Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and eighty-seventh, is of debut novelist and short story author Steph Post. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Steph Post is a tried and true Florida native. Her adventurous childhood growing up in an alligator ridden backwoods swampland has led to a lifetime of dauntless creativity and unapologetic risk-taking with words.
Spice this up with the knowledge that she has also been a recipient of the Patricia Cornwell creative writing scholarship, winner of the Vereen Bell award for short fiction, semi-finalist for the Big Moose prize for fiction, loves coffee, is obsessed with the television show Justified, lives with five dogs, and enjoys reading Southern literature when she’s not too busy being a badass, and you should have a pretty good picture of who you’re dealing with. Like the characters she writes about, Steph Post is vulnerable and volatile, fearless and fierce. She is most recently the author of the debut Grit-Lit novel A Tree Born Crooked.
And now from the author herself:
Being a debut author, I am in the position of constantly asking people for advice. How to handle the stress, how to balance new writing and book promoting, how to make people aware of my book, how not to lose my mind… The other day, the tables turned on me and one of my students asked Me for advice about making it as an novelist. I teach writing at a fine arts school and so many of my students will actually go on to have extremely successful careers in music, dance, visual arts and creative writing. Here was my advice for this student:
Make sure that you are in love with your book. You are going to be spending a very long time with a very long piece of fiction. By the time you have gone through multiple drafts, revisions and edits, by the time you have written a synopsis and a query letter, and another version of a query letter, and so on, you will most likely know your novel by heart. Sure, there will be times when you get sick of it, but no matter what, you must be the number one champion of your work. And that can only happen if you absolutely, unconditionally love your book.
My other piece of advice is one that I’ve given to many of my students, because it pertains not only to writing, but to life: it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. Usually, this is in the context of consoling a teenager in the midst of a break-up, but I think it is a motto that all would-be authors should keep in mind. If the story isn’t sparking, figure out why and fix it, even if you have to “kill your darlings.” If you get rejected (and you will….), go back and look at the guidelines, examine your query letter, read over your first chapter once again. You might be doing everything right, but there’s always the chance that you’re doing something wrong and now you have an opportunity to remedy it. I’m not saying that mistakes and failure won’t hurt – at times it will feel like an agent, editor or reader has ripped your heart out and thrown it in front of a Mack truck- but if you always look at failure as an opportunity, then you will always be gaining instead of losing.
You can find more about Steph and her writing via… www.stephpostfiction.com and A Tree Born Crooked is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tree-Born-Crooked-Steph-Post-ebook/dp/B00NAFBSSU or http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tree-Born-Crooked-Steph-Post-ebook/dp/B00NAFBSSU.
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