Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I’ve always been a closet writer. It all began with “Dear Diary” when I was about eight. My writing progressed to journaling as a teen and young adult and then more recently, I began to brave a “real audience,” and graduated to blogging. I’m an elementary school teacher, so I’ve taught students to write for nearly twenty years. In 2008, I began taking writing courses as part of my graduate course work. One of my professors, Dr. Krystal Bishop, encouraged us to consider writing memoirs. That is where the seeds were sown for me to tell my story in book form.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I do not schedule it into my daily life. But, sometimes I get away for a few days and immerse myself into a writing project or deadline. I rarely force myself to write on demand.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
Writing, for me, is like having a lover – I think about it all the time. I sneak into my closet at night when my husband is sleeping and write. I jot down ideas in a notebook on my desk at school when my students have a quiet moment. I pull my car over to the side of the road and dictate into my phone. Then I email myself the words, which I cut and paste into a blog post or manuscript. Sometimes I write by hand into a college-ruled spiral notebook. Sometimes I use my Macbook Pro. It just depends upon the setting and my mood.
What's your favorite part about writing?
I love feeling inspired, then knitting the words together and taking an idea and developing it into something worth sharing. I feel like God is very close to me when I am writing.
Your least favorite part about writing?
I struggle with editing. That would definitely be my least favorite part.
How did you come up with your book idea?
My book idea was, as I said, birthed in one of my graduate classes. I read a piece to my class and read the emotion in their faces. Afterward, several students shared with me how my words had impacted them in a positive way. In that moment, I realized I had a story to tell, and that it would make a difference. It would be four years before I began the manuscript, but that is where the idea germinated. The Holy Spirit continued to prompt me until I sat down to draft chapter one.
How long did it take you to write your book?
It took me three years to write. My memoir is personal and painful. I had to relive certain memories in order to write them well. It was emotionally draining. I wrote a chapter and then took a long break.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I blog, speak, and use Facebook as a platform. A marketing strategy is something I did not develop in advance. I’m learning as I go. Honestly, I need a rep!
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a companion for my memoir, Same Dress, Different Day. It is a study guide for small groups who want to go deeper into the themes of codependency, forgiveness, deliverance and redemption.
Do you have a new book out? My book, Same Dress, Different Day: A Spiritual Memoir of Addiction and Redemption was released on June 23, 2015.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Yes.
Tell me about it.
I’m mulling it over right now, but I would really like to write my mother’s story. She’s a vibrant, descriptive writer in her own right, but has never been published. I believe her work is worth an audience. I would like to help her get a manuscript print-ready.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Everyone has a story. Write yours! Just begin. That’s the best advice I can give. Even if it doesn’t seem like you have what it takes to be published. Put your story down on paper (or into a Word Document). Then pay an excellent editor to be the “talent.”
My website is: http://julietvanheerden.com/
My book is available on Amazon
A You Tube review of Same Dress, Different Day, by Rachael Hartman of Our Written Lives can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PLefqIq-nQ