Guest Author Interview: Deanne Wilsted …by Susan Lute

Today we are very excited to have author, and President of Rose City Romance Writers, Deanne Wilsted with us. Here are a couple of lines I pulled from her website, which I think says a lot about Deanne and her approach to writing and life.

All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

When she’s seriously writing, she’s at Starbucks.

Her favored drink is half-decaf Americano.

Betting Jessica is her first published novel (you can buy it @Amazon). You’ll find her on Twitter @dwilsted, Facebook, @Deanne’s Writing World, and on her blog, Overheard At…

Please give Deanne a BIG SJP welcome.

Deanne, tell us about your publishing journey.

The rainbow is a ladder from the earth up to the sky, the sunset more a backdrop as clouds crowd by.

This is the beginning of a poem I wrote in first grade. It won me an honorable mention at our county fair and it made clear, to me anyway, that writing was therefore what I was meant to do. Unfortunately my father didn’t necessarily agree, and so I spent a great deal of my academic life studying business… something that he assured me would keep me employed.

And it did… for many years; employed, but not really happy. As with many writers, later in life I found myself drawn back to my original passion and decided to find out if I could, in fact, write a novel. Ten years and a lot of edits later, I published my first book, Betting Jessica, on Kindle and now find all of that business experience coming in handy again as I try to market myself and my writing.

What’s the funniest thing to happen to you along your road to publication and what was the most exciting?

The funniest? This is tough. When I asked my husband about this he laughed and pointed to the very anal excel spreadsheet I created to track agent and editor queries. Recently I was told that my second novel would be considered for publication at a specific press if I upped the heat (sex) and added a paranormal aspect. Since it is sort of a soft romance with inspirational elements I decided to continue looking for the right publisher instead.

The most exciting thing to happen though is easy to answer. A few months after Betting Jessica was released my neighbor threw a surprise party for me. He invited friends who had been my support along the way and made a big deal of interviewing me during the dinner. I was touched and honored and most importantly, for the very first time, I truly felt like the author I am.

What has been the most challenging thing related to publishing you’ve had to deal with on your journey?

After years of marketing my work to agents and getting positive feedback but no contract I finally decided to self-publish Betting Jessica. This was a tremendously difficult decision, so I can relate to many authors who weigh out the pros and cons of going this route.

Ultimately, it became a matter of staying true to my writing journey…. From day one I have focused on learning each, new, small task: How do I write a complete novel? How do I edit? How do I query? And eventually, how do I publish? Taken from this perspective the choice became much simpler. Self-publishing became the most immediate way I had to learn the answer to this last question. Since then it has forced me to continue to learn… How do I market? How do I network? How do I blog… the list keeps growing.

Who is your favorite author, and what are you currently reading?

Hands down my favorite author would be Sophie Kinsella. I love her humor and characters. In general, any British authors rock my boat…. There is just something about that wry sense of humor that I relate to.

Right now, though, I admit I find myself drawn to a lot of middle grade novels, like Rules, by Cynthia Lord. And though it is outside my normal genre I just finished reading The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

What’s coming up next for you?

So much is coming up my head is spinning. First off I am working on publishing the other two novels I have completed. The first one, Untie the Knot, has been edited for self-pub but is also in the hands of some interested presses. One way or the other I am hoping to get it out this summer. The other, which is set in Italy, has lots of crazy characters and is my favorite so far. It is in the stage of being marketed to agents. It’s title is Molto Mayhem in case readers want to search it out someday.

Along with this, I love managing my Blog, Overheard at…. which I post Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Finally, I have three new projects started. The one I am focusing on now is a novel about a mother who takes her daughter to Cornwall to recover from heartbreak, but then finds she is having her own, long distance difficulties with her husband back in the States. It is still very much my voice, but reaches an older audience and is a part of my ongoing focus to learn and grow as an author.

Most importantly, though, I plan to spend lots of time with the wonderful authors who currently surround me (like the See Jane Publish authors). I have a ton to learn from them and continue to appreciate their experience and wisdom…. Not to mention their support.

Thanks so much for letting me visit!

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About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on April 24, 2012, in Auth: Special Guest and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. What a fun day here at SJP. Thanks Deanne! And thanks to all our visitors, too. I hope you all run out and buy BETTING JESSICA 😀

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  2. Deanne, You are absolutely right to listen to what your heart and head say about your writing. My rule is always to edit where I agree and ignore the rest. If an editor wants changes that make your book completely different from your original plan (e.g., hot and sexy, instead of cool and funny) then it is definitely best to walk away.

    I completely relate to the anal spreadsheet. I’ve had several of those through the past 8 years. Actually, an author who has published over 100 novels told me that she has one for each novel. She tracks everywhere it was sent, when it was bought, when/if rights revert, any subrights that were sold etc. She said it is invaluable when you go to do your taxes. For me, my spreadsheets were really important when I was making no money on my writing. It proved I was actively pursuing publication. It’s still important even though I’m making some money now, but I’m still spending on promo beyond my current earnings. That is under review right now. 🙂

    I agree 100% with you around being in the publication arena that works best. At the moment my evaluation is that big books (not longer but more complex), series books with high concept, and almost all YA are what NY is buying. In other words, they are still looking for the next bestseller in terms of contracting a debut author. As far as I can tell, they no longer buy midlist books (except from established authors). This means those smaller books, typical midlist titles, can only find a home with small to medium presses or in self publishing. (Of course Harlequin still buys lots of category books)

    The golden rule for me is discovery and distribution. NY gets both for the author, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to more money. Small presses can get both, but their track record is usually in only a few specific genres. Self-publishing seems to be all over the map. You have people like Amanda Hocking who make millions without much experience, and others with great stories and writing but struggle to get past a couple hundred dollars.

    If I ever get it the discovery/distribution ratios figured out with investment of time and resources, I’ll stand on the rooftop and shout it to the world. 🙂

    Now I need to run and download Betting Jessica! I love romantic comedies.

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    • Awwww, I feel so grateful for the wonderful writer friends and support I have around me. Maggie… I loved your comments. It is funny how the changing landscape only makes it that much easier to accept all sorts of authors.

      And… I can’t wait to hear what you think of Betting Jessica. It was a good start for me!
      Thanks for all the love everyone,
      deanne

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  3. oh…. and I forgot, yes, Betting Jessica is a a romantic comedy. At least I cracked myelf up while Iwrote it, so hopefully others will think it is funny also…. otherwise it says something about my wacky sense of humor!
    d

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  4. Wow… being interviewed seems very official! I can see my daughter now saying… what? they interviewed you? weird.

    Thanks for the comments about my titles, Sarah. I struggle over them, so I am glad to hear I landed on some good ones. The book I am working on right now has such a cool title I can’t even say what it is… so readers will have to wait till I finish the story and getr it out there:>)

    Wouldn’t it be fun to have a title braisntorming session at RCRW sometime. I’ll have to mention it to Delilah. In the meantime, I would love to brainstorm titles with you!

    Thanks to the Janes for having me. It’s an honor to be included in such a long list of worthy writers.
    deanne

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  5. Get interview! So proud to have you as my President!

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  6. Deanne, you are a Title Whiz!!! I love all three of them!!! I have to go order Betting Jessica for my Kindle now. I’m a sucker for titles, but I can’t write them worth a darn. Would you be willing to brainstorm titles with me sometime? No, seriously!

    I can relate to your childhood poetry; I wrote a poem in second grade that my teacher liked so much she inspired me to become a writer. Those who know me well won’t be surprised to learn it was a take-off on “Little Boy Blue.” LOL

    Is Betting Jessica a Romantic Comedy? From the looks of it, I susupect there’s plenty of humor, which I love as a reader.

    Great interview, Su and Deanne. It’s nice to get to know you a little better here at SJP!

    Sarah (McDermed) Raplee

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