Monday, May 3, 2010
No Other by Shawna Williams!
We're happy to have Shawna Williams with us today talking about her book, No Other. Read on to learn more about Shawna and her book. Be sure to check out the contest she's running on her blog (details are at the bottom of her interview.)
1) How did this story come to you?
It actually came to me in a dream. The dream was a strange experience. It was like scenes from the stages of someone's life, and sometimes I was the person, and sometimes I was watching. But it started with a young couple falling in love, then having small children, then struggling with the demands of career and family. It ended with a really sad old woman sitting in a chair, watching her grown children, who didn't know her because of choices she'd made in a fruitless chase to obtain fulfillment. Depressing, huh! Anyhow, I pondered this dream, trying to fill in gaps for about six months, and it eventually grew to be so complicated that I had to start writing just to keep track.
2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I started writing about eight years ago. I'd work for awhile, put it away for months, pull it back out, put it away, work on it again and think about trying to get published, chicken out and not look at my manuscript for months. At one point I went a whole year without writing anything. Two years ago I really felt like God was telling me that it was time to get serious. So I pulled out my awful, 167,000 word manuscript, and started picking it apart. This time though I bothered to try and learn how to write. I bought twenty-something books on the craft, and started submitting to critique groups. Lots of them! Kinda smarted, but it was good for me. I began submitting short stories too, and that got me used to rejections. But it wasn't too long before I also got my first acceptance, and that was great. After that I got several more in short order.
During this time I continued to work on my manuscript by taking the first part of my horrible book and making it its own story, and I also began looking at potential places to submit. I knew that the content and set up of my story made it a not so easy sale, so I determined early on that I wanted to focus on smaller presses.
I became aware of Desert Breeze Publishing through Michelle Sutton, who currently has three books published by them. They were only six months old at the time, and only publishing in ebook format, but every DBP author I corresponded with seemed pleased as punch over their experience. Also, Gail Delaney, the CEO and Editor and Chief, was quite clear about future plans of expanding into print.
There was also just something very appealing about getting in on the ground floor. It's always been part of my personality to go that route. Hard to say why, but it's the same thing that motivated me to start a homeschool support group when there wasn't one, move from the large city to a small town ranch, buy a run-down camping park with my husband and turn it around, and insist on salvaging several old homes that had fallen into ruin. I'm always rooting for the small guy or the underdog. I guess I should mention that I take in stray animals too. It's how I got my collie. Best dog ever!
3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
Oops! I think I just did that in the previous question. Okay, other than my love of underdogs, I'm a girly-girl geek, who likes science, history, and making jewelry. Yep, one of these things is not like the other.
4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
Currently I'm working on two books, both under contract. One is the sequel to No Other -- same characters ten years later. Similar Theme as No Other, but from a different perspective at a different stage in life -- also inspired by that life-changing dream. It's called In All Things. Orphaned Hearts is the other. It's an expansion of a novella I'd written that was inspired by my granddad, who was raised in an orphanage in the 1930s. It was accepted under the terms that I lengthen it.
5) Parting comments?
Hmm...I have no clue what to say here, so I'll just tell you a little about my book. In an answer to a previous question I mentioned that I looked into small presses because I felt that the content in No Other made it hard to place. In the story there are some major failings on the part of the main characters, but mostly I'd say Jakob, since he is a Christian and Meri isn't. But my reason for writing No Other was that I wanted to tell an inspirational story about getting up after you fall. About how Christians don't just struggle, sometimes we blow it, but God doesn't abandon us. Even when our efforts to right things fail, He's still in control. Him, and No Other.
And if you read the book, and notice a couple of things left a little uncertain at the end, including a promise Jakob makes that might seem somewhat misguided, well, that's what the sequel is for.
6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
I'm running a contest for the month of May. Here's the link.
It can also be found by going to my blog and clicking on No Other Prize Details in the top left corner. As part of the contest, I need to post this question at the end of my interview.
What does this German phrase "Eine Verletzung kann nicht heilen, wenn man dauernd daran kratz," mean? (Answer can be found in the first chapter, viewable at http://noother-shawnawilliams.blogspot.com/ )