Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Stephanie Prichard: The Fussy Writer (with Giveaway)

Stephanie Prichard – The Fussy Writer

Please welcome Stephanie to the Mine—can I hear some applause? She’s talking about writing Stranded with her husband and her life as an author. Now don’t wander off…stick around for the great interview. Oh, and leave a comment…you may just win a copy of her book.
Now, let’s get started!

RB: Hi, Stephanie, welcome to the Mine. I hear you wrote a book. ;) Can you tell us about it?

SP: I co-authored Stranded: A Novel with my husband, Don, an experience with an interesting beginning. Because Don is dyslexic, he is not a reader and dislikes writing, but driving to and from work one week he thought about what might be one of the worst things a man could face that would severely test his faith in God. He developed the idea into a story and began to write it down in his spare time. Five months later, he suffered a stroke and lost all ability to read. However, he was so excited about his budding novel that he continued to work on it and eventually learned how to read again. Over the next several years he rewrote it four times, then invited me to join him.

RB: What an awesome story. He sounds like an amazing man. It sounds as if he had a burning desire to see his book come to life…as I say it. How did you become involved and did co-authoring affect the book that much?

SP: At first I was only going to correct the spelling and grammar for him. But then I fell in love with the story, and we began to discuss how to improve it. We read how-to books, got critiques, and spent our vacations attending writers’ conferences. Wow, there was so much to learn! It took us ten years before we felt ready to publish Stranded. With all that helpful input, I took on rewriting the book—or as Don likes to put it, performed major surgery on his poor baby Frankenstein!—while he peered over my shoulder and gave feedback. Meanwhile, he kept busy by writing the drafts for the next two sequels.

RB: I can relate to what you’re saying. It’s amazing what just a little bit of training or education can do for a new writer. A critique group or creative writing course can teach someone so much! In your case, what kinds of changes did all that learning bring to Stranded?

SP: The storyline pretty much stayed the same, but we had to learn how to bring our characters to life. That pretty much became my strength, while plot remained Don’s. One change requiring a major rewrite was shifting from omniscient viewpoint to third-person viewpoint.

RB: Every writer has portions of their book that give them fits. The plot, characters, beginning, climax…it seems as if something always trips us up somewhere. Which part of your book did you struggle with the most?

SP: Easy—the ending. Initially, Don had Eve primarily responsible for saving the four castaways. “No, no!” screamed a professional—“it has to be the protagonist, Jake!” So we rewrote the ending with Jake clearly the hero, but the story finished with the four castaways in three different locations. “No, no!” our editor shrieked. “They have to be together! Do you want the reader mad at you?” Hoo, goodness no! So we worked hard to fix that. Trouble is, because of cause-and effect, one change often requires dozens of other changes, which in turn cause more changes. That’s a lot of rewriting! Their advice was good, however, and we’re happy with how the book ends now. (No reader-rage so far, anyway!)

RB: I see you’ve learned how to take advice. It’s hard sometimes for new writers to change their “babies.” I’ve discovered the key with any advice, whether it be from an editor, critique partner, or best friend, is to always stay true to your message. Everything else will come out in the wash. J
Now that your published, what’s your biggest challenge?

SP: Finding the time to write. Both Don and I are retired, so you’d think time wouldn’t be a problem, but it is. We’ve cut out a lot of activities, but we don’t want to neglect our health—both physical and spiritual—or our family, friends, and church, so we reserve room for them. By the time we eat supper, we’re tired and want to relax. On top of it all, I’m a fussy writer and tortoises and snails leave me in the dust.

RB: Oh, I understand your dilemma! I finally scheduled my “writing” time onto my work schedule. (I’m also a pharmacist.) I had to do that so I wouldn’t spend ALL of my time on the computer. My husband supports me 210% but he’s not on my computer screen. He does get lonely.
So when you’re not working on writing or your novel, what do you do for relaxation and fun?

SP: Read, of course! About once a week I play a board game called Cities & Knights with three friends. Most of the time, I end the day by watching Netflix with Don, usually a crime or suspense series. We love discussing how the screen writers made the plot successful (or not).

RB: My husband and I talk about my books, marketing, fishing, and his apologetics. I’m trying to talk him into writing a book for teens. LOL I may yet succeed.
Do you have any advice for the new writer?

SP: I download a fair amount of novels onto my Kindle, and I don’t finish reading half of them because they’re so poorly written. My advice? Get help! Read how-to books, attend conferences, pay for online classes, participate in a good critique group, join online/FB author groups. I am so glad Don and I didn’t publish our book ten years ago when we thought it was so good … or five years ago … or even one year ago. I suspect your novel is a really good one—so invest in it! Learn how to become a top-notch surgeon and don’t settle for a botched-up baby Frankenstein! The wait is worth it.

RB: Very good advice! I have to agree about the Kindle downloads. I’m right there with you. Thanks for joining us on the Mine, Stephanie. And keep writing!

SP: Thank you, Renee, for inviting me to the Diamond Mine! I’d love to give away an e-book of Stranded: A Novel to one of your readers who answers the question, “If you knew you were going to be stranded on an island, what one item would you take with you?”


One e-copy of Stranded, A Novel by Don& Stephanie Prichard will be awarded to one eligible blog comment on 7/15/2015 by random draw.
Include your email address with your comment below. 
(5 comments required to validate giveaway, RDW members are ineligible to participate in giveaways.)

About the Book:

First they had to survive the island … then each other … then their rescuer.

All Marine Corps reservist Jake Chalmers wants is to give his dying wife a last, romantic cruise to the Philippines. Unable to save her in a mass murder aboard ship, he washes ashore a jungle island, where he discovers three other survivors. Heartbroken that he failed to save his wife, he is determined not to fail these helpless castaways.

Federal prosecutor Eve Eriksson rescues a young girl and her elderly great-aunt from the same ship. They badly need Jake's survival skills, but why is he so maddeningly careful? She needs to hurry home to nail a significant career trial. And, please, before Jake learns her secret that she's responsible for his wife's death.

About the Author:

Stephanie is an army brat who lived in many countries around the world and loved it. She met her husband at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she majored in English/Literature. She and Don have lived in Indianapolis, IN, for forty years, and in retirement have turned to co-authoring novels now that their three children are busy raising a beautiful crop of grandchildren for them.

Snail Picture: credit Roman Dekan


Rebekah Millet said...

Stephanie - Thank you so much for sharing your husband's story. So inspirational! Stranded sounds like a real nail biter. Can't wait to dive in.

Steph said...

Interestingly enough, Rebekah, my husband suffered a second stroke 10 years later. This time he permanently lost half his vision. He hopes this isn't going to be a once-every-ten-years event!

Erin Unger said...

This sounds like a great story. I would want to bring a water purifier if I was stranded.

Steph said...

Hmmm, never thought of that possibility, Erin--good one!

Gail Kittleson said...

A water purifier - what a great idea, Erin. I'd have to second that suggestion. Thanks Steph, for your story. It's great your husband can still plot stories and that you two work together so well. Keep it up!

Steph said...

He's about four stories ahead of me already, Gail, so sometimes a partnership between a tortoise and a hare does have its challenges!

Renee Blare said...

I had a comment from Roy Lopshire on my Facebook page. He said Lighter. :)

Renee Blare said...

James Blare said a yacht on my Facebook page, LOL I told him that was cheating!

Steph said...

Ha ha ha! Wouldn't you know it was two GUYS who came up with those answers! Guess I should modify the question to be "what item you can put in your pocket"!

Renee Blare said...

That may be a good caveat! LOL

Renee Blare said...

The winner of Stranded is Roy Lopshire! Send your email to faithwalker007@gmail.com and I'll forward it onward! Congratulations, Roy!!!