Today we have my twitter pall Jeannine Garsee joining us for Writers on Writing! Let’s take a look into this author’s writing life.
What is your brainstorming process for a new book?
I brainstorm every waking moment; my mind works in turbo mode when I’m thinking about a new story or in the process of writing one. It’s all I can focus on as I go through my daily routine. I talk to myself in the car, reciting passages I home to write down as soon as I can (yeah, people look at me strangely from other cars, too). I often wake up early with new ideas that need to be jotted down. I also toss ideas back and forth with my daughter, who also writes, or with several trusted friends who can give me some honest feedback.
Can you explain your typical work week day?
Well, because I worked as a registered nurse 4 days a week, those are generally 4 that I get nothing done as far as writing is concerned. I need long periods of uninterrupted writing; I can’t squeeze a couple hours in here and there when I know my time is limited. So on a typical “writing” day I will take my lap top to a nearby coffee shop, usually about 9-9:30 in the morning and stay there, writing, till 3 or 4 p.m. or else get there in the afternoon and stay till 9 p.m. I try to do this twice a week. On days that I do have to go to my “real” job (I work the 3-11 shift) I make an effort to at least get some blogging down or write/answer e-mails before I go into work.
Tell us about when you made the decision to write.
I’ve always told or written down stories, from the time I was able to speak or draw pictures. When I was 9 years old I wrote a story for my fourth grade class and the teacher chose mine to read out loud to the class. The class loved it, my teacher raved about it, and I think that was the moment I knew I wanted to write for other people. When I started writing my first novel at 13, I had what can only be described as an “epiphany” and I promised myself then that I’d one day be published—never mind that it took me YEARS to reach that goal!
What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?
As far as writing is concerned, learn the craft, and the best way to do this is to read, read, read. Read especially the genre in which you hope to write. See what works and what doesn’t. Work hard at developing your own style and don’t be pretentious or “over-write.” Never underestimate the importance of meticulous grammar and spelling, and if you’re weak in this area don’t even attempt to write until you brush up on it.
As far as submitting is concerned, revise and polish your manuscript till you feel it’s perfect—and then do it again. Research agents and publishers and do NOT submit to anyone who asks you for money for ANY reason. Utilize such online tools as Writers Beware, Predators and Editors, Agent Query, and the multitude of author-oriented blogs that are out there. Connect with other writers to share experiences and offer support. Most importantly, be prepared to accept criticism and rejection because it’s part of the business, and never burn your bridges with ungracious or unprofessional behavior.
Tell us about what you’re working on right now and what we can expect from you in the near future.
I’m not sure how “near” in the future these will be, but I have a third YA completed that needs revising and I’m also working on a YA paranormal!
Thanks for joining us today, Jeannine! We look forward to your third YA and a possible YA paranormal from you in the future! Those of you who are interested in purchasing Jeannine’s books can snag them at your local bookstore or here.
Jeannine Garsee has been telling stories since before she could write. “I was addicted to the Sunday funnies,” she says, “and my dad worked in a book-binding factory. He’d bring home a slew of paper every week, and I’d draw scenes on every page. Later, when I learned to write, I’d add the captions–and then the captions just grew longer and longer till I didn’t have any room left for the pictures.” Jeannine, known as “Jen” to her friends, works as a psych nurse in a busy inner-city hospital. Born and raised in Ohio, she lives with her family in a southwest suburb of Cleveland. Her books ‘Say the Word,’ and ‘Before, After, and Somebody In Between,’ are on sale now.