Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Interview with author Ginger Simpson
Today, my guest is multi-published author, Ginger Simpson. Ginger will have her first young adult novel, Shortcomings, published by MuseItUp Publishing. There is a release date of March, 2011. She is also under contract for two romance stories as well.
1) Tell me a little about your book.
My upcoming release from Muse It Up Publishing is my first attempt at a young adult novel. I’m very pleased at how it turned out, but I had no idea how hard it would be to put myself into a young girl’s mind…especially one with a disability. Cindy Johnson is born with one leg shorter than other and allows her disability to define who she is and what she’s capable of. While typing about how she grew weary of rude stares and hurtful comments, I equated my insecurity with my weight to her problem, and I was able to see the world through her eyes.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Most of my work is character-driven. My head has a revolving door through which they pass, and all have a story to tell. I’m simply the means to an end. It gets pretty noisy in there sometimes.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I consider myself a full-time writer since I retired a few years back. Writing includes so many tasks: promoting, marketing, blogging, chatting, answering emails…it’s very hard to organize a time when I devote myself purely to a work-in-progress. Like I state above, I wait until a character grabs my attention and begins the story telling. I listen and type, then when I’m finished, I go back and add in the elements that make the story a novel.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I never expected to become a published author. I’ve always loved writing and got good grades on essays in school. I would say that my love of western historical novels gets credit for pushing me to see if I could write one myself. I’m very fortunate that Lorraine Spencer from Wing ePress decided my story, Prairie Peace, was worth the time and effort.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
First of all, there is no better feeling than when the reader GETS what you’re trying to portray in your novel. As far as what I hope each person takes away from my work, satisfaction is my answer. I’d like to picture the reader closing the cover and releasing a satisfied sigh. Who could ask for more?
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Western historical is my favorite genre, and the love for the old west was deeply seeded by the myriad of old westerns I was forced to watch on television. I grew up with Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, and of course, any movie starring John Wayne always took priority. I’ve dabbled in other genres but I always keep coming back to the old west. Laura Ingalls Wilder and her wonderful Little House series got me hooked on reading historical novels, and I love when someone compares my writing to hers. It’s happened.
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
For me, the toughest part has been finding a good fit with a publisher. There are so many houses, and not all are run by people who care about their authors. I’ve had three rotten experiences, and I’ve finally learned to research my options before I consider querying. I recommend that to all new authors. Ask tons of questions, especially from authors already contracted there. If there’s a problem, you’ll find about it. Google the publisher’s name; the Internet never erases anything. I recently signed with Muse It Up Publishing, and I can’t say enough good things about the owner, staff and authors there.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
I wasn’t born with a disability, but I’ve always battled my weight. That’s how I connected with Cindy in Shortcomings. I think we always have a little of ourselves in our books. In high school, I couldn’t find my niche for a while, and I recall how lonely and different I felt. Yep…some of my real life is included in the story.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Cindy is only like the Ginger who went to High School. We share no similarity at this point. My heroine hasn’t yet discovered her worth while I’ve grown comfortable with who I am. I like myself.
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Compared to historical novels, this book was a cinch to write. I didn’t really have to research much more than the educational requirements or certification required to teach at a school for the blind. In historical novels, you have to pepper the story with facts, and they best be right or you lose credibility as an historical author.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Since I don’t enjoy reading them, I avoid both. I’ve always run away from conflict, so I have no idea about violence, and I’m a “closed door” person when it comes to sex scenes. I think my “prudishness” was caused by all of my grandmother’s harpings about nasty little boys and them wanting to get into my panties. I didn’t know what they’d do once they got there, but the whole idea never appealed to me.
12) What about your book makes it special?
Boy, that’s tough. I don’t consider myself to be better than all the other authors vying for the same notoriety, so the best I can hope for is that the young adult readers enjoy Shortcomings and tell their friends. I think the emotions and reactions in the story are realistic and I’m hoping the ending will bring that satisfied sigh I talked about earlier.
13) What is your marketing plan?
With Muse It Up Publishing, I expect to be very proactive in marketing. Lea Schizas, the owner, is brainstorming with the authors about what, when and how to get yourself recognized and your work purchased. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I’m open to any new ideas, and I’m happy to share what I’ve tried…what worked and what didn’t.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
I maintain a website and a blog. Both places showcase my books, although my website features the video trailers and excerpts. You can find me at http://gingersimpson.com or at http://mizging.blogspot.com. Come August, I’ve hosting a blog-a-thon, where fellow authors post on “Dishin’ It Out.” I hope you’ll join me in welcoming them and reading what they share.
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
I have learned so much over the years, it would take hours for me to share. The most important lesson I learned at the beginning: There is a vast difference between a story and a novel. A story is telling, and a novel is showing everything to the reader. Sharing the smells, feeling the breeze, crying the tears. You must draw the reader in and put them in the character’s shoes.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Penny. I was honored to be asked, and I look forward to learning more about my new “muse sister.”
Ginger, thank you for being my guest today. I also look forward to learning about you and reading more of your work.