Welcome to romance novelist Shannon Taylor Vannatter!
A: In the first book in the series, White Roses, I mentioned a bleached blond clad only in a towel who had wrecked the heroine’s romance. When my editor asked if the book could be made into a series, I immediately thought of the bleached blond. I wanted to explore what would shape her character and what it would take to tame her. With book two, White Doves, an illegitimate son was revealed, so White Pearls wrapped up that story and I knew I wanted to set it in a historical plantation house in Rose Bud, AR. It’s one of those houses I can never drive by without craning my neck to look. They used the actual house on the cover.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A: I had one creative writing class in the 3rd grade and I loved it. But that was all, so I never even thought of being a writer. I had a story in my head from the time I was fifteen, but never knew what to do with it. Finally at about thirty, I realized it could be a book, but didn’t start writing until three years later.
Q: How does your faith impact your writing?
A: It just comes out. The very first book I wrote was supposed to be a clean romance, but my characters kept talking to God. That’s when I learned there was an inspirational market.
Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?
A: I’ve only had it once and I thought it was a myth until then. I’m a seat of the pants writer. I usually know how the book will begin, a couple of big turning points, and how it will end. For the second book in the series, I had to write the chapter by chapter synopsis before writing the book. When it came time to write the book with a deadline hanging over my head and the book already plotted out, I had my first case of writer’s block. I thought it was a myth until then. I went to a writers’ workshop taught by Kaye Dacus. She mentioned she was a pantser and how hard it is for her to write a synopsis before the book. So after the class I asked for advice. She said to put away the synopsis and work on something else until it was out of my head, then write the book. I did it and it worked. The words starting flying.
Q: Do you treat yourself to something special when a project is completed?
A: High heel shoes. I love them and have probably fifty pair, but my closet is overflowing, so I’m going to have to come up with something else.
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer?
A: Join a local writers’ group and attend conferences. Join a national group geared toward your genre and attend all the national conferences you can afford.
Q: What do you think about writing contests? Have you participated in any? What’s the benefit to an unpublished writer?
A: I entered four or five contests and got 2nd place in two of them. I learned so much from the judges’ feedback. Some of it is subjective, but if two judges’ said the same thing, I paid attention. I learned to pray about the comments and then make changes accordingly. I recommend entering contests with feedback or where the final judge is an editor from the house you’re interested in.
Q: What event, writer, or book has most impacted your writing life?
A: American Christian Fiction Writers. I’ve attended the conference since 2005 and finally joined in 2007. If not for ACFW, I’d probably still be unpublished. Specific workshop: It all came together for me at the early bird in 2008. Margie Lawson’s EDITs class. The scales fell from my eyes and I knew what should be in a book and what shouldn’t. If writers ever get the opportunity, they should take it. She offers a lesson packet on her website.
Q: Scenario: You’re about to be dropped off on a deserted island. You can take along one survival item, one book, and one person (living or dead… but they’ll be alive on the island). What and who do you take?
A: I’m cheating here. My survival item would be my husband. I don’t rough it well, so I’d need him to survive. The book would be the Bible. And the person would be our son.
Thanks for visiting, Shannon. It was great fun!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shannon Taylor Vannatter married her high school sweetheart. Since then her husband answered the call to preach and they became first-time parents 16 ½ years into their marriage. She is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife.
White Roses, White Doves, and White Pearls is her first series with Heartsong Presents. All three books are set in Romance and Rose Bud, Arkansas. Brides and lovebirds take advantage of the re-mailing program to have wedding invitations and Valentines cards mailed from Romance with a unique postmark. Romance also hosts several annual weddings with Valentine’s Day the most popular date.
The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards named her #3 Favorite New Author, White Roses as #1 Contemporary Novel and #2 Favorite Contemporary Cover, and White Doves as #8 Contemporary Novel and #1 Favorite Contemporary Cover. She is currently working on a Texas rodeo series contracted with Heartsong Presents.
Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com/. She’s active on Facebook: facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter and Twitter: @stvauthor.
ABOUT THE BOOK - White Pearls
Shell doesn’t have a good reputation…
But no matter what everyone in Rose Bud, Arkansas, thinks of her, she’s back in town with a job to do. She’ll stick it out and make the best of things. But why does Ryler have to be the landscaper on this project? She was just getting her heart under control.
Ryler has his own reasons for being in Rose Bud, and they don’t include Shell. Spying on his birth family was going to be hard enough. He doesn’t have time to worry about a woman who dumped him…even if his heart says otherwise.
But God’s love can change even the hardest heart. In the light of His presence, even the darkest past can be overcome. They may not know it, but the people of Rose Bud are about the change!
WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of White Pearls, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Tuesday, May 10th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!