Monday, May 23, 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jerusha Agen, author of This Redeemer

Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I’ve been in love with stories since I was a young child, thanks to a mother who made sure I was exposed to reading and stories from day one. Growing up in a family that read books every day led to creating my own tales in mini cardboard books at an early age, making up plays with my siblings, and writing short stories as I grew a little older.

When I managed to write a story touching enough to make my mom cry, I was awed by the power of storytelling, and I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I’m still working on the growing up part!


How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

My schedule changes depending on where I am in the writing process. Between books, I have a freer schedule and use the time to catch up with marketing, friends, emails, cleaning, etc.

But when I’m working on a book or other writing project, I follow a more disciplined schedule. On such days, I try to write for four to six hours, but the time doesn’t actually matter to me as much as reaching my word count goal. I have a set word count goal for the week, so I know what I should average every day to reach that weekly total.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

In the past, I mostly wrote on my laptop computer set on a desk in my office. With the last novel I wrote, however, I was feeling stifled creatively by that more rigid environment.

I experimented by taking my laptop to a comfy armchair in another room in the house instead. I found that this more relaxed position away from the office (which seems labeled as the room for “work” in my mind) worked very well to enhance my creativity. So I think I’ve found a new favorite place to write!

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite part about writing is getting to create with my Creator. I know that my best ideas and words come from Him, and I’m so often astounded at what He directs me to do with my stories.

I love it when He leads me to do something clever completely unbeknownst to me, until He suddenly lets me see, “Whoa, then that idea will connect with that earlier detail and the whole theme!” He enables me to pull off things I know I could never think of on my own. What a privilege to be able to partner with Him in creating through stories!

My least favorite part about writing is plotting my stories. I don’t enjoy this part very much since it can often be slow and take much longer than I think it should. But I’ve found that if I persevere to plot out a detailed outline before writing, I save time and frustration in the long run, as I can punch out the story much quicker and with little to no revising.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

As the third book in the Sisters Redeemed Series, This Redeemer was a story idea that naturally followed the other two. The heroine of This Redeemer, however, is a complete surprise to readers of the first two books. In the first two novels, readers meet the two Sanders sisters, Nye and Oriana. I had many readers ask me before the third book released whom the final novel would be about, since there were only two sisters in the Sanders family.

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This Redeemer was a fun story to write for that reason, and because of how very different the heroine is from Nye and Oriana. I was also able to infuse this novel with more suspense than the previous two, which was ideal as I transitioned to writing romantic suspense. I was able to finish the manuscript in about fourteen weeks.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

Social media! I’m active on Facebook at Jerusha Agen – SDG Words (https://www.facebook.com/JerushaAgenSdgWords) and on Twitter @SDGwords (https://twitter.com/SDGwords). I also do additional marketing at my website, www.SDGwords.com.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I’m hoping to have a new romantic suspense novel released in the near future, as I have two manuscripts currently being considered by publishers. In the meantime, my project of the moment is writing a romantic suspense short story that will be offered free exclusively for subscribers of my e-newsletter! To gain access to that story when it’s released, readers can sign up for my quarterly newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bBa5wX.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

How did you know? It’s a futuristic, dystopian novel that deals with the sanctity of human life and persecution of Christians in an action-packed, romantic suspense story. Right now, that idea is a harder one to sell to Christian publishers, so it’s on the back burner for the time being.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

If God has called you to write, then He will give you the ability and the opportunity! The most important thing to be certain of is that you are writing for the right reason. If you’re aiming for glory, fame, or money, you won’t find satisfaction or meaningful success in writing. But if you’re writing because God has called you to write, and if you’re writing stories for Him and His glory, then He will provide all that you need. Your part is to faithfully work as hard as you can to educate yourself, grow your talents into real skill, and use those abilities to always write for the Lord.

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A question for me:

One thing that I know plagues most authors and that I’m often asked about is how to balance writing and marketing demands. Modern authors have to do both, but one always seems to take too much time away from the other. How do you balance your writing and marketing demands, Kathryn?


This is a fantastic question, one that many writers ask about. How do I know this? This particular question comes up more often than any other in this segment of the interview! 

Balancing is tough, but it can be accomplished with vision and dedication. I spend at least an hour a day on marketing, whether that is writing up a blog post, doing some social media, putting together a book trailer, or sending out invites for my next book signing. The important thing here is to keep your marketing to one or two hours a day. Set a time when you will market and stick to it. 

I also have a marketing book, that keeps all of my ideas in one place. I update this book every year, and use the blank pages after every chapter to add new ideas gathered. The book, Marketing Your Book on a Budget, can be found here. It has a 5 star review average rating on Amazon and can be purchased for under $10.

Most of the time will be spent writing, or all you'll have is one book! Yes, it gets harder to market once your first book is out and you need to get busy writing another, but keeping things in perspective will help you to keep pumping out the pages for your next book. I write 80 percent of the time, and work on marketing closer to 20 percent.

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Not all prisons have bars.

Charlotte Davis should know—she’s lived in one for years. She can handle getting slapped around by her boyfriend, Tommy, and even being forced to do things she would never choose, but when Tommy turns on her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte must try to escape. With nowhere else to turn, Charlotte runs to the stranger her dying mother believed would help her.

Looking only for shelter or cash, Charlotte finds a family she longs to call her own and a gentle man she could learn to love. But if Tommy catches up with Charlotte, these strangers could discover the truth about her. Will they send her back to Tommy? Or can a Father’s love set her free?


LINKS:

Jerusha's books on Amazon - www.amazon.com/Jerusha-Agen/e/B00ELMNMV2/

Jerusha Agen
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