Meet Writer Susan Hollaway

Susan Hollaway writes inspirational romance, devotionals, and whatever else God lays on her heart. She’s currently working on her first novel-length romance.

Susan met her personal hero on a blind date, and they married eight months later. Her romantic hubby remembers their anniversaries, both the day they met and the day they wed. They will be married 20 years this year. They live in Kansas with their teenage daughter and their daughter’s two dogs, a rat terrier named Buddy and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Katy.

When not writing, Susan is busy being the keeper of her home, homeschooling her daughter, and helping with their 4-H club and her daughter’s many activities. Susan’s hobbies and interests include reading, spending time with her family, visiting with friends, reading, crocheting when cold weather comes around and reading. She would like to enjoy knitting, but she thinks the knitting gene must have skipped her generation, going directly to her daughter.

Join me as we learn about more about Susan and her writing journey.

(Look at the bottom of the post for multiple drawing prizes offered.)

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Susan Hollaway

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Susan’s Journey Begins

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•Like so many, you dreamed of being a writer for many years. When did you decide to turn your dream into reality, and what motivated you to do so?

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I’d never taken the leap, as I was afraid of failing. My hubby and daughter encouraged me for years to write, but I fought it.

Not quite a year ago, the desire became so strong I couldn’t get away from it. My daughter advised me, “You can’t fail if you don’t try, but you can’t succeed if you don’t try either.” Ouch! She threw my own words back at me. So, I began to pray about it. I asked God to show me in no uncertain terms what to do. If it was not in His will for me to write, then to completely take the desire from me; if it was in His will for me, then please show me the billboard effect (in my face).

Well, He sure did. I knew at that point, writing was something I had to do. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell an agent or editor that. :-)) I went, a bit nervously, to my hubby and daughter and said I felt God was asking me to write for Him. “We know!” they said. “What took you so long to figure it out?” Needless to say, I have their full support.

My desire is to write Christian inspirational romance glorifying to God. I want to write stories Christians and non-Christians alike can read that will entertain as well as share the message of God’s love and how it can make a difference in one’s life.

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•You worked on your local community’s newspaper when taking high school journalism and enjoyed seeing your name in print. What did your experience as a journalism student teach you that has helped you as a writer today?

The things that come immediately to mind are persevering through a story even when it gets tough, meeting deadlines, editing, and proofreading.

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Susan’s Inspiration

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•You’re hard at work on your first inspirational romance. Where did you get the idea for the story? Has it been tumbling around in the back of your mind for years, or did you receive a sudden flash of inspiration and run to your keyboard to capture the creative flow?

Once I decided to write, an idea came to me. So, I think more of a sudden inspiration with a lot of tweaking along the way. Romance novels typically always have a “happily ever after” ending, which is why we love to read them. But I would also like to include real life issues and struggles in my stories. We all have them; my hope is I can show that, but also show how God can change hearts and minds when we follow Him.

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Susan’s High Points

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•You’re in the early stages of your journey and have yet to type The End. Even so, I’m sure there have been times when the thrill of pouring forth your first story tasted so sweet. What have been the biggest blessings you’ve experienced so far?

I would have to say it really blesses me when God teaches me (or reminds me) of a lesson I need to learn through the very story I’m writing. He has blessed me so much since I accepted that I “need” to write. It has given me peace.

One of my biggest blessings is the gift of the people God has placed in my life since I started writing. It has been absolutely amazing! He has put some of the most incredible writers and new friends in my path, and the blessings have spilled forth … pressed down, shaken together and running over. Another blessing is receiving support from old friends who don’t seem shocked when I tell them I’m writing. To old and new friends – you all know who you are – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a blessing indeed!

Finally, I have to say that it’s SO exciting and a blessing when an idea seems to flow, I get a lot accomplished, and my story seems to be going in the direction I want. I think those “woo-hoo!” moments are special blessings God gives us just when we need them most.

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Susan’s Low Spots

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I remember the early days working on my first story. I’d get swept away in the joy of creation, but all of a sudden, a wave of doubt would wash over me. How do you deal with those days when the words won’t come or you’re feeling discouraged and wonder why you embarked on this journey?

I’ve certainly had some of those. Someone asked me not too long ago, “How’s your writing going?” My response was, “Well, it depends on which day you ask.” 🙂 I have days where it goes great and others where I wonder what makes me think I can write at all. Then I remember God prompted me on this journey and gave me the much-needed kick in the pants to get started. I need to stay with it, even when it’s difficult. During those times, I’ll take a break and usually talk to God about it. Occasionally, I’ll instant message or call one of those wonderful writer friends I was telling you about, and they usually set me straight. Usually, God teaches me a lesson (whether it has to do with writing or not).

If I can’t get away from the feelings of discouragement, I’ll write about how I’m feeling. And can you believe it – on occasion, a blog entry or a devotional will come out of it. That’s probably because I end up digging in God’s Word to figure out what’s up with me. Am I too tired? Worked for too long at it? Do I have a bad attitude? And then there are days it just won’t flow and I don’t know why. When that happens, I step away and take a breather.

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Susan’s Partners on the Journey

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•Writing is often a solitary endeavor, but you were wise and joined a writers’ group soon after you began writing. How did you come to be involved in American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and KS Writers Inc. (KWI), and what aspects of the groups have you found to be the most helpful?

It was another of those blessings through people I talked about earlier. I felt strongly led to share my “secret of wanting to be a writer” with a friend from the YMCA. Once I shared with her, she introduced me to her writer daughter who has become a dear friend. Not long after, she introduced me to KWI.

Due mostly to scheduling conflicts, I had a hard time making it to meetings. But I’ve finally got that worked out and have been able to attend more regularly. KWI is an eclectic group of writers; we receive advice, comments, and experiences from writers from many different genres and walks of life. There are both non-published writers and published authors in the group. There’s generally a program at each meeting, which helps us improve the craft of writing. I’m very grateful for this group and to those who have offered their wisdom, advice, and encouragement to me.

More recently, a new friend who is a member of ACFW introduced me to the group. She invited me to their regional meeting. I went and was hooked! It has been a huge blessing to me. Everyone is so encouraging and helpful! It’s something I look forward to with anticipation every month. I have been encouraged, prayed for, and mentored in so many ways. I am SO blessed to be a part of this group, and I praise God for it.

There’s an ACFW conference every year as well, which I hear is incredible, but I’ve not had the opportunity to attend yet. Someday perhaps, Lord willing. Our regional group meets monthly, but I also receive the wisdom of thousands of writers over the organization’s main e-loop. The member’s willingness to encourage, pray, and offer their knowledge to others is amazing. I have gained true friends, not just fellow writers.

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Susan’s Journey Continues

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•What are your plans once you finish your first story? Will you enter the manuscript in contests or dive right into a second story?

Hmm. Good question. I’ll probably seek the advice of others. I’ve already been thinking about the story line of my next book. It would be the second of three books set in the same town with new characters introduced.

But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. Entering book one in a contest would be a good place to start, but I’ve got to reach “the end” first, don’t I? 🙂 I guess I’ll just see when I get there. Suggestions, anyone?

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Five Fun Facts About Susan, the Writer

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~ I have to try and get my housework done before I start writing, because if I don’t – the housework or writing might not get done as it should. I feel more at ease and write better if I have my “ducks in a row” first.

~ Once I start writing – if it’s going well – I lose track of time and am not aware of the world around me.

~ I enjoy learning about the craft of writing.

~ I can get SO lost in a good book – fiction or non-fiction – that I don’t even realize sometimes when someone else has come into the room. They may have been there for a while, and then when I seem surprised that they’re there … well, I usually get the eye roll thing and a chuckle.

~I don’t get how football could be more interesting that writing, reading a good book, or even watching a romantic movie. I have to say that the whole football thing – people knocking each other down and crashing into one another over a silly ball –  completely eludes me. 🙂

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Fun Facts About Susan, the Person

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~ I am a bit of a klutz. Sort of an accident waiting to happen, one might say. I usually spill or drop something – and if it’s food or drink, usually on myself.

~ I love a good romantic movie – old and new alike. Hallmark movies are some of my faves.

~ I snort when I laugh. I don’t mean to – it just sort of happens. And I love a good chat with a friend. Well, okay, I don’t even have to know them that well. I can have a perfectly good chat with a total stranger.

~ I love being a stay-at-home wife/mom and homeschooling our precious daughter. It’s a calling from the Lord as well as my joy, privilege, and honor.

~ I love autumn! Even though I’m supposed to act like an adult now, I still think it’s cool to pile up the fallen leaves and run and jump in them. I love going for a walk and hearing the leaves crunch under my feet. And the colors! Enough said.

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Susan’s Question for You

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•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Susan. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. Now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so fire away.

What is it about reading an inspirational romance novel that you like the most? What keeps you coming back for more?

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Learn More About Susan

Visit her blog: Susan’s Sampler

Friend her on Facebook: Susan Hollaway

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Leave a Comment for Two Chances to Win

To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.

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My Regular Drawing

My next drawing will take place September 30th. The winner will receive a silver necklace bearing the word Courage, which is something anyone embarking on her writing journey needs.

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Courage Necklace

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by September 30th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On October 1st, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.

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You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and September 30th. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

On October 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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21 Responses to Meet Writer Susan Hollaway

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Susan! It’s great to have you as my guest and to have the opportunity to learn more about you and your writing.

    In general, I like to read inspirational romances because I know I’m going to enjoy a well written story that incorporates the values important to me. Specifically, I like witnessing the challenges, growth and joy the characters experience as they seek and find love, both the love of the Lord and the love of the special one He has for them.

  2. Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog, Keli! It is indeed an honor and a blessing.

  3. christa says:

    Beautiful necklace and great information!

  4. Hi, Christa! Thanks for stopping by Keli’s blog and taking the time to read my interview.

  5. Kathleen L. Maher says:

    Keli, what a wonderful blog. I am so glad to have the opportunity to visit here. And hey, Susie! Thanks for inviting me. AS one of the folks from ACFW who’ve had the pleasure to “meet” you, it was so sweet to read how much ACFW has blessed you, too. Write on!
    : )

  6. Thanks, Kathy! You’re definitely one of those blessings I spoke of in the interview. And thanks for taking the time to visit and check it out.

    Keli has a wonderful blog — actually more than one… and a website. Take time to check them all out.

    blessings!

  7. Linda Henderson says:

    What a lovely interview.

  8. Thank you, Linda. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Have a blessed day!

  9. Roxie Carlton says:

    Enjoyed the interview. Can’t wait to see the final product, Susie!

  10. Great interview, Susie! I think seeing new people explore their writing abilities and all the stories in their head is my favorite part of being in KWI. I’m glad we met! Can’t wait to read the finished product.

  11. Hey, Susie!! Awesome interview. What do I like about inspirational romance? A good inspirational romance pulls on the heartstrings, it’s emotional and real, but I also like quirky humor.

    Many blessings in your writing.

  12. Hey, Roxie! Thanks for stopping by Keli’s blog and taking the time to read my interview. Thanks for the kind words!

  13. Morgan,
    Thanks so much! I’m so glad we’ve met too. I appreciate your encouragement so much and I can’t wait for next month’s meeting! Should be awesome!

  14. Thanks SO much, Renee! I also like a good snort, — er…I mean laugh — when reading a good inspirational romance. =)

  15. We have something in comon. I didn’t want to write. I’m retired. But God had other idea’s for me. I originaly wanted to write Christian books. I started to write a book called “Answers to Comon Bible Qestions.” God steared me away from that. He put into my heart to write adventure novels and subtly promote Christian values. My third book is just going to the publisher. My books have passionate romances but my characters all have high moral standards. My advice, Let God lead you. Good luck and God Bless you in your eforts.

  16. Thank you, Angelo. I appreciate your comments. How encouraging!

    Sometimes God surprises us, doesn’t he?

  17. Quilt Lady says:

    What a great interview! May God Bless you with your writing. Just always remember all things happen for a reason and that is how I look at life.

  18. Thank you, Quilt Lady! I appreciate your kind words and blessings. I understand what you mean. I guess I look at it as “obeying without my own expectations.” I’m going to be obedient, write, and leave the results up to God. He has so much to teach us; we just have to be open to His teaching, don’t we? In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this wonderful journey. Thank you for taking the time to read my interview. Blessings to you!

  19. Ralene says:

    Hey Susie!

    Susie is def one of my favorite people I’ve met at the ACFW regional meeting. She is such a joy and an encouragement. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her better through Keli’s interview!

    What do I like about inspirational romance? I can only echo what other’s have said. It pulls at the heartstrings and I know it’s God-inspired so it won’t be full of some of that secular stuff I distaste.

    Love ya, Susie!

  20. Hey, Ralene! Awww! You’re one of my fave people that I’ve met too! I can’t wait to hear all about ACFW Conference and your experiences. Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek at my interview. Your encouragement and support are such a blessing to me, friend. I love ya’ too! Big hug!

  21. I wanted to take a moment to thank you again, Keli, for inviting me as a guest on your blog. It’s been a wonderful experience and I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read my interview and/or leave a comment. You all have truly touched my heart. Each one of you has been a wonderful blessing God has seen fit to bestow upon me. God is so MORE than good …. He is beyond AWESOME! So, dear friends, as I draw this to a close, here’s my hope for you. May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Godspeed and blessings,
    Susan Hollaway

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