Award-winning author Lorna Seilstad has called Iowa home her whole life. She received her B.S. in education from Lubbock Christian University. After her first child was born, she quit teaching and became a professional wiper. “I wiped noses, tears, skinned knees, baby's bottoms, and countertops every day. But at naptime, I wrote." Today, she writes historical fiction with a generous dash of humor. Making Waves is her debut novel. She and her husband have three children.
When spunky Marguerite Westing discovers that her family will summer at Lake Manawa in 1895, she couldn't be more thrilled. It is the perfect way to escape her agonizingly boring suitor, Roger Gordon. It's also where she stumbles upon two new loves: sailing, and sailing instructor Trip Andrews.
But this summer of fun turns to turmoil as her father's gambling problems threaten to ruin the family forever. Will free-spirited Marguerite marry Roger to save her father's name and fortune? Or will she follow her heart--even if it means abandoning the family she loves?
How did you start out your writing career?
When my youngest daughter was a baby, I decided I wanted to get back into writing. I hadn’t written fiction for years, so I started writing fan fiction. I found a great site, with 4,000 members, with a Christian base. There, I was able to practice the things I was learning about writing and was able to find my voice.
I presented my manuscript to Andrea Doering, Revell’s senior acquisitions editor, at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2008 conference. This later lead to a three-book contract.
What did you learn while writing this book?
To write even when I didn’t feel like writing. I wanted to have it done by the time ACFW conference came. I had to work fast to do that and get it polished. When you’re writing a book with humor in it, sometimes it’s hard to write on days you don’t feel funny.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I think people picture the past in black and white. I wanted to bring it back to life – in full color. Times change and styles, but the basic human nature of people doesn’t. People back then laughed and cried about the same things we do. I also wanted bring out how much God values truth—especially being honest with ourselves.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Starting book two. I sat in front of the screen for a couple of days. I kept thinking, “Can I do this again?” I talked to my mentor and writing friend and told her I was having trouble starting the new book. She told me. “Yep, and it will only get worse with each book. That’s our reminder that we can’t do it, but God can.”
If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?
Madelyn L’Engle—A Wrinkle in Time was the first book that literally swept me into another world, but her books on writing are pure poetry.
Mary Shelley—I want to know what possessed such a young woman to even think about writing Frankenstein. (And talk about a book that’s better than the movie!)
Amelia Bloomer—She was a woman’s suffrage writer and I just finished doing research about her for A Great Catch, book 2 in the Manawa series. I’d love to speak to her personally and ask her where she found the courage to advocate a change in women’s dress and to begin a women’s suffrage paper.
Wouldn’t those three make for fascinating dinner companions? I can almost imagine the discussion. If I could sneak in a couple more, I’d pick Jane Austin and Willa Cather.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish I would have known to do more interesting things so I’d have something to talk about in interviews.
I wish I would have known the amount of time the publicity side of publishing takes.
I wish I would have known to keep a more detailed timeline on book one. It is much harder to go back and create one than to do it while you’re writing the book. On the second book, I was much more careful.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do write, write, write. I recently read it takes 10,000 hours of writing to reach the level of being a professional. I think that it takes at least that many hours to find your voice too.
Don’t—miss an opportunity to learn. If God blesses you with a mentor you can learn from or leads you to a book or website, glean as much as you can from the experience. Learn the rules of the game before you start playing. Develop a teachable spirit.
I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?
Author fantasy? LOL.I’m not sure I can share that in public. Honestly, my fantasy has been to hold a book that I’ve written or to see it on a the shelf of the bookstore. My husband’s fantasy has been for me to make enough money to buy him a boat.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That I am working even if it’s at home. A lot of people think I can drop everything and do something during the day. Sometimes I can, but sometimes I can’t.
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?
Best? I’ve received so many pieces of great advice. Judy Miller told me when I pitched my manuscript with the editor to be as passionate about it with the editor as I had been when I talked about it with her. She said passion is contagious, and I agree completely.
Worst? You’d better not get your hopes up too high. I understand why people say this, but it feels like they’re projecting their insecurity on my dreams.
If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?
I’d love to see Scotland or England, but my husband really wants to take me to Thailand. He lived there for two years, teaching agriculture through a 4-H program, but he says they don’t have chocolate. I’m not sure I can live without it.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
I also do wedding coordinating. I guess romance is in my blood. I love weddings and love making the day turn out the way the bride imagined it.
Our theme this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?
I’m new at this, so I’m really still following the advice of others. I really enjoy my Facebook connections. Twittering was a challenge at first, but I think it works well once you produce Tweets of value to readers. I’m thrilled with the ten-writer blog I’m part of at http://www.inkspirationalmessages.com/. We have a lot on readers joining us.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know that I’m a child of God. I know I’ve been blessed to find the love of my life in my husband, and I know I want to glorify God with my life.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Absolutely! I’m excited about A Great Catch. It releases in June 2011, and it was so much fun to write.
When twenty-two year old Emily Graham’s meddlesome aunts take it upon themselves to find her a husband among the Lake Manawa resort guests, the spunky and clumsy suffragette is determined to politely decline each and every suitor. Busy working in the suffrage movement, she has neither the time nor the need for a man in her life. The “cause” is much too important.
Carter Stockton, a recent college graduate and a pitcher for the Manawa Owls, intends to enjoy every minute of the summer at Lake Manawa before he is forced into the straight-laced, dawn-to-dusk business world of his rival brother. He has no plans for romance until Emily crashes into his life at a roller skating rink.
When subterfuge and distrust interfere with their budding romance, will the pitcher strike out completely? Or will the suffragette find strength in her faith and cast her vote for a love that might costs her dreams?
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Facebook: Making Waves Fan Page
I would love for readers to sign up for my newsletter, where they can get a chance at quarterly giveaways, and I love to hear from readers.
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