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Category: Writing Process

On original ideas … Sondheim says it best

On original ideas … Sondheim says it best

I’ve been obsessing this week over the 90th Birthday celebration for Stephen Sondheim last year and especially this song from “Sunday in the Park with George.” It’s not one of my favorite musicals, but this song is definitely a highlight and Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford absolutely nail it.

One of the best lines comes around 2:30:

I get some variation of this worry a lot, especially from new authors. I don’t know how many times someone has told me they have a cool idea, but they’re worried it will seem tired, the idea has been done, the story has been told already.

Well, true. There are not a whole lot of stories that haven’t already been told. But … they haven’t been told by YOU. Don’t steal other people’s work, but tell your story. You have a unique voice and the world will be richer hearing it.

Q&A – 5 Things About Me

Q&A – 5 Things About Me

This will be an ongoing series where I answer the most common questions I get from readers:

Q1:  When did you start writing and why?

A: The first thing I remember writing was a story in first grade. We were given a picture of a duck, and we had to color it, then write a story for it. In mine, the duck was sad because it couldn’t find any friends. Then (plot twist!) a big group of animals showed up and they all became friends, the end. My teacher took me around to all the first and second grade classrooms and had me read it to them, so I guess it was probably above what you’d expect from a six-year-old. From then on, I started writing stories and trust me, my early versions were all just as riveting as the lonely duck story!

Q2:  What have you done besides write books?

A: I have a bachelors degree in marketing and I worked for several years in market research. I have also been (in reverse order) a legal secretary, an airline reservations agent, a retail clothing employee, a receptionist, and my first job was at McDonalds.

Q3:  What is your family like?

A: My husband and I recently celebrated our 28th anniversary. We have four kids, ages 22, 20, 13, and 12 – two girls and then two boys. The large gap is because we weren’t sure we were done having kids after the first two, then decided we weren’t. Our 13yo has autism and several other health issues, so he can take up quite a bit of our time.

Q4: What is your advice for new writers?

A: Figure out why you’re writing. Some people write because they have stories inside them that need to be told; others write because it’s therapeutic; and some write because they are skilled at it and can make a living. Your approach to writing will be different depending on why you’re doing it.

Q5: How did you get started?

My first book is a short Christmas story called An Unexpected Angel that was published in 2012 by Cedar Fort Publishers. Through that story, I met Lucy McConnell, a fellow Cedar Fort author, and we decided to write sweet romance and create the Snow Valley series. From there, it grew slowly. I’m definitely not as fast at writing as some of my author friends, but I’m at 20 books now and working on the next one.

Stay tuned for more! If you have any questions, you can send them to me at: AuthorJeanetteLewis@gmail.com

Tamarack Ridge Inspiration Photos

Tamarack Ridge Inspiration Photos

I’m not on Pinterest much anymore–I don’t like the way they’ve changed the layout and now it feels like a wall of ads instead of pictures from my friends. So now instead of using it as a way to find inspiration photos, I mostly just Google photos and save them to my computer. But that does make it harder to share them with you. Instead of simply unlocking a private Pinterest board, I actually have to go searching for them and upload them somewhere.

Ugh. *cue lazy sad music*

But, Tamarack Ridge is an awesome little town that exists only in my mind and my books. It’s modeled after the small town where I grew up, with some differences. Here are some of the inspiration photos I use when I write a new story for the Tamarack Ridge Romances. I hope you enjoy!

 

Romance with HEART

Romance with HEART

With every story, I write, I spend hours brainstorming, researching, outlining, developing characters, drafting, and, inevitably, deleting thousands of words that end up going nowhere.

And eventually … somewhere in that process … something incredible happens and I find the heart of the story. That little bit of magic that makes it come alive and turns it from words on my computer screen into something real. That thing that gives in breath and makes in unique from any other story I’ve written.

Sometimes I find the heart of the story right away, like in The Passionate One. Sometimes it takes longer. I deleted almost thirty thousand words from The Ambitious One and rewrote the entire second half when it just didn’t seem to work.  Sometimes I still haven’t found it. I’ve been promising you the final book in The Billionaire Bride Pact for months. But The Heartbroken One is still sitting in draft form, whispering for me to dig a little deeper, to find the heart of Nikki and Darrin’s story.

Short romances are a quick-turn market. I wish I could write as fast as some of my colleagues and release a book every four or six weeks. But, everyone has their own process and this is mine. I can’t get excited about something until I’ve put my heart into it and in doing so, found it’s heart in return.

So when looking at a little branding tweak, Romance with Heart seemed appropriate to me. What do you think?