Friday, July 1, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Debut Author, Katie Ganshert

If you haven't signed up for the Gearin' Up to Get an Agent Blogfest, now's your time!

When I happened upon Katie's blog I was instantly struck by how lovely a person she is...yes I could actually tell that from her blog!  She is the kind of person you just have to know, and after this interview I think you'll agree.  Let's get to know about Katie Ganshert and her first book deal!

Katie Ganshert is a Midwest author who loves Jesus, her family, writing, and all things romance. She’s super thankful God gave her a husband who suffers through romantic movies, loves talking with her girlfriends about God, life, and books, and is often spotted around town walking her dog, pushing a stroller, and reading all at the same time. She graduated from the UW-Madison (go Badgers!) with a degree in education, which she used for four years before deciding to work from home as a mother and writer.

DB: Katie, thanks so much for letting me interview you today!
How long did it take from the point you decided to take writing seriously until you landed your agent?

KG: I started writing seriously when I was pregnant with my son—the summer of 2008. At the time, I’d written two novels. I’d even sent out some query letters. But I didn’t get serious about publication until that summer. That’s when I started reading craft books, agent and editor blogs, finding critique partners, entering contests, joining writing organizations, and carving out specific time to write each day. I got The Call from Rachelle in November of 2009. So it took a little over a year.
DB: So already you are defying the whole seven years to get published average.  It really can happen readers:)

Could you tell us a little about your agent, Rachelle Gardner, and her agenting style?

KG: Rachelle is an agent for WordServe Literary Agency, writes an incredibly helpful blog I recommend for all writers, and has this magic wand that enables her to juggle a million plates at one time. At least, that’s my theory. She loves Starbucks and Ghirardelli dark chocolate raspberry squares. She’s super fun to chat with on the phone, gives excellent advice and guidance, responds to emails with super sonic speed, and is an amazing deal-maker. I’ve loved partnering with her as I travel this journey. 
DB: She sounds fabulous!  If anyone thinks so too, you can check out Rachelle's blog here.
I see you have many books you have either completed or are working on.  Could you tell us a little about the book your agent found a home for?

KG: Rachelle recently got me a two-book deal with Waterbrook Multnomah, the Christian division of Random House. My first book, Wildflowers from Winter, comes out in May, 2012, with the second to follow in April, 2013. I’m currently working through content edits for Wildflowers from Winter with my amazingly talented editor, Shannon Marchese.
Here’s the blurb for Wildflowers from Winter:

Bethany Quinn grudgingly leaves the big city and returns to her small Iowa hometown to check on her sick grandfather and offer condolences to her newly-widowed, estranged best friend. It shouldn’t take longer than a week to clear her conscience and find some closure. But she wasn’t counting on Evan Price, the ruggedly handsome, strong willed man living on her grandfather’s farm. He challenges everything she’s worked for, and brings her face-to-face with a dark secret that’s chased her for the past sixteen years. With Evan’s assistance, can Bethany find freedom in the very town that held her captive for so long? 
DB: You've got me hooked!  Who doesn't love a ruggedly handsome man and a flawed woman:) 
How do you go about plotting your stories, coming up with ideas…basically how are your stories born?

KG: I have no idea where my ideas come from. Sometimes it’s something as simple as listening to a song and the message of it grips my heart. Sometimes it’s the vague outline of a character, or a single line of dialogue that plays through my head. I capture the spark and blow on it until it becomes something more. Like for Wildflowers from Winter. The entire novel was born because the first line popped into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it down. So once the words were there, I kept asking what-if questions until I had a concept for a novel. Once I have a concept, I turn into a psychotic plotter. I cannot write by the seat of my pants. It gives me ulcers. I have to feed an idea until it grows big and strong, with lots and lots of structure. Once it’s ready, I’ll start the rough draft.
DB: Do you set goals as a writer?  If so what are some current ones you have now?

KG: All the time. I am a huge, huge, huge fan of goals. Not just setting them, but writing them down. There is something about the act of penning the words that brings weight to the goal. Right now, my two major goals center around revisions. The first is to finish my content edits by mid July. The second is to revise the rough draft I completed in May and send it to my critique partners by the end of August.
DB: I couldn't agree more with the 'writing them down' aspect.  It definitely makes the goals more real.

Is there any advice you can give writers out there who have not yet landed an agent or a book deal?

KG: Keep on, keeping on. Continue learning the craft. Continue learning the business. Continue writing great books. And continue putting yourself out there. If you want to make it as a published author, rejection is part of the game. So is waiting. Don’t let either defeat you. Get back up, dust yourself off, and persevere. It’s the one quality that binds every single published author. They persevered. Oh, and if at all financially possible, go to a writer’s conference! Invaluable networking opportunities. Not to mention, flat-out fun.
DB: And who doesn't love fun?  Which brings me to my last question.

Just for fun…

Can you tell us something we just have to know about you?

KG: I’m terrified of black birds. Geese make me nervous too.
DB: Well there you go.  Black birds do have those little beady eyes and all:)
If you haven't gotten enough of Katie (I told you.  You just want to know her don't ya?) then check out Katie's Blog, Twitter, and Facebook


Just a little FYI to my Firsts Fridays lovers out there...

Katie will be the last interview for the month of July due to the Gearin' Up to Get an Agent Blogfest.  Join us back here August 5th where I am going to have New York Times best selling author JULIE KAGAWA!  She wrote the Iron Fey Series and her new book, The Iron Knight is coming out 10/25/11.

Until next time...
Keep writing.  Keep learning.


Theresa Milstein said...

Good luck as you continue writing and publishing, Katie. I'm impressed how quick you became published! I'm at 5 years and counting...

Katie Ganshert said...

Thanks for having me Deana! You're are a wonderful hostess!

Theresa - don't be discouraged by the five years and counting! I was writing before I was pregnant with my son. I just don't think I seriously started pursuing publication until that point.

Christa Desir said...

Wow! Yay for Midwestern writers! Good luck Katie.

Catherine Johnson said...

Great interview ladies, might even convince me to be more of a plotter. I'm like a half plotter. Sounds lke a great book Katie, good luck!

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

What an inspiring journey! Thanks for a great interview!


Alleged Author said...

Great interview! I love that she writes Christian romance.

Deana said...

Theresa- just keep at it, we all have a different number. The main key is perserverence!

Katie- You are very welcome! Thank you for doing it:)

Christa- It seems like there are a ton of talented ones in the midwest! I'm all about the East coast to I must say:)

Catherine- I say whatever works for you. Isn't Stephen King the one who doesn't plot at all. I know there are some that way. I wish I could be a more fly by the pantster.

Debbie- I agree!

Cara- I do too!

Lisa Jordan said...

Loved the interview! I can't wait to read your book, Katie! So thrilled for my WS sister!

Heather Sunseri said...

I'm so thrilled to know you on this journey, Katie. Great interview, Deana.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Great interview.
Inspiring :)

Michelle Fayard said...

After reading your interview, I had to check out Katie's blog, and I'm so glad I did. Her post Reaching a Broader Audience, which talks about focusing on certain subjects on certain days of the week, is a very thought-provoking one. Thank you for another great interview, Deana, and for the equally good ideas, Katie! And congratulations on doing all the right things and landing a book contract. :)


Leslie S. Rose said...

Deana, thank you for introducing us to Katie and her wonderfully positive message. It's encouraging to hear about successful journeys. I agree that writing down the goals keeps you focused. I pin them on the bulletin board right above my desk. Happy 4th of July.

Katie Ganshert said...

Thanks so much for the kind words everyone! Michelle - I loved reading your comment and seeing your face on my blog.

Once again - thanks for having me Deana. :)

Deana said...

Thanks guys! I told you she's lovely didn't I?:)

Unknown said...

Oh, she really sounds sweet! I can't wait to read her book. Thanks for introducing her to me :)

PK HREZO said...

Awesome interview! The book sounds great!

Deana said...

Your welcome Monica and Pk! I agree, the book sounds really good:)

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