Interview With Naomi Rawlings, Debut Author

Today is the first day of the month of debuts! I'm excited to host debut authors, some of who I began blogging with years ago. The great thing is that no matter where you're at right now, it's important to know your path can change if you keep moving forward.

Not only is my first book out in April, but so isNaomi Rawlings's! She very kindly agreed to be my guest today.
1. How many manuscripts have you written and did the one that sold feel different? To date, I've written five complete manuscripts. And yes, the one that sold, Sanctuary for a Lady, felt completely different. I'd been working with a critique group, and the critiques improved my writing 110%. Plus I'd worked really hard on the plot, thinking up a twist that I hadn't seen done before and cementing it into my character's struggles in a riveting way. In the back of my mind, I had the feeling that if Sanctuary for a Lady didn't sell, I'd probably be done writing. Because I knew this novel was as good as anything else I'd be able to write.

2. How many years have you been writing? Three and a half as of today. Two and a half when my novel sold. I started writing in August of 2008.

3.Tell us a little about the events leading up to your first sale.
I'd had some signs that I was close to being published. I was finaling in contests and getting comments from published writers like "you'll get a contract soon." Plus I'd had a request for my full manuscript from the publisher I'd been targeting, Love Inspired Historical. I didn't want to drive myself crazy with wondering, so I told myself I wouldn't hear back from the publisher until the middle of July, if not longer. At the beginning of June, I went away on an anniversary trip with my husband. You can imagine my surprise when I returned home to find I'd missed a phone call from the editor who wanted to buy my novel!

4.What is your biggest piece of advice to writers wanting to get published?
Work hard and don't settle for anything less than your best. There are so many talented writers out there, and I think the thing that makes the biggest difference is not giving up or settling. It takes hard work to find that interesting twist in your story, hard work to write that setting in a new way, or come up with that original cowboy when so many cowboys already populate the shelves of bookstores. I finaled in the Genesis Contest for unpublished writers last year. There were over 70 entries in my category, and I was one of the top three. Do you know how many revisions I gave my opening? Probably 15. Maybe more. I worked and worked and worked until I had an opening scene that grabbed readers. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, Naomi!

Her debut, Sanctuary For A Lady, can be found on Amazon, Walmart, and anywhere else books are sold.

How many revisions has your opening had? What is your fave opening ever? Do you have any questions for Naomi?


Naomi Rawlings said…
Thanks for doing the interview, Jessica! You had some fun questions for me to answer. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Thank you for doing it! :-) I can't believe April is here. Isn't it freaky?
Such great advice about working hard and not settling! Congratulations on your success Naomi!
~ Wendy
Lindsay Harrel said…
Fun interview, and very timely for me! Yep, I revised my opening quite a few times as well. Let's hope it pays off...
Unknown said…
It's so great to hear from authors' whose hard work paid off. It reminds me there's a point to my own efforts. And there's hope! :)

Looking forward to reading your book, Naomi!
Keli Gwyn said…
Congratulations on your debut, Naomi! How cool that your first book and Jessie's will be on the shelves at the same time.
Sandra Orchard said…
I saw both your books at Coles yesterday, but...I'm holding out for Walmart so I can save enough to buy a third one. :) Unfortunately, they don't put the LIH out for another week!!
Looking forward to reading all this month's debuts!
Loree Huebner said…
Congrats on your success! Working and reworking pays off in the end.

Great to get to know you, Naomi!
Oh, my, when I first saw your title I thought, "Jess is interviewing the author of Harry Potter!"

But this was even better.

It's always great to read of others' success stories. Congrats, Naomi!
Jessica Nelson said…
I thought it was good advice too, Wendy. :-)

Oh me too, Lindsay! lol I think it will pay off for you.

There's definitely a point, Melissa. Keep at it!

Keli, I thought that was pretty awesome too. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Eeeek! Sandra, that's so exciting! They don't have them at my Walmart yet either.

So true, Loree. I thought you were on a blog break? *grin*

Jeanette, you're too funny!!! Wrong name, girl. LOL
Naomi Rawlings said…
Actually, I was at my Walmart yesterday, telling myself they wouldn't have the April books stocked, and they did!!!

Needless to say I got a couple dozen pictures, but I was kind of in a hurry. I so should have gotten one of Jessica's and mine together. How cool would that have been.

I'm going to a different Walmart on Saturday, so here's to hoping I can get a pic of both our books!
Naomi Rawlings said…
I'm glad you ladies all appreciate my tale of hard work. It definitely does pay off in the end, though the road is sometimes long and hard.
Jessica Nelson said…
Naomi, that's sooooo cool! I need to remember to bring my camera too. Or my husband's actually. Can't wait to see your pic!
Naomi Rawlings said…
See, that's what makes cell phones with camera's so great. I never have my camera camera with me, but I bought a phone with a good camera last fall so that I wouldn't need to worry about toting the digital around.
Stacy Henrie said…
Great interview questions. Fun to read your responses, Naomi! I totally agree with the no giving up or settling thing.
Congrats, Naomi! I've jotted down the title of your book and put it on my Wish List.

My first manuscript has had so many revisions that it barely resembles the original draft. The second is still in extremely rough draft form and needs lots of work.
Naomi Rawlings said…
Ah Susan, I remember those days of massive revisions. Here's a little secret, even published authors still get those massive revisions, only this time they're requested by editors. I'm wading my way through one right now. Good luck with your writing and keep working hard!
Katie Ganshert said…
Fun times! Congrats Naomi! This is a great idea, Jessica.
Julie Dao said…
Wonderful interview! I am crossing my fingers and toes because I THINK I am beginning to get those signs. I don't know if I just jinxed myself but here's hoping :) The book sounds fabulous, thank you both for sharing!
Nancy said…
Great interview. I love how you take pictures of your books at the stores. I would do that, too.

Have a wonderful Easter.
Naomi Rawlings said…
Thanks, everyone. The interview was fun to do, and I'll be returning the favor and interviewing Jessica on my blog next week. That should be fun as well.

And yes, Nancy, we gotta take those pictures of our books while we can. Maybe one day I'll be an old, established writer and the site of my book on a store shelf won't be quite so exciting. Maybe . . . but probably not. :-)

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