I’d like to welcome our guest today, GLYNNA KAYE. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your session has begun.
I understand you have a new release, “Dreaming of Home,” coming out this month from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
Thanks for inviting me here today! My first published book is set in the fictional small town of Canyon Springs in the beautiful mountain country of north central Arizona.
Fresh out of the military, widower Joe Diaz is determined to raise his young son alone. But his next door neighbor Meg McGuire has set her sights on the same house--and teaching job--as Joe. He's all about family now, not romantic entanglements, and he won't give up without a fight. But what about little Davy, who's growing more attached to Miss Meg every day? Or Joe who finds himself dreaming of a home and family with the one woman in town who could take it all away?
“Dreaming of Home” is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
The original name under which I submitted it to the 2008 Golden Pen Contest was “An Inconvenient Love.” When it sold to Steeple Hill, I was asked to suggest names to better fit their “hearth and home” brand. So family and friends helped me brainstorm. In my story both Meg and Joe are dreaming of making small town Canyon Springs their home, so the new title is a perfect fit!
What made you decide to write in this genre?
I’ve always written from a Christian worldview, but for a long time I didn’t seriously consider writing “inspirational” fiction. I mean, didn’t you have to be an ex-missionary? Be married to a pastor? Be a much more perfect and spiritually mature person than I am? But over the years, God gradually showed me that his strength is made perfect in my weakness. I don’t have to fit a mold for him to use me to write the stories he wants told. He’s looking for a growing faith, a teachable heart, and a willing spirit.
Are you a plotter or a panster, and how did it affect the writing of this book?
I’m what you might call a planster. I can’t just run out there and start writing without SOME kind of plan in mind or I go off on tangents that waste my time and have to be cut out later. But I’m also not one to whom the ability was given to map it all out right down to every twist and turn detail from the get-go. So I get a basic overall story “foundation” laid out in a synopsis, make a high-level, couple-of-lines breakdown by chapter, and then the details of its construction grow and morph as I write. So much comes in the actual writing and revision stages when I’m layering in the depth. I’m still a newbie writer, but with each new book I’m attempting to become better at “blueprinting” the fictional “house” I want to build. When I know where I’m going, I can make much more efficient use of my limited writing time. But I still have a lot to learn!
Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?
I traveled to the general area where the fictional town of Canyon Springs is set. I also spent a great deal of time researching a medical condition that plays a part in the story, and did a lot of research on hero Joe Diaz’s Navy background. Spent a lot of time on the official U.S. Navy website. They probably track “hits’ to the site, so I’m very likely on the government “watch list”--or may be receiving recruitment materials any day now! I also wrote dozens of questions that an ex-Navy friend graciously answered.
What are your favorite research books or sites?
I don’t have particular books or sites that I use. It all depends on what the issue is that I need to research. I try to stick to reliable sources and confirm info found in one place with others.
Where did you get your idea for this particular book?
I tend to collect ideas from all over and jot them down to use later. The opening line of “Dreaming of Home” initially sparked years ago at a fabric shop when I recognized an actor who’d played a pirate in a community theatre production. Thus was born the original version of “It was at precisely one o’clock on a sunny, September Saturday afternoon when Megan McGuire spied the pirate.” The line stuck with me and I knew I’d someday use it for SOMETHING, but didn’t then know what. Eventually it lit the “what if” fires that ignited the story and drew other ideas to it like a magnet.
Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?
Joe and Meg both have a special place in my heart--but Joe’s little boy, Davy, was a special delight! I don’t know where that little guy came from, but he just came alive for me.
Tell us about how you develop your characters—do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? I’m still a newbie at this and still learning, so I’ve probably tried about ever trick in the book from completing character profiles, to interviewing them, to referencing books or worksheets on character development. I think the main thing I learned in using all of these tools is that even if you’re filling out the character sheets that ask “what’s his favorite color?” “What color are her eyes?’ the simplistic, surface answer isn’t as important as the WHY behind the answer. His favorite color is green. WHY? Because it reminds him of money? Or the great outdoors? Or was it the favorite color of his Dad who died when the hero was seven? It’s the WHY’s that intrigue me into digging below the surface to build a character.
How does your research affect your character development?
I think research enables you to go deeper than stereotypes of your characters or story situations. We’re to a great extent the sum of our experiences. A person who grew up in a happy, secure home will likely have a very different outlook on life than someone who raised themselves on the streets of L.A. In the case of Dreaming of Home’s Joe Diaz, my research into Navy corpsmen colored who Joe is, what makes him tick.
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
TONS. Too many to name!
What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
Again, I’m a newbie at all this, but I think the most bang for the buck comes from having a website. I don’t have a personal blog yet or a Facebook or Twitter presence mainly because they are so time consuming and time is something I don’t have much to spare right now. For two years I’ve maintain an on-line presence at www.seekerville.blogspot and more recently www.loveinspired authors.com and www.eharlequin.com. I’m doing guest blogs during the month of my book’s release and will have a local book signing.
I also believe word-of-mouth is super important. My Mom designed cute note cards that have the book cover on the front and the blurb on the back. Then inside is all the info on my upcoming release—plus room for me to write a personal note. I’ve mailed those to family and long-time friends all across the country and they, in turn, are telling their friends. My Dad submitted an announcement about my book to his school alumni newsletter! And I gave the owner of the high-traffic salon where I get my hair done a copy of my book and she’s posted an announcement of my upcoming book signing.
But right now, as a newbie, I feel my first priority is writing the best book I can and that’s where my time needs to be focused—on learning to become a writer who readers can depend on to deliver the type of story they’re already coming to look for from me.
What do we have to look forward to next?
I’m working on a story set in the same fictional Arizona mountain town as my first book. It features a hero and heroine who appeared as secondary characters in “Dreaming of Home.” Meg’s friend Kara Dixon and Joe’s “rival” Trey Kenton have some major issues to overcome before they can find a happily ever after in Canyon Springs!
To celebrate her book release, Glynna is offering a free copy of Dreaming of Home to one lucky commenter on today’s blog. (check back Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning depend on number of commenters)
Glynna will be out and about today, but will do her best to pop in as she can to answer questions or respond to comments, so please ask away…
An ACFW "Genesis" and RWA Faith, Hope & Love "Touched by Love" award winner, GLYNNA KAYE'S first published book DREAMING OF HOME is an October 2009 Steeple Hill Love Inspired release.
Check out this author’s website at http://www.glynnakaye.com/ and visit http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/.