Today's guest for Saturday Stories is published author Rebecca Talley. Make sure to check out her self-titled blog Rebecca Cornish Talley for a treasure trove of wonderful writing resources.
And, if you live in the vicinity of Provo, Utah you're in for a treat. Rebecca is doing a book signing TODAY at Seagull Book, 2250 N. University Parkway (the one next to Shopko, behind Olive Garden) from 12:00-2:00 as part of the "Celebrating Sisterhood" event. Swing by if you can and tell her Mormon Mommy Writers sent you!
Before you hop in your car, be sure to check out the interview!
Q—Who are you?
I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA with my sister and maternal grandparents (my parents passed away when I was young). I attended, and graduated from, BYU where I met my husband. He was the "dad" of the FHE group and I was the "mom." We now live in rural CO with a dog, cats, a spoiled horse, and a herd of goats. We have 10 children who are all very creative.
Besides writing, I love to date my husband, play with my kids, swim in the ocean, and dance to disco music while I clean the house. I doubt I'll ever tame the always-growing mountain of laundry and I'm the world's worst gardener. I also don't can or quilt (something I have in common with my main character in my new book). But, I do make pizza, lasagne, and bread pretty well.
I am currently serving on the Board of Directors of LDStoyrmakers and am the co-chair for Boot Camp this year at the LDStorymakers conference.
Q—Would you please tell us about your book The Upside of Down?
It's a story about a woman raising a large family who thinks she's spiritually invincible. A series of events prompts her to begin questioning her faith, including giving birth to a child she didn't expect and that child's resulting diagnosis. It's an exploration of faith. I've included some humorous experiences from my own life raising so many kids. It was a fun book to write.
Q—What other books have you published?
I've written children's stories for print and online magazines, including the "Friend." One of my articles was picked up for a state testing packet. My children's picture book, "Grasshopper Pie" was published by WindRiver in 2003. I have three novels published, "Heaven Scent" (2008), "Altared Plans" (2009) and "The Upside of Down" (2011) with Cedar Fort.
Q—Who is your agent/publisher and why did you choose them?
I don't have an agent. The LDS market doesn't require an agent. Cedar Fort is my publisher and I love working with CFI--the people are wonderful. CFI believed in my first book and gave me a voice and I will always be grateful for that. CFI has awesome covers, too. I like that CFI is committed to publishing new authors and helping its established authors.
Q—I understand you’ve published an ebook titled Hook Me: What to Include in Your First Chapter. Would you tell us about it?
It's a short ebook with advice on what to include in your first chapter. It's for aspiring authors to help them prepare that very important first chapter so it will, hopefully, catch the eye of an editor or agent. It's based on my own experience as well as generally accepted writing advice. I haven't seen anything specifically for writing a first chapter so I'm hoping this ebook fills that void. My favorite part is the checklist at the end of the book because I'm such a "list person." It's available at Amazon and Smashwords.
Q—What is your favorite genre to read and your favorite genre to write?
I read, and write, all genres. My favorite genre to write is what I'm writing at the time. I do tend to like YA, but my last book was Women's Fiction and I really enjoyed that. I'm currently working on a YA paranormal (who isn't?). My favorite books to read, in any genre, are the ones that suck me into the story and then make me feel and think. I love to rethink something based on a book I've read.
Q—What writing resources have you found the most helpful?
My critique group, my membership in LDStorymakers, and attending conferences have been the most helpful for me. I've also read a zillion writing books, but nothing can compare to real people reading and critiquing what I write. Conferences are invaluable for meeting other writers and networking.
Q—On the road to publication...what was the hardest lesson you learned?
I've learned that not everyone will love, or even like, what I've written--I can't please everyone with my books. Hard lesson learned through some tears.
Q—What is something your friends would be surprised or shocked to learn about you?
I'm addicted to newborns--no, that's obvious. I used to play basketball in high school--again, obvious, since I'm so tall. Oh, I know, I'm OCD about vacuuming carpet--the pile has to all lay the same way--which is why we've ripped almost all of the carpet out of our house (that and I about went crazy trying to keep it clean with so many kids).
Q—There are a lot of people out there uncertain about Twitter but I see that you use it. Would you tell us why you tweet?
I Tweet because someone told me I should. :) I'd much prefer to spend my time writing, but the world is so tech-oriented these days that if I want to get the word out about my books I have to jump into it and Twitter is one of the best marketing tools. I admit, I don't understand all the ins and outs, I just kinda follow along using hashtags and such. I have no idea if Tweeting is beneficial or not. I actually prefer Facebook because that is more intuitive for me and it feels more social.
Q—If you could be any animal for a day, what would it be and why?
I'd be a horse running free through the waves along the seashore. I have always loved horses and when I was a girl, my favorite place to ride was through the ocean just as it lapped against the shore--it felt so free and exhilarating.
Q—What piece of advice (writing or life) do you wish you had taken seriously and heeded?
I wish I had grown a thick skin much earlier. My very first submission was to the "Ensign" and when it was rejected, it crushed me. I wish I'd learned early on that a rejection is about the work, not about me personally. Knowing that, and that everyone has his or her own reading preferences, has helped me to grow a thicker skin.
In life, I wished I'd learned to just enjoy my kids more and realize the cleaning could wait. I have since realized that. Kids grow so fast and time flies by. The cleaning can wait, the kids can't.
Q—Finish this sentence: "The strangest thing I ever..."
...saw was my first child actually coming out of my body.
Q—What's your favorite quote? Why is it your favorite?
"No other success can compensate for failure in the home" by David O. McKay. I love this quote because it reminds me that my eternal family is first and foremost. I need to keep my focus on raising my family because that is what really matters. Even if I wrote the most popular, greatest-selling book in the history of the world, but sacrificed my family to do so, it wouldn't matter in the end. My purpose is to raise children up unto God so that we can be together eternally.
Q—Plain or Peanut M&Ms?
Definitely Peanut M&Ms.
Q—I know I've caught myself saying or doing something my mother did and thinking "I never thought I'd do that!" What is the one thing you never thought you'd say or do that you've caught yourself doing?
I grew up in a critical home and I've tried not to be critical to my kids but rather encourage them with positive words. Sometimes, though, I catch myself resorting to being critical and I don't like that. I didn't have very high self-esteem as a teen and I don't want that to happen to my kids. I want them to realize they each have a divine nature and they each have gifts and talents.
If anybody is interested in purchasing one of Rebecca's books I've put links below.