We are excited to announce our latest line-up at Ask A New Author! Our talented new panel of columnists comes to us from indie publisher Ashland Creek Press. We would like to give a big welcome to Mindy Mejia (THE DRAGON KEEPER), Olivia Chadha (BALANCE OF FRAGILE THINGS), and Jean Ryan (SURVIVAL SKILLS). They are here to answer your writing and publishing questions... how to navigate into publishing, how to address a writing challenge you might be having, or to just share advice from authors who have been through it all to get where they are today. Read on to learn more about these author and Ashland Creek Press.
How Ask a New Author Works:
Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. On the 1st Monday of each month, we will select 2-3 of the best questions for our guest authors to answer. Each author shares their advice for us to publish later that month. Out of the 2-3 selected answers, each person will be entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. We will select one winner per month at random and we will announce it the winner the column
Now, let's meet our new New Authors:
Mindy Mejia is a fiction writer, finance manager, weekend jogger, wife, and mother of two. She writes compelling, plot-driven stories layered over larger societal issues. Her work has appeared in Things Japanese: A Collection of Poetry and Prose, THIS Literary Magazine, Dime Stories, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, THE DRAGON KEEPER, tells the story of a zookeeper’s fight to save the animal she loves, even as her own life crumbles around her. Mindy lives in St. Paul and is currently working on a murder mystery set in rural southern Minnesota. Learn more about Mindy at www.MindyMejia.com.
What Mindy would like to share with aspiring writers...
The most important thing for any new writer to remember is simply to not give up. You must have faith in the darkness. As a guest columnist, I hope I can help other writers keep the faith.
What was going through Mindy's mind when she found out she was going to get published...
When I got the email that Ashland Creek Press was interested in publishing THE DRAGON KEEPER, I was eating dinner with my best friend, husband, and one-year-old son. The first thing I thought was that it was another rejection letter. I’d convinced myself that ACP would call if they were interested and email if they weren’t. My heart sank when I saw the email, but then I read it and started jumping up and down and screaming. I ran around the kitchen hugging everyone again and again, while my son giggled and hugged people right behind me. He thought it was a great game.
I began my professional writing career with a stint in Los Angeles writing comic book scripts. Balance of Fragile Things is my first novel, and some of my other works have appeared in Pinyon, Damselfly Press, and Every Day Fiction. I hold a Ph.D. from Binghamton University’s creative writing program and have taught writing at Binghamton University and the University of Colorado, Boulder where I currently live. I was born in Illinois, raised in New Jersey, and grew up in Southern California. My family is of mixed Latvian/German and Indian descent. Balance of Fragile Things centers on a multiethnic family of Latvian and Sikh heritage, the Singhs, who attempt to assimilate into their upstate New York village as their community suffers from an environmental apocalypse. Learn more about the book here: http://www.ashlandcreekpress.com/books/balanceoffragilethings.html
What Olivia would like to share with aspiring writers...
I would love to share my insights into the writing and drafting process, my experience with conferences and approaching agents and publishers, my experiences in graduate writing programs, and whatever else may be useful to aspiring authors. I would also love to share my insights into those books that sit between genres, liminal works that are neither here nor there, that are important stories to tell and deserve a home.
What was going through Olivia's mind when she found out she was going to get published...
When Midge at Ashland Creek contacted me, I nearly fainted. And as soon as I realized that I was actually still breathing, I read and reread the email at least ten times to make sure that it was intended for me, and that it was saying what I thought it was saying. The first thing I actually “thought” after my discombobulation dissipated was, “how wonderful that I found a home for my novel!” I was so happy that my characters and their stories would have a chance to come to life in a reader’s mind. And excited at the chance to work with Midge and John and Ashland Creek Press, which is the perfect home for Balance of Fragile Things. Learning that a publisher saw quality in my novel enough to want to publish it really did solidify my identity as an author. I was always a writer, but from that moment onward I felt on so many levels, I could actually say it aloud with pride.
Jean Ryan, a native Vermonter, lives in Napa, California. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including Other Voices, Pleiades, The Summerset Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Blue Lake Review, Damselfly and Earthspeak. Nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, she has also published a novel, LOST SISTER. A collection of her short stories, SURVIVAL SKILLS, will be published by Ashland Creek Press in April 2013. Please visit her website at http://jean-ryan.com/
SURVIVAL SKILLS is a short story collection involving characters enveloped in the mysteries of the natural world and the animal kingdom. The stories were written over a period of several years. As they began to gel into a collection, I was able to understand what interests me most as a writer: nature and the vulnerability and interdependency of all living things.
What Jean would like to share with aspiring writers...
In participating in this column, I hope to offer encouragement to aspiring writers. Writers are uniquely challenged in they must remain open to the world around them, yet armored against rejections and other disappointments that accompany the writing life.
What was going through Jean's mind when she found out she was going to get published...
When I learned that Ashland Creek Press wanted to publish SURVIVAL SKILLS, my first reaction was overwhelming gratitude. I had approached other publishers and was told that no one was interested in short story collections. Midge and John at ACP were willing to take a chance on me and it was, and still is, an incomparable thrill. The earth-friendly philosophy of this press makes me especially proud to be part of it.
Would you like to be published? Maybe you are just curious about the process, or what it takes to get published? Here is your chance to ask any question to authors who have just broken the publishing barrier. Send your questions to email@example.com and we will pick the best 2-3 questions each month to feature in the column.
If your question is selected, you will be entered to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. We will give away one each month... so, ask away!