search for Velda Brotherton at
Amazon and they’ll all pop up. That’s easier than a link for each book.
My website is www.veldabrotherton.com for those who want to read first chapters and find direct links to order my books.