Today I would like to welcome Ginger Simpson to my blog. She is an accomplished author and her current YA Novel, Shortcomings, will be released in March 2011 by MuseItUp Publishing. She says in her bio...
“I truly recognized a dream with the publication of my first book, but my real hope is to see my work more readily available to the general public. With the sudden growth of e books, I feel encouraged.. Approaching true senior citizen status, I remind myself that a person is never too old to achieve their goals. Grandma Moses is my heroine.”
I’ve been published for over ten years now, and I decided to try my hand at writing YA. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed looking at the work through my heroine’s POV in Shortcomings.
What was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.
Anything written by Laura Ingalls Wilder was a favorite. If we could access the library check-out cards today, I’d bet my name would be on each book at least three times.
Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?
Although experts say you should stick to one genre and make it your brand, I’ve stretched the boundaries. I consider myself mainly an historical writer, but I can’t deny writing whatever story my characters have to tell, so I listen and type like the wind. All my stories, except for one, have been character driven. I tried writing totally on my own, and it was the toughest book I’ve written yet. I like listening to the voices in my head.
Tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.
Shortcomings, which is scheduled for release in March from Muse It Up Publishing is my first attempt at YA. I believe there is a little of each author in the work they offer up, and after the fact, I realized that drew on some of my own teenage experiences to pump up the emotion. In my story, heroine, Cindy Johnson faces life with a defect that defines who she is and what she can accomplish. Dealing with the harsh comments and stares from strangers drivers her further into seclusion, until she dares venture out, make a friend and learn that she’s so much more than just a person with a short limb.
Let me set the scene for you. Cindy has agreed to help tutor the star quarterback of her high school’s football team so he doesn’t lose his position over bad grades. Hanging out with the most handsome boy in school is definitely a perk, but a little voice in her head tells her that he could never be interested in her for anything more.
Cindy gently closed the front door, but the squeaking hinges announced her arrival. Her mother appeared from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron. “There you are. I was beginning to worry about you.”
Cindy shed her backpack and stashed it at the end of the couch. “Sorry. I should have let you know I’d be later than usual. I did a little tutoring in the library.”
Her mother’s brow rose in a suspicious arc. “Does this have anything to do with the phone call you got the other night?”
“Actually, it does. Cory Neil needed help with his math and asked me to meet him after school. I’m going to tutor him on the nights he doesn't have football practice. Is that all right?”
“Cory Neil, huh?” A teasing gleam sparkled in her eye. “I hear tell he’s the football team’s handsome quarterback.”
“Yes, Mother, it’s true, but don’t make anything out of this. He needs help with his math, and that’s all.” How could Momma assume Cory would be interested in a cripple?
“Well, he called you didn’t he? Besides, I heard while at the grocery story there’s a big dance coming up soon. You never know—”
“Stop it, Momma! Cory can have his pick of any girl at school. Why in the world would he want to be seen with me? For heaven sakes," her voice trembled. "I don’t even know how to dance. His interest in me is purely educational.” Tears of frustration filled Cindy’s eyes. She limped off to her bedroom and slammed the door behind her.
Within a few seconds, there was a light knock. “Cindy, may I come in. I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry.”
Cindy lay across the bed on her stomach. She swiped the moisture from her cheeks, sat, and pulled her feet up under her. “Come in.”
“I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I just—”
“I know. I’m okay. Honest.” Cindy blinked back tears. “I grow so tired of being odd man out all the time. I know it isn't your fault, but why couldn't I have been born with both legs the same length, like everyone else?”
Her mother perched on the edge of the bed and put her arm around Cindy. “You’re so beautiful. Don’t you know that? Just look at yourself.” Reaching across to the dresser, her mom snatched the hand mirror and held it up to Cindy’s face. “Look at those beautiful blue eyes… and that long blonde hair. You don’t even have to worry about curling it. Your skin is flawless… and my goodness, you have the most beautiful teeth in the family—so straight and white. Why can’t you see what I see? Your defect doesn’t define who you are. We all have our shortcomings.”
Cindy peered at the mirror. Shortcomings? What an appropriate word. Tears peppered her cheeks. She plucked a tissue from the box on her nightstand, dried her eyes and tried to focus on the things her mother described. The deformity blurred her image. It didn’t matter what the glass reflected, it didn’t tell the whole story.
How has writing affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?
Being retired is not all it’s cracked up to be. I miss interacting with friends, students, and associates, and writing has given me a platform for making new friends and colleagues. Writing is also an outlet. When my day doesn’t turn out right, I can let my heroine scream, stamp her feet, even kill someone, and it’s all legal and I don’t suffer the consequences. *lol*
What advice can you give regarding the writing process?
The rules are ever-changing. Join a good critique group and polish your story as best you can. Once you submit to a publisher and get a contract, you’ll be assigned an editor who will undoubtedly contradict everything you thought you knew. *lol* The learning never stops.
Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?
I gave a workshop at the Muse On-Line Conference about the pitfalls of publishing. I can’t stress enough the importance of researching any publisher you consider. There are resources on the web for finding out dirty little secrets and avoiding entering into a union that makes getting a divorce look like a cakewalk. Your best bet is asking authors already contracted there. If they aren’t happy, they’ll let you know.
How can your fans find, follow or friend you?
I’ve been doing this for a number of years, so if a person new to writing Googled my name, I’m sure they might be a tad impressed with how many places I’m found. Here are just a few links:
and of course, my Amazon Page: http://tinyurl.com/29mobur
I’d like to thank my hostess for allowing me time and space on her blog. This is what teamwork is all about.