Monday, October 4, 2010

Congrats to our own Mae Nunn!

What does it take to be a writer?
One thing: the willingness to sit down in a chair and create a story and then the courage to listen to learned people who advise you where to make changes, the heart to make the changes they suggest – even when you wish you didn’t have to, and then the guts to submit. Guts like Mae Nunn has.

What does it take to be a writer?
All the above and more. An organization called American Christian Fiction Writers has an award they give to honor gutsy people. The award is called the Carol. First, who is Carol? She is Carol Johnson, the editor who discovered Janette Oke and gave readers of Christian Inspirationals something to aspire too. The Carol is important because it’s our equivalent to the Newberry, the Edgar, and the RITA. This year one of the the winning books is The Texas Ranger's Family, a Love Inspired contempory.
What did you feel the moment your name was called as a winner?
I didn't have the pleasure of attending the conference this year and I thought the awards ceremony was on Saturday night as usual. When I didn't hear from anybody that night or all day Sunday I just assumed I hadn't won. Imagine my annoyance late Sunday night when my phone started to ring! Since I had to be at work at 6am the next morning I was already asleep, so I just hit the "ignore" button on my cell phone. Boy, was I surprised when I listened to my voice mails and read my texts Monday at 4am! I must have squealed like somebody had stepped on my tail because my husband got out of bed and poked his head into the bathroom to see what was wrong. I told him everything was very right. MY BOOK WON!

What do you feel the moment your friend Mae’s name called as a winner? (contributed by Missy Tippens)
When Mae Nunn asked me to accept the Carol Award for her should she win, I was honored and accepted. She sent me a list of the people she would want to thank and asked me to call after the ceremony. I assured her I would text her as soon as they announced the category. So I went to the awards ceremony prepared...but not prepared for having to go on stage in front of over 600 people! When they announced A Texas Ranger's Family as the winner, my heart nearly pounded out of my chest! I somehow made it onto the stage, made a quick comment about not being Mae--thus no hat and no boots --and shared her words of thanks. Mae thanked our Publisher, Steeple Hill, for believing in her work, her wonderful editor, Melissa Endlich, who makes her a better writer, and the Board and officers of ACFW for creating and maintaining an organization where Christian writers are thriving. I texted Mae as soon as I got back to the table. Then tried calling her afterwards. I didn't hear from her until Monday morning, when she woke me up. She had thought the ceremony was Saturday night like previous years and had gone to bed thinking I had forgotten to call because she hadn't won. :) So she was more than thrilled to get her messages on Monday morning and find out she won!

Mae, what number published book is this?
A Texas Ranger's family was my 6th book, and the first of a three part series (Her Forever Family/April 2010 and A Season for Family/November 2010) about young siblings separated by the family court system when their mother is killed by their abusive father in a fit of rage. The three stories are about how kids handle separation and loss very differently and how it impacts them as adults.

What made this book an award winner?
This book had a big cast and several settings even though it was a "short" contemporary. It involved themes of discovery, forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation and acceptance all in one story. Throw in a Texas Ranger hero, a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist heroine, a goth teen, a meddling grandmother and a Texas-size BBQ cook off and you can see where there might have been something for every reader to enjoy!

What are your writing habits (hours/pages a day... research tips, etc).
When I'm able to write full time my goal is five pages a day/25 pages a week. When I can only write part time I have to increase pages per day to meet goals. It all comes down to math and how many pages I have to produce in xx number of months to meet a deadline. Also, I'm a one draft writer so when I'm done writing (first day) and editing (next day) my pages won't change much more. When I'm finished with the book, I'm finished with the book. At least until I get that revision letter from my Editor!Then, feel free to share anything else we didn't think to ask :)
Since I mentioned revisions, let me add a word about that subject. I'll go out on a limb and say most writers hate to revise. We'd all like our work to be perfect as it is, so the revision process sometimes seem like unnecessary punishment. But I've learned to read the revision notes, put them away for a few days while I pout privately, whine to my family and friends and then consider where my editor might actually have some valid points. Then I sit down to the job, systematically go through the manuscript making changes as requested, strengthening areas that are weak and standing firm on what I believe needs no alteration. (Pick your battles carefully but do speak your peace when it's critical to your story!) I'm less confident when I send the manuscript in the second time but when I get that email or call from my editor telling me how much more she likes the revised book, I'm always grateful for her guidance and the additional hours I was able to use to polish the story. And, yes, A Texas Ranger's Family went through this process! Thank goodness for that!

Congratulations!

4 comments:

Lynn Dove said...

Congratulations, Mae! Truly a great honour!

Susan Sleeman said...

Congrats, Mae! How exciting and wonderful for you.

Project Journal said...

: O

YAY!!! I love that Mae is getting the credit she deserves : )

I speak so highly of her. She is truly a blessing in my life, like so many of the LI and other Christian authors I have had the opportunity to "meet" through blogging.

Congratulations once again, Mae!!! Love ya!
Hannah

PamelaTracy said...

Yeah, Mae. I so enjoyed getting to do the interview.