Friday, September 12, 2008

Interview with Jane Kennedy Sutton on Community Fridays

Welcome to Community Fridays!

During Community Fridays, I interview authors, editors, publishers, and pretty much anyone else who I can get my hands on from the writing and publishing communities. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to suggest new participants. Check out current and past interviews here. Only have a minute? Click here for interviews at a glance.

Today's guest is Jane Kennedy Sutton, author of The Ride.

What was the most major roadblock you encountered along the way to getting published, and how did you overcome it?

I had the misfortune of signing with an agent that did more harm than good. Her unprofessional actions and inaction delayed progress on the project for a year (the length of our contract). The experience also did nothing for my self-esteem or confidence but I did learn a lesson or two from it.

The support and encouragement I received through the writing groups I belong to as well as friends and family kept me from becoming too discouraged or giving up on the book. Now I believe everything worked out for the best.

ArcheBooks recently released your new novel, The Ride. Would you like to tell us a little about it?

It is a funny, poignant adventure of a 40-something woman taken on the ride of her life.

How does it feel to have all that hard work finally come to fruition?

I have gone through a full range of emotions including disbelief, excitement, panic, shock, exhilaration and everything in between. I've also felt a deep sadness caused by losing my parents shortly before the book's release and not being able to share this special time with them.

Over the years, you've done volunteer work in various capacities related to producing magazines and newspapers. Do you think volunteering helped you on your journey to getting published?

These were publications for various international women's groups. I'm not sure the work helped me become published, but I did learn a lot about the process and that certainly didn't hurt. However, I've discovered there is a huge difference between the production of a newsletter or magazine and the progression of a book from manuscript to publication.

Why did you choose volunteering as opposed to making a career out of one of those roles?

I considered my 'career' as 'professional tourist' because in many cases my husband's business Visa prohibited my paid employment. That was an excellent excuse for me not to seek a job and to be able to concentrate on being a mom, exploring, settling in, learning new customs and doing volunteer work.

How has exploring the globe for much of your life affected your writing?

Living overseas was a terrific way to learn about other cultures, meet interesting people of all nationalities, take part in many wonderful and, well, some not so great I experiences. So I thought when I began to write seriously, I'd write non-fiction pieces based on my travels. Although I have started a memoir about my major bloopers during my international travels, (such as the time in Taiwan when I thought we were invited to our landlord's mother's birthday party and it turned out to be her funeral), I found I really like making up stuff. I love fiction, creating and controlling lives. Maybe one day I'll come up with a fiction idea that will incorporate some of my overseas experiences.

Any advice for writers who want to make a living writing while traveling or living abroad (I'd love to do this!)?

I did none of these things, but looking back, I wish I had studied travel publications before I left to have an idea of guidelines, kept a journal, and made myself write something every day. Many journal pieces could then have been turned into articles for appropriate markets in the U.S. or the country I was residing in.

Which path would you suggest for an aspiring author?

Join writing groups, critique groups and attend conferences. I wish I had started all this earlier but I was really a closet writer. I didn't reveal my aspirations to my friends until the last few years.

Also, believe in yourself, don't be shy about sharing your dreams, and most of all, don't give up.

Lastly, because this feature is about establishing bonds within the writing and publishing industries, can you name one author, editor or publisher who's doing great things right now, and why?

I would have to say, fantasy author Sandy Lender. She's a fellow ArcheBooks author who has offered me so much encouragement when it should have been the other way around. While promoting her novel, Choices Meant for Gods, she's completed the sequel, Choices Meant for Kings. She keeps up several blogs and holds workshops to teach others about blogging. She also finds time to nurture the Florida sea turtle population. The incredible part is that she has done all this while dealing with a nasty divorce, a serious illness requiring chemo, and having to move unexpectedly when her landlord began having problems with the legal system, bank and upkeep. Through it all, she's maintained a wonderful sense of humor. I think she'd be an inspiration to anyone. Whenever I'm feeling I have too much to handle, I think of Sandy and realize just how lucky I am.

About the Author

To read a sample of The Ride, go to ArcheBooks Publishing and click on the Free Sample button. To find out more about me, visit my website or my blog.

I am currently working like mad to learn the marketing aspect of being an author and trying to squeeze in time to work on my second novel, Reigning Cats and Dogs.

© Emma Larkins and Jane Kennedy Sutton
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