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Andrea Hurst and Associates
by:  Andrea Hurst, Andrea Hurst and Associates; Andrea Hurst Literary Management
e-mail:  info@andreahurst.com
web:  http://www.andreahurst.com, www.facebook.com/pages/Andrea-Hurst-and-Associates/174459902871
twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/andreahurst_
The Literary Experts With over 25 years experience as a literary agent, professional editor, and bestselling author, Andrea offers a full suite of services to guide you to publishing success.
February 10, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with cover designer Monica Haynes

Monica Haynes has been an avid book enthusiast since reading Hooples on the Highway, her first non-picture book, in 2nd grade. She’s tinkered on computers since the 1980s when the Commodore 64 provided hours of programming joy. FYI – her parents still own the original monitor. She married a fellow book enthusiast and plans to organize a family book club once her children move past the “See Spot Jump” stage. Monica possesses a BA in Photojournalism from Western Kentucky University.

You’ve been a book lover from a very early age. Do you credit anyone with fostering your love of reading?

Yes, books have always been a big part of my life thanks to my parents. They read to my brother, sister, and I every night and provided us with plenty of books and trips to the library. Those trips to the library were monumental—we cleared shelves. Why don’t libraries provide shopping carts? Someone needs to make this happen!

What drew you to working in the book business? To designing covers for authors?

I like to say that I’m a recovering college registrar after spending a decade in the education business. There’s not a lot of creativity in that vocation, you know? I left my job after the birth of my second child (because daycare expenses are astronomical!) to become a stay-at-home mom. Two years into my new “occupation,” my husband bought me a Kindle. This gift changed my life.

Instead of juggling armloads of library books, I downloaded them to my Kindle. Literally overnight (pun intended), a book-centric world opened up and for the first time ever, I had an endless supply of reading material, my very own version of heaven. I read self-published, mainstream, science fiction, romance, historical fiction, how-tos, memoirs, and more. And finally, by some strange twist of fate, I stumbled across M.L. Gardner’s 1929. You know that afterglow you get after reading a really good book—that immense satisfaction followed by an emptiness because you’ve had to say goodbye to your new book friends? I distinctly remember thinking THIS is how a book should be and seeking M.L. Gardner out on Facebook for information about her next release.

It was around this time, M.L. Gardner posted an ad for an assistant and after much consideration, I applied and landed the job. What started out as an administrative/marketing position evolved to include the designing of her Facebook banners and eventually her book covers, too. Because of M.L. Gardner’s belief in me, The Thatchery was born and my new career path was launched. My parents sang the Hallelujah Chorus in celebration of my utilizing that expensive college degree, which, by the way, was a BA in photojournalism and where I learned layout, design, and photography.

Through your business, the Thatchery, you design award-winning covers and offer various graphic services to writers. Can tell us a little about what you do?

The Thatchery provides authors with a full-service design experience. While working as a personal assistant, I discovered that authors required both book covers and accompanying marketing materials. If an author needs a social media, website, or newsletter banner to promote their new release, I’ve got that covered. If they want Pinterest-friendly designs like graphic quotes, or 3-D book covers, I can deliver. I even offer bookmarks and Squarespace website design. If it’s not in the shop, just ask—I’m sure I can make it happen.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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December 9, 2015

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with bestselling author Sophie Moss

Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of five full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she's working on her next novel. When she's not writing, she's testing out a new dessert recipe, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemossauthor@gmail.com or visit her website sophiemossauthor.com to sign up for her newsletter.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? When did you start writing professionally?

I discovered my passion for writing in college and started writing my first novel when I was nineteen. After the release of my third book in 2013, I was able to quit my day job and start working as a full-time author. I am incredibly grateful that I’m able to do what I love for a living!

Do you have a writing process that works best for you?

I wake up at 5am, and I’m usually at the computer by 5:30am. My most productive writing time is between 5-10am so I write a lot during those hours. After that, I do as many one-hour writing sprints as I can until about 4pm with plenty of breaks to exercise, run errands, and work in the garden.

Why did you choose to go the series route with your novels?

I love reading series and I love writing them. Even though each of my books features a new couple’s love story, the couple from the previous book always plays a role in the storyline. I love getting to know the characters better. I love seeing how they evolve as a couple after their initial happily ever after. And, most of all, I love slipping back into a setting and community that I’m familiar with. I think that’s what a series offers readers—a comforting familiar place where we can reconnect with old friends.

In one of your blog posts, you address the fear of writing that next book. As a USA Today bestselling author, do you feel driven to keep outdoing yourself? How do you deal with the pressure to please your readers with each new book?

I absolutely feel pressured to keep outdoing myself. I take my craft very seriously and I do everything I can to improve my writing with each new book. I also take the promise I make to my readers very seriously. My readers have come to expect a certain type of story from me—a compelling plot, realistic characters with good morals and kind hearts, a sweet small town setting with a tight-knit community, and an emotionally satisfying ending. It’s very important to me that every book I write delivers that same experience and fulfills that same promise.

Your Seal Island Trilogy is rooted in the Irish myth of selkies. What attracted you to that folklore?

I spent a summer in Ireland when I was in college and fell in love with the country, especially the islands off the west coast. I knew I wanted to set a story there, but I wasn’t sure what it would be about until I returned to the States and discovered the movie, The Secret of Roan Inish. Captivated by the idea of mystical seals who could transform into beautiful women on land, I knew the selkie legend would be the perfect backdrop for a mysterious, magical romantic series.

Your first book in the Wind Chime series, Wind Chime Café’, is full of mouthwatering dishes. In your opinion, what makes food such a great addition to a story?

Wind Chime Café is a heartwarming story about finding love, healing, and community again after enduring a life-changing tragedy. Food brings people together. It sparks conversation. It offers nourishment and comfort. Kitchens are generally warm, welcoming environments where everyone gravitates to pick up some of that comforting, caregiving energy. Weaving cooking scenes and recipes into this book just seemed like a natural fit.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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November 9, 2015

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with literary agent Rita Rosenkranz

Rita Rosenkranz founded Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency in 1990 after a career as an editor with major New York houses. She handles almost exclusively adult non-fiction titles. Her list includes health, history, parenting, music, how-to, popular science, business, biography, sports, popular reference, cooking, writing, spirituality, and general interest titles. Rita works with major publishing houses, as well as regional publishers that handle niche markets. She looks for projects that present familiar subjects freshly or lesser-known subjects presented commercially. Her books include STEPHEN HAWKING: An Unfettered Mind by Kitty Ferguson (Palgrave Macmillan); FORBIDDEN FRUIT: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad by Betty DeRamus (Atria Books, essence.com bestseller); OLIVE TREES AND HONEY: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World by Gil Marks (Wiley, 2005 James Beard Award winner) and 29 GIFTS: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker (Da Capo Press; New York Times bestseller). She is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), The Authors Guild, and Women's Media Group. www.ritarosenkranzliteraryagency.com.

You founded Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency in 1990. Can you tell us a little about your journey to becoming a literary agent?

I had entered publishing as an editorial assistant at Random House (now known as Little Random), and then worked as managing editor at Scribner's and finally as editor-in-chief at Outlet, which was then the promotional book division of Crown. I grew increasingly interested in autonomy--the chance to make my own decisions about which authors to work with and the kinds of risks I wanted to take. I knew as an agent I'd still have a chance to work with authors editorially, which I had enjoyed in my various editorial positions.

Your agency represents primarily non-fiction titles in a variety of subject areas such as health, parenting, music, cooking, popular science, and even sports! Why did you choose to specialize in non-fiction titles?

I had worked with mostly non-fiction authors for the bulk of my career and knew that publishing terrain best. I found it easier to identify the need for these projects in the marketplace and to pitch them to publishers.

Are you branching out to accept fiction queries as well?

Yes, I am. Occasionally, a non-fiction author I represent writes fiction, too, and in those cases the transition has been organic and smooth--though I generally do not court fiction.

What are some of the benefits of having a literary agent in your corner? Do you recommend that all authors find an agent before publishing?

Agents are the author's most vocal advocate and look to protect the author's interests whenever there is controversy (e.g., editorially or with the cover design or publicity). The agent/author relationship goes well beyond helping with the proposal, placing the work and negotiating the contract.

Many trade houses will not even look at unagented work. For a book with a trade--mainstream--market, I'd recommend an author look for an agent once the proposal is refined and ready to be reviewed if agents express interest.

You’re considered one of the first literary agents to work with self-published authors. How do you think the rise of self-publishing is affecting the industry? How has it changed your business model?

As far back as the '90s, I think, I began to represent self-published non-fiction authors. Today, publishers--and agents--troll bestseller lists for self-published work that stands out. These deals are now commonplace. It seems the stigma no longer applies to self-publishing and I remain open to reviewing self-published work.

What are the key points you look for in a quality nonfiction submission?

I look for well-crafted proposals that make clear the book’s intentions, how the book is different from and better than the competition, how well the author is paired to the subject, and the author’s ability to promote the work. For me the best pitches start a conversation on a topic that had been wrongly overlooked or furthers the conversation on a topic that deserves more coverage.

A platform is particularly important with nonfiction writers. What do you think are the key marketing points an author must have to help secure a sale?

As much as publishers seem unclear how much social media actually helps sell books, they want authors to be well networked through social media. But regardless, authors need to prove their connection to their market, which might include a lecture circuit with back-of-the-room prospects, TV and radio experience, internet courses, etc. The yardstick is different for each category.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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September 16, 2015

INside Track - The First Fifty Pages

When was the last time you picked up a book and said, ‘Gee, I’m so glad that book didn’t get interesting until page 150. That was time out of my busy schedule well spent!’
We’re going to go with…never.
The opening pages of your manuscript are important because they:
• Show the character(s) the reader will be following
• Introduce the style/voice/tone of the book
• Establish the stakes
• Lay out the story’s world to the reader
• Pull the reader in without totally dumping a whole bunch of backstory

The first fifty pages can essentially be described as the first act of the book. Do you present enough conflict within these pages to entice readers to read the rest? Have you established your world and the characters within it? One of the delights of reading is to be transported into a new world. Reading becomes an escape for many people, and the act of reading is a journey in itself. The start of that journey—the first fifty pages—must convey the style and tone of the whole and provide glimpses into how the journey may unfold while still allowing for plenty of surprises along the way.
In terms of “The Hero’s Journey,” or monomyth as famously described by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousands Faces, these first fifty pages generally act as a call to adventure for your protagonist. A conflict arises to disrupt the harmony of their life, and they must answer it with action. By the end of the first fifty pages, the hero has crossed or is about to cross the threshold from the known world to the unknown world, where challenge and change await them. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is a fantastic example of the monomyth, and by the end of the first fifty pages of the first book in the trilogy, the hero Frodo is set firmly upon his journey east and away from his idyllic life in the Shire. The One Ring is the ultimate MacGuffin to propel Frodo into the unknown.
Now, that may sound like that’s an awful lot to throw in the first fifty pages, and that’s because it is.
Welcome to writing a novel!
But it can be done. It’s important to establish the stakes, what they mean to the main character, and why the reader should care. If the reader doesn’t care enough to find out how the story ends, then they’re obviously not going to finish the story. Simple as that.
The point is to hook the reader as early as possible. Do it in the first fifty pages. Do it in the first chapter. Do it on the first page. The more immediate your conflict and the more dire the consequences for your characters, the better chance it will have of not only being read by an agent or editor, but also being picked up for publication. There’s a reason you fell in love with your favorite books. They almost certainly brought you into their worlds, made you care about the characters, and teased you with intrigue to come, all within the opening pages. So how soon does your story really start? Start it sooner.
Finally, by around the fifty pages mark, there needs to be a shift towards the meaty middle part of the book, where most of the conflict happens. Now that all of the above business is squared away and established, you can use all of that conflict and intrigue to its fullest extent throughout the rest of the novel.

To be automatically entered to have your first fifty pages edited, go to our website at www.andreahurst.com/contact-us and sign up for our mailing list, or fill out a Contact Us form. Do both to be entered twice. In the contact form, put the subject as Win First Fifty. This contest will only run until September 21st, so hurry!

Good luck!

Shawn and Sean

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September 1, 2015

The INside Track - Setting

Setting is important. Obviously. Otherwise we’d have characters moving about in a bunch of white space, interacting with only each other, while creepy baby music plays overhead…you know, like those old Apple commercials.
Setting is most basically defined as where your story takes place. It can be as broad as the 21st century or as intricate as a specific room. But setting is not just a place you describe and be done with. Written right, setting can enhance, compliment, and become a part of your story just as much as any character. That said, here are three things to think about when crafting stronger settings:

Make it Personal:
Draw setting from your own life. Do you take notice of the daily surroundings and the settings you live in? If you’re a writer then you’re probably aware of the world around you, so that you can translate that awareness into the writing of your story. Of course, the level of detail you give your setting depends upon the kind of story you are trying to write.
An epic fantasy, for example, will require an enormous amount of detail so readers will be completely transported into the ‘reality’ of your fabricated world. But for a hardboiled detective novel, you might only focus on the most important details, creating sparseness in the prose that reflects the hard-edged nature of the story, but no less able to engage the reader.
Once you figure out the kind of story you’re writing, then you create the world. You visualize, you jot down notes—details, of which you must be aware of in your own life too. For each scene of the story, consider the sensory experience of the characters. What do your various settings look like? Smell like? What sounds are present in each locale? More importantly, how do your characters react and interact with their environment?

Make it Interactive:
Characters aren’t static (or they shouldn’t be), so why should the setting be any different? Characters pick up objects, look at things, and use parts of the setting to affect their dialogue or movements. If you’re not having a character interact with a setting, then you’re missing an important part of dialogue ‘beats’, the things that break up strings of dialogue and add texture and flavor to character interaction. Objects and setting prove to be more than just where the conversation is taking place; they can reflect the conversation the characters are having, and in some cases become the focus of conflict.
Having your characters actively engage with their surroundings will help ground readers in the world of the story. Do their environments aid or hinder their progress on their respective journeys? For that matter, what’s the weather like? Weather is tied to setting—it helps set the scene, convey mood, and project atmosphere. Setting will inform characters, and perhaps even vice versa.
You’ve probably seen the old bit where the lovesick hero is suddenly caught in a downpour of rain. This is a very obvious method of conveying the mood of the character through the elements. You can do this with setting and manipulate in any number of ways the effect it has on the character, and you can utilize it to move the story along or stop to make the reader focus on something important, like a certain detail vital to the plot. And again: the characters engage, the readers engage.

Make it Develop:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is one of the best books about growing up Sean has ever read. One reason the main character, Bod’s, transformation from youthful innocence to adulthood is so powerful is that we as readers get to see the transformation of his home—the graveyard—around him, and we get to see how his view of it changes as he grows.
When the book opens, the graveyard is a magical place (isn’t it always?), full of wonder and excitement. But, like most everyone, as we grow we begin to realize things are not as simple, or as magical, as they once were. That loss of wonder mirrors the loss in our own lives and strikes a much more meaningful chord near the end when Gaiman describes the setting as a shadow of what it once was.
How does your setting change over the course of your book (or series)? Like characters, setting too can change. If you use the same setting through the whole book, then it’s a little easier to show gradual change since the reader has a comparison from the beginning. Similarly, a character’s perception of their setting throughout the course of the book can change vastly, and the setting’s external changes can mirror the internal changes of the character.

Setting is so much more than a static entity in your story and, if done correctly, can become a character unto itself. Who can forget Hogwarts, or the Arena from Hunger Games? With a little more thought, your setting can take on a life of its own.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for the next post, leave them below.

Sean & Shawn

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A R C H I V E / H I G H L I G H T S

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with bestselling author Anna Stewart
originally posted: August 20, 2015

National bestselling and award-winning author Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hands or a story in her head. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for the independent heroines she writes for both Harlequin and Berkley. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). Visit Anna online at www.authorannastewart.com.

You describe yourself as a “geek girl.” How has this identity impacted your writing style?

I think being a “geek girl” has empowered my writing and probably my characters as well. I was raised on early girl power TV like The Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman, shows that featured women who could take care of themselves and who didn’t need a man to ride to the rescue. My heroines can definitely handle life on their own. The heroes they find—and want—enhance their lives and make them better people and they’ll do what they need to in order to stake their claim. That said, I do have to be careful not to go too far in the other direction and make sure the hero is there for a purpose. I do write romance, after all.

I think my affinity for “out there shows” like Star Trek and Supernatural and the like helped me to identify with the outliers in society, the ones who don’t fit the mold of expectation. There’re more of us now than there were, but put me in the middle of a fan convention and I'm a happy girl. Aside from the science angle, I’d make a great addition to The Big Bang Theory. That’s what I try to bring to my stories. That we’re all human, just with different experiences and mind sets and guess what? We can all co-exist. How we handle those difference is what’s important…and life altering.

You’ve said that you always had stories in your head. What are some of your strategies for getting these stories out and onto the page? Do you remember the very first creative piece you wrote?

I remember doing a lot of play-acting as a kid. I’d make up my own episodes of Star Trek and act them out in my bedroom (please tell me other only children did this, LOL). I was also fortunate that the one thing my mother NEVER said no to was a book. We had a great used bookstore walking distance from the house and trips to other bookstores were frequent.

I discovered writing in high school when some of my friends and I started writing mini-romances featuring us and our favorite rock stars (an early form of fan fiction?). I became obsessed, much to the detriment of my education, and could spend hours writing out stories long hand which is still how I start each and every new project: a new notebook, a pen, and a copy of 16 Classic Archetypes along with The Character Naming Sourcebook. I actually still have a lot of those stories from all those years ago- in binders, under the bed, where they will remain forever!

What draws you most to the romance genre? Are there certain challenges that you face when writing romance?

As I said earlier, I’m a reader from way back. I think I might have emerged from the womb with a book in my hand and while I started reading adult books super early (there wasn’t any of the YA that’s available now), I was drawn to the romantic elements in those stories. The boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back struck a chord that, until I read my first romance novel I didn’t realize there was a whole genre for. It clicked immediately. From then on, I knew this was what I was meant to do.

There are challenges no matter what genre people write, but I think still, even after all these years, romance carries the stigma of being “easier” to write, or that it’s not a serious pursuit or that it’s all mental fluff. Wrong. Writing romance is hard. I think it’s one of the hardest genres to write because we’re writing about people’s emotions, what makes them tick, what makes them who they are and also we see them at their most vulnerable--right before they commit to another person.

Romance characters aren’t just people in circumstance working their way through a plot of external conflict. Romance authors dive deep and really dig into the meat of character examination and do it in a way that’s very accessible to readers. Every genre has its audience, but there’s a reason someone like Peter Jackson upped the romantic angle in his Lord of the Rings movies. There’s a reason Pride and Prejudice is still a favorite. People, whether they realize it or not, whether they admit it or not, love romance. And there’s also that happily ever after aspect. Nothing beats that, right?

Can you share some of your influences in terms of writers and books? What inspired you in terms of creating the Lantano Valley shared setting. Who do or what do you draw from when world building?

There are the classics of course, the ones that influenced a lot of writers: To Kill A Mockingbird (no comment on the sequel), Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Richard III (Shakespeare), and Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) were the ones for me, but three authors turned me into a writer: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Nora Roberts. I read Carrie when I was eight (no YA books, remember?). That book spoke to me on so many levels, as that “geek girl” who definitely had her own drummer banging away in her head. I could not stop reading (The Stand, to me, is still his best book). I glommed on to anything and everything I could get my hands on. And then I read The Watchers by Dean Koontz. He combined everything I loved about King and Roberts into his own style. I fell in love! By the time I put that book down (I think I was 13 at the time?), the doors in my mind opened. So I did what any geeky fan would do: I wrote her a letter to Nora Roberts and she wrote me back. I still have that letter in my signed first edition of Naked In Death. Write, she told me. Learn. Keep writing and don’t look back. Don’t let anyone tell you know. Don’t let anyone stop you. It took me a while, but I took her advice and I can never thank her enough for it.

As far as creating Lantano Valley, I wanted to set my Tremayne stories in a town where I wanted to live; one that has a real sense of community and camaraderie. I always prefer to create my own cities and settings so I can set things up the way I want (probably comes from when I was writing paranormal).

I also wanted to establish that while the Tremayne family (featured in Asking For Trouble, Here Comes Trouble (both out now) and The Trouble With Nathan, out 2/16), is incredibly wealthy, that they also have a very strong sense of social obligation. Creating Lantano Valley allowed me to have that social divide for a purpose. That’s not to say everyone in Lantano Valley is wealthy. It’s definitely a middle class strong environment, but that’s the great thing about fiction. I can make it whatever I want. Or whatever my characters need.

For world building, I think I draw a lot on my TV and movie addiction (which is serious). I’ve always been a TV junkie, back to when I’d watch Saturday morning cartoons (remember that?). TV can be a strong style of storytelling and literally shows you the world characters inhabit: the Enterprise from Star Trek, or Paradise Island from Wonder Woman. More recently, Sunnydale from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even modern day Britain for Sherlock. Each of those worlds (and so many others) is distinctive, but each is also relatable and draws people in. That’s what I strive for when I create a new world, be it in contemporary romance, paranormal/Urban Fantasy, or any of the other genres I’m fortunate enough to write.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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AUTHORNOMICS Interview with screenwriter Suzanne Kelman
originally posted: August 6, 2015

Suzanne Kelman is a screenwriter and author of The Rejected Writers Book Club. Her writing voice has been described as a perfect blend of Janet Evanovich and Debbie Macomber. Some of her accolades include best comedy feature screenplay at the 2011 LA International Film Festival, a Gold Award at the 2012 CA Film Awards and a Van Gogh Award at the 2012 Amsterdam Film Festival. She can also sing Puff the Magic Dragon backwards! To learn more about Suzanne, visit her website at www.suzannekelmanauthor.com.

How did you first get into writing? What does your process look like when you’re working on a project?

Firstly, thank you for your interest in my work. I have been writing on and off most of my adult life; my background is in theatre and there was often a need to write short plays or edit a script, but I feel I really became serious about it as a craft in my 40’s. That is when I wrote my first full-length screenplay “Maggie the Brave.”

As far as my process goes, I always work on more than one project at a time. This keeps me from getting writer’s block and also keeps everything I’m doing fresh. If I am struggling on a project the very act of letting it go and thinking about another one is often the key I need to find the answers. I’m also pretty disciplined about my schedule and try to spend at least 4 hours a day actually “writing” and even more when I have deadlines. I tend to write first draft work in the morning when I’m at my most creative.

If I’m having a particularly hard day getting going, I will cut and paste my work into a text to speech app and have the computer read it back to me as I do housework. As I fold laundry I listen for the fluidity of the words and the clarity of story, and also I’m listening for its rhythm. Writing should have a rhythm not unlike music, and each character sings their own part in their own way. I find disconnecting from the “writing” of the work and actually “listening” to the work helps me appreciate the storytelling from a whole different viewpoint. It’s amazing how quickly I will leave whatever I’m doing, move to my computer and start editing. Before I know it I’m back knee-deep in that story again, it works for me every time.

You were born in Scotland and lived for many years in Birmingham, England before moving to Seattle in 1995. What brought you to the Pacific Northwest? How does that heritage, and the landscape/culture of the UK, inform your work?

I came to the Pacific Northwest because my husband started working for the Boeing Company, here in Washington State. We have lived here for 20 years, but it still amazes me how English I am. So often, I have people who don’t know anything about my British upbringing comment about my work along those lines. I think my cultural heritage plays a big part in my work as I often write comedy and being British my humor has a bias in that direction. The Brits have a very interesting way of viewing their world through the eyes of humor, and I think that definitely translates into my writing.

Your book The Rejected Writers Book Club has been praised for including “vivid, realistic characters.” Can you share some of your strategies for creating such relatable characters in your stories?

This is a great question, and I have thought about this a lot as I have tried to teach on this subject. For me, dialogue is one of the most effective ways to create vivid characters, and my background in theatre helped me realize this. When an actor receives a script, they become a detective, reading each line and trying to interpret the clues from the playwright to help them create their character. When I’m writing, I just do that process in reverse. I imagine myself as that character then I try to find the most interesting and entertaining way I can communicate information.

I also remind myself, especially in screenwriting, that dialogue is never about telling the story; the dialogue is always about informing the reader about character. So to help that process I also always try to do this exercise once I have finished a scene. I list out all the things I know about one of the characters, then I go back and read ONLY that characters dialogue, then I make sure that something from my characters list of attributes shows up in the dialogue. Then I go back and do the same thing with the next character’s dialogue and so on. By the end, you have a lot of characters that stand-alone and are true to the individual person you envisioned them to be.

The Rejected Writers Book Club is also being promoted as Volume One of the Southlea Bay Series. What can readers expect for the future of the series?

I am so excited to be working on this series. When I started it I wanted to write a book about people I would love to spend time with and create entertaining, comical and even bizarre circumstances for them to overcome. I wanted the reader to go on a journey of laughter with me, and fall in love with all the craziness that is small-town life. At the moment, there are four books outlined, and I’m working on the second one right now. In this book, I am drawing on all my hilarious experiences I have had in the years in theater. All of the books are stand alone, but there is also an over-arcing storyline that weaves its way through the whole series.

In addition to writing novels, you also write screenplays and have directing experience. Why were you first drawn to visual storytelling? How do you react to seeing your work on the big screen?

Another great question, I love visual storytelling, as I think in pictures, so it is an easy transition for me from what is in my brain to the page. I actually had no idea that screenwriting would be such a passion for me and fell into it by accident when I was writing a stage play that I kept seeing on a movie screen.

I don’t think anyone can prepare you for the joy of seeing your work come to life through the work of actors and a creative team. I write in black and white, and it transforms before my eyes into a vivid Technicolor masterpiece. This can be an exhilarating experience as long as I, as a screenwriter, can let go of control of the outcome. My craft is so much bigger than I am, and once I have executed my part, I have to surrender it to its own creative journey. If you are the kind of writer who likes to see your exact words spoken in the exact emphatic way that you wrote them, then screenwriting is not for you. Filmmaking is a totally collaborative art form.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R

ANDREA HURST, President of Andrea Hurst & Associates
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Andrea works with both bestselling and emerging new authors to help polish their work, obtain publication, increase sales, and build their author brand.
She brings over 25 years experience. She is a developmental editor for publishers and authors, a bestselling Amazon author, an instructor for the MFA creative writing program at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and a webinar presenter for Writers’ Digest. As a literary agent, she selectively represents high profile adult nonfiction and well-crafted fiction. Her clients and their books have appeared on the Oprah Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, National Geographic network, and in the NY Times.

For serious writers and professionals in need of assistance polishing, developing, and evaluating their book for publication and beyond, she offers the services listed on the right sid