I don’t know how you learn, but I learn from others. I read their books, observe their actions and on occasion I have opportunities to engage them in a conversation. Now, my chats may be face-to-face, written, wired or wireless, but an education none the less.
The paths indie writers follow to pursue their craft are as varied as writers themselves. I value learning from those who have led the way and those who have joined me in this journey.
I had an opportunity to interview the award-winning, self-published author, Lorna Woods. I believe you will find her experiences, motivation and insights interesting and helpful.
For Lorna, life has been her education. Independently, she studied homeopathic medicine and later, with John G. Lake Ministries, she became a Divine Healing Technician. She is also a certified teacher with Liberty Savard Ministries.
In 2004, Lorna and her husband began mission trips into Northern Thailand and China during an eight year period. In this time, she and her husband either led or participated with healing teams on eight short-term trips into Southeast Asia.
She studied writing short stories through a correspondence course in the 1950s and later completed two online writing seminars offered by Margie Lawson.
Lorna published two short stories and two articles in 1994. She ventured into self-publishing with her first memoir Caught in a Cult in 1994 and later published a second memoir I’m Living My Destiny.
She explored traditional publishing and attended Oregon Christian Writers’ conferences. Lorna concluded, digital self-publishing would allow her to publish on her schedule and before she was no longer able. She decided to create novels with the theme of God working powerfully in and through the lives of people.
Lorna lives with Ed, her husband, and their two cats on the Oregon Coast. In addition to writing, she and her husband continue to teach and minister divine healing in their church and community.
Lorna, thank you for sharing your writing time with me. How would you describe yourself as a writer?
I’m an indie author of ten contemporary Christian fiction e-books and one memoir. My novel Storm Tossed Heart won a bronze award in the My Book Therapy Frasier contest. I don’t enter contests anymore. I write, edit, edit, write, publish and attempt to market.
Can you point to any one experience or moment when you were smitten with a desire to become a writer?
When I was five years old, in bed recovering from rheumatic fever, I drew stick figures of a red-haired woman with a cape flying to rescue people from their beds during a flood. I drew balloons over their heads like a comic book. I told my mom what to write in the balloons.
So young with a serious illness, a frightening time for you and your mother. Interesting how you remember the role story telling played in your recovery. I’m curious, did you have red hair?
No. My hair was dark brown, but in the direct sunlight one could see some red highlights. My mother had remarked on how the red showed in the sunlight which made me think red hair was special. Since then, I learned that some children who are attacked with rheumatic fever sometimes develop a red tinge in their hair.
At five, my battle with rheumatic fever was a significant event in my life. I spent 30 days in the hospital followed by a long period of bed rest at home. My mother wrote and read stories for me about a sick little girl who had to stay in bed and a fairy who lived in an apple tree outside her window. I played stories with my paper dolls and drew my comic book. There was no television in Wrangell, Alaska in the late 1940s.
As I look back, I think I’ve always been a storyteller. Before I wrote, I remember telling myself stories while I bounced a ball, viewed pictures of fine art or worked puzzles. I’d make up stories and had my friends play the parts. Some of my friends weren’t readers. If I liked a book, I’d tell them the story and they’d listen to every word.
A sad event motivated me to write my first typewritten story. I was eleven when my dad accidentally ran over our collie. The first and only time I saw Dad cry. My Dog Tinka was about her life and death.
At twelve, I discovered Science Fiction and wrote my first novel. The story was of a teenage girl who fell in love with a teenage boy, who had landed his flying saucer in her backyard. Together they flew into outer space. I wrote every night on my mom’s manual Royal typewriter so I could find out what happened next. I’d rush to school the next day and read the new pages of my story to my classmates.
Lorna, those are delightful memories and you chose a story in the romance genre at age twelve. What motivates you to write today?
I write because I love to write. Stories are and have always been a part of me. I have so many stories to tell. I write about the true power of God working in and through people, in fiction form, to entertain, challenge and inspire.
Who makes up your target audience?
Readers who like to read romantic mystery/suspense with the supernatural power of God at work in people’s lives. I assume they are most often Christians. I have mostly women readers although I know of men who have read and liked my books. I’m not trying to hook non-Christians into reading something they would not choose to read if they had known what it was. Those readers are often angry and feel they’ve been deceived.
Do you outline your story before you begin or make it up as you go?
Both. I scribble a basic outline and characters by hand in a notebook. Then I write scenes on the computer (I’ve never learned to type the way one is supposed to) expand, change and add twists to the story as I go.
Where do you get your story ideas or themes?
I’m usually inspired by my life experiences, or the experiences of others. Many of the incidents in my stories, natural and supernatural, have actually happened.
As a self-published author, what advice would you give to others who are on the path to be indie writers?
Research what others have done (Search different indie authors online and you’ll find much advice.) and decide what you can do. Join a critique group and/or partner with another writer who writes in or reads your genre. Read and critique each other’s work. Read lots of books, keep improving how you write, and learn to edit your work. If you can, go to writers’ conferences. The advice I followed from an indie author was to sell my e-books for 99 cents and write lots of them. I’m not getting rich, but I am getting read.
Lorna, thank you for sharing a bit of yourself and your writing life with me.
Lorna provided this link to her Facebook Author Page:
Here is the link to Lorna’s e-books which are all sold exclusively on Amazon kindle. She has one book, Hideaway, also available in print through Create Space and Amazon books. The following is a link to her books:
Warning: Near the bottom of the page on this link is a fiction book written by a Lorna Wood titled Family Values. Lorna Woods did not write it. The author, Lorna Wood, writes homosexual romance.