I'm happy to have Shannon Taylor Vannatter this week sharing her new novel with us. Before we get to the fun part (questions and answers) here's a bit about her.
Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows and once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.
She has ten published titles and is contracted for five more. Her books are available at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, harlequin.com, and barbourbooks.com. Learn more about Shannon and her books at check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/.
Connect with her on Facebook: http://facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter, Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/29672798-shannon-vannatter, Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stvannatter/, and Twitter: @stvauthor.
Shannon what is the biggest writing challenge you’ve encountered this past year – craft, career, writing life, etc?
I had a October deadline, which meant I had to write during my son’s summer break. When he’s out of school, my schedule goes off kilter. I’m used to having a quiet house during the day to write and I don’t want to lose time with him.
I stayed up until 2:00 am, slept until 10:00 am, and got a big chunk of the book done without losing focus on my son. But we went on vacation and then we had company. I was just distracted and the words stopped flowing. I felt like the book was disjointed because it was written in fits and spurts.
How did you solve it?
I finally gave up and determined to hit it hard once school started again. The break got new ideas flowing. Once school started back up, I finished the first draft within two weeks, then had plenty of time to edit, revise, and make the story flow.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be?
An interior decorator. I sew home decor items and have made all the bedspreads and most of the curtains, toppers, and valances in our house. I’m OCD on things matching, so I love coordinating fabrics and paint. I made the heroine in one of my rodeo books an interior decorator and it was really fun, even though she was decorating the hero’s house, so it had to be manly instead of fru fru.
Where is the coziest spot in your home?
Our den. I like fru fru while my husband and son like rustic. Half of our house is fru fru – the living room, kitchen, dining, bedroom, and bath. The other half is rustic, the den, guest bath, and our son’s room. They keep trying to take over, but I won’t give in.
Our den is the warmest room in the house in the winter. We have a fireplace with an electric stove that looks like burning logs that puts out a lot of heat. There’s just enough furniture for the three of us to sit and watch TV. It’s decorated with a combo of cowhide and deer antlers. It’s not necessarily the decor, it’s just a smaller room and cozy.
What is your favorite time of the day?
Night. I’m a night owl. I love staying up until 2:00 am and sleeping late. I don’t get to do that during the school year, but I thoroughly enjoy it in the summer and school breaks. The only problem is, once school starts up and I get up at 7:00 am, I have a hard time getting into the routine again. I can’t go to sleep before 2:00, but I have to get up at 7:00 for about a week before my body gives in.
In what ways do you think your writing journey has benefited your family?
When my son was born, I became a stay at home mom. I got published after that, so writing is my only job. We’ve had financial shakeups since I stopped working outside the home and I’d probably have had to go back to work if not for my writing. I’m able to work my schedule around my family. When my son is home, I’m here. My husband is a pastor. I’m able to help him with the church and make hospital visits when needed most of the time.
How does your writing affect your family?
They love the research trips. We usually combine our family vacation with research and we’ve been to some interesting places. The first time we visited the Fort Worth Stockyards, my son decided he wanted to be a bull rider. Yikes. Thank goodness, he got over that.
Which amusement park ride is your favorite and why?
Roller coaster, the bigger the better. I spent five years of my childhood five miles from Six Flags over Georgia. I had older cousins, so I pretty much spent my summers at Six Flags. At the time, the Great American Scream Machine there was the tallest, longest, and fastest roller coaster in the world. It was awesome. Roller coasters are just so exciting, scary, and fun. And I married a man who hates rides. He thinks everything will fly apart – even the Ferris Wheel.
What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?
Electricity. I wouldn’t have made back in the old days with no air conditioning, washer, dryer, refrigerator, or microwave.
How do you balance writing, exercise, home, etc.?
Not very well on the exercise part anyway. I started tread milling for at least 15 minutes five days a week last January and made it through September. I planned to start again this January, but haven’t managed it yet.
My son went back to school for three days after Christmas break, then got the flu and was home again. But no one else got it, Praise God. As a result of him being home, I got behind on everything. Once I catch up with blog posts, polishing a proposal, and getting back to the book I’m supposed to be writing, I plan to get back into my routine. Maybe by the time, this interview goes up; I’ll have gotten back on the treadmill.
Writing and home, I do pretty well. I write while everyone’s gone or in bed. When my family is home and awake, I spend time with them.
What’s your favorite family tradition?
As our Christmas gift, my son, husband, and I go to the Trans Siberian Orchestra Christmas concert every year. We’ve been going since 2005 and once went to Memphis to see them and spent the night with family there because the concert in Little Rock was on Wednesday night.
What role have your friends played in your success as a writer?
A huge part. I have two critique partners I originally met online. We get together at the ACFW Conference every few years. They see what I can’t see in my first drafts and help my books flow.
I belong to ACFW-AR. We have monthly meetings and I don’t get to go often, but I’ve made lots of friends there and we have an annual retreat. I was stuck on a character once and my writer friends helped me get unstuck at the retreat. Other writers get me better than my family does. I often say, They hear voices too and they think it’s normal.
Shannon asked- Now a question for readers:
What invention do you think is the greatest of all time? Answer the question for a chance to win a copy of my latest release, Rodeo Family.
Contest ends Tue. Jan. 27.
TORI EATON IS READY TO START OVER
She's beginning a new chapter in Aubrey, Texas, away from her abusive ex-boyfriend. As she picks up the pieces of her broken life, Tori's surprised at the helping hand the church's new song director, Brant McConnell, offers her, and at the warm emotions he inspires.
Brant is drawn to Tori. And as their friendship grows, so do his feelings for her. But Tori is still hounded by her past, and the walls she's built around her heart are high. Can he convince the wounded beauty that he's exactly the kind of man she needs—and deserves?
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