Meet Sue Mason, an inspirational finalist in the Romance Writers of America® 2008 Golden Heart® contest. A mother of two with a part-time job, she juggles family responsibilities with researching her ancestry and writing, and yet she’s working on her fourth manuscript.
Read on to learn more about Sue, her writing and her life in Ontario, Canada.
Since Sue’s a self-professed Noraholic, anyone leaving a comment for Sue on July 11 will be entered in a drawing for a copy of Angels Fall by Nora Roberts.
What led you to write romances?
I’ve always loved romance novels. But once I had my two children, I stopped reading for quite some time. As most mothers out there know, all you want to do with any spare time is SLEEP. But gradually once the kids had gained a bit more independence, I started reading again (or should I say, I managed to stay awake long enough to read. LOL.)
One day at a second hand store, I picked up a couple of used paperbacks, one of them by an author I had never read before: Nora Roberts! I LOVED it! And I confess I became a raving Noraholic! I read anything by her I could. Her books sparked the creative urge to start writing again—something I hadn’t done since my teens.
When did you begin work on
your first romance manuscript?
I think I started my first manuscript about eight years ago. It started out just as a series of scenes, which I eventually linked together (rather badly) into a book. It took over two years to complete. Needless to say, I knew nothing about writing at this point, so that manuscript will definitely stay under the bed.
I am now about two-thirds through my fourth manuscript, tentatively called Threads of a Tapestry. My third book, Wyndermere House, is a finalist in this year’s Golden Heart Contest for Inspirational Romance, which has been the highlight of my writing career so far.
As far as a writing background goes, I really have none, except a grade six teacher who told me I had talent and should write a book! Which I did as a teen, and got my first rejection!
What led you to write for the inspirational market?
I started reading quite a few inspirational romances from Harlequin’s Steeple Hill Love Inspired line—just out of curiosity—and I really enjoyed them. I discovered from different articles I’d read that the market was huge for inspirationals, so I decided to try one. I also really liked that idea of combining the search for a soul mate with a person’s faith journey. The overall messages in these books are wonderful and, as the title suggests, inspiring.
With a part-time job, family and interesting hobbies
vying for your attention, how do you carve out
time for writing in your busy schedule?
This is indeed a challenge. Sometimes I get so sidetracked by my other passion, my family genealogy search, that I forget to write. The genealogy does tie in to writing a bit though, because I take all my research and write it up in a non-fiction account of what I’ve found. I’m hoping to organize it all into one big family history book for generations to come.
So once I get a little burned out on the genealogy, I turn back to my writing. Mostly I find time to write in the afternoons before the kids get home from school and a little bit right after supper.
How do you deal with the solitary aspects writing?
Do you have a critique partner/group?
Are you active in your local RWA chapter?
Do you attend conferences?
Yes to all of the above. I now have a critique partner and am enjoying the process of sharing my work with someone very much. Before I sent Wyndermere House to the Golden Heart contest, no one but me had read it at all. I realize now what a handicap that was and how valuable it is to have another opinion.
I am a member of the Toronto Romance Writers and try to attend as many meetings as possible. Though I don’t have a lot of spare time, I did help out with the chapter’s annual Golden Opportunity contest last year, which helped me get to know some of the people better. This year I am again helping to judge the contest.
As far as conferences go, I have only been to one so far. That was two years ago in Ottawa, Ontario (our nation’s capital,) and it was fantastic. It’s how I first met some Harlequin authors, a Harlequin editor and a New York agent. I was amazed and inspired. This fall I am planning on attending this conference again.
How do you deal with the hills
and valleys of a writer’s life?
Like everyone else, sometimes I get a little discouraged by the rejections. But what I try to do is learn something from them, take that little nugget of knowledge and apply it to my work. This is a very subjective business, and the reality is that not everyone will like your writing. As a reader I understand this because I am quite picky in what I read. But the beauty of it all is that someone one day will love your work, if you persevere.
What encouragement would you offer
others on the road to publication?
I would just say that if writing is indeed your passion, just keep at it. And keep trying to learn as you go along. Everything you learn will enhance your skill and one day, you, too, may become a published author.
For me, I’ve realized that even if my work is never published, that’s not the important issue. The writing is. And if I ever do get a hard copy of one of my books in my hand, that will be the icing on the cake.
Leave a comment for Sue:
Have a question for Sue? Want to know more about her writing process, her stories or her genealogy research? Leave a comment. She’ll be dropping by throughout the day.
On Word Press blogs, the comment link is found
at the top of the post by the title.
Anyone leaving a comment for Sue on July 11 will be entered in a drawing for a copy of Angels Fall by Nora Roberts.
Congratulations to Maureen McGowan, winner of the drawing.
Learn more about Sue:
Susan Anne Mason
Her blog, Sue Mason’s Blog: http://www.suemasonsblog. com