The year 2009 is a milestone maker for award-winning author Autumn Jordon. She enjoyed two highs she’d worked toward for a long time. First, she sold her Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® entry to The Wild Rose Press. Second, she went on to final in the GH. But that’s not all. TWRP bought a second title as well. Definitely a year Autumn will long remember.
Autumn lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, who supplies her with support and tons of laughs, and their Yorkshire Terrier and Irish Setter. When not at work or home, she can often be found scanning the new releases at Barnes and Noble, working at a church activity, or browsing an estate sale. Her favorite destinations farther from home are Vermont and Arizona where she enjoys hiking, golfing, horseback riding and learning the history of the areas. And no matter what Autumn is doing, she’s busy dreaming up ideas to put the characters of her romantic thrillers in grave danger.
Join me as we learn about more about Autumn and her journey to publication.
(Look at the bottom of the post for multiple drawing prizes offered.)
Autumn’s Journey Begins
•You served as a reporter and editor for your high school paper. How fitting that your first piece published nationally was in a newspaper. Please tell us about that experience, your prize and how the byline fueled your dream of being a novelist.
First, Keli. Thank you for asking me to be your guest.
I’ll never forget that evening. I’d entered an on-line contest for USA Today. The submission was for their on-going story. I went on-line to read the winning submission so that I could try again, and behold, I saw my entry posted. My husband raced into the room because he’d heard me squeal. A week later I received a baseball hat with USA Today on the crown. I still wear the cap on the golf course like a tiara.
•You completed five manuscripts in seven years. Impressive. Which story was your first, and how long had the characters been chatting away in your head?
My first story, titled A Diamond Affair, was a ball to write. I knew no rules. The hero and heroine, Allison and Clay, told me their stories and complaints and I put them on the page. Amazingly, I had written great dialogue, followed POV rules and had GMC, even though I didn’t even know what POV or GMC meant. My story was received pretty well in the Windy City contest, IMO. Now titled Baby, Don’t Change, it has finaled and won contests. If there is an editor or agent out there who’d like to see a great contemporary with an adorable sports hero, who looks awesome in a towel, and a smart, independent woman please email me. 🙂
•You’ve written both romantic thrillers as well as a Texas-set western contemporary. What is it you like about each of the sub-genres, and have you gravitated to one over the other?
I love reading both romantic suspense and romantic comedy, so it goes that I would love to write both. In my stories, both genres have elements of the other. In my romantic suspense novels, my heroes and heroines are humorous at times and their banter light. And in my contemporaries, there is often an element of suspense.
Autumn’s Milestone Moments
•Not too many weeks before RWA® was due to make the calls regarding the Golden Heart, you received a different call – The Call. The Wild Rose Press wanted to contract your entry, His Witness, since renamed Evil’s Witness. Each call story is unique and never fails to lift my spirits. Please share yours with all the sensory detail we writers love.
My ‘CALL’ came in the form of an email. I was on my lunch break. The subject line read: submission His Witness. I looked at that subject line for a full two minutes and then I slapped my laptop close. I was having a bad day at work (work with family <GRIN>) and I didn’t want to face a rejection. Bad day at work and a rejection equaled someone getting their head served on the copier tray among a bed of shredded documents.
I waited to open the email until later that night, after dinner, after dishes and after anything else I could think to do before facing the BIG R. Finally, I knew I had to face the denial and opened the email. The first word threw my heart into arrhythmia. “Congratulations.” Needless to say, my day ended on a high.
•On March 25th, you received another call, one over a thousand romance writers each year eagerly await. You were a 2009 GH finalist in the Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure category. How did you react to the exciting news from the RWA® board member on the other end of the line? Dance? Sing? Cry?
Lol. Here’s how it went down:
March 25, 2009 – 9:02 A.M
I’m late for work. Well, not really. I work for my family’s business. I don’t punch a time clock. I’m on call 24/7/365, but I’m usually in the office by 8:55 A.M. However, the night before my Irish Setter’s stomach decided it didn’t like what he ate and took its revenge out on the living room carpet. It was March. We’re in the Northeast, heating oil was still high, so opening windows was not a option.
The phone rings.
With my curling iron tangled in my hair, I scrabble for the phone. “Yes.”
“Good morning. I’m calling for Autumn Jordon.”
Oh, no. Just what I need. A telemarketer. Deep breathe. She’s only doing her job. The woman is not a burden on society, feeding off your tax paid dollars, I thought. Be nice. I conjured up my own customer relation voice and said, “Am she. How can I help you?”
“This is so and so…”
I’m really not listening anymore because, one, I’m just waiting for the opportunity to respond, “Oh gosh, you should’ve called me last week. My husband just bought me one. Or, I already gave to this organization. A Horace Grainger called. Do you know Horace?” And two, I’m trying to get my curling iron out of my hair, and three, I’m giving my dog the evil eye because now he is lying on our bed.
“… from Romance Writers of America.”
Okay. This is where she got my attention. The date. It’s March 25th. The Golden Heart calls go out. Holy &%*#! “No, way!”
Laughter from Ms. RWA® representative. (To this day, I don’t recall the name of the woman who called me. I wish she’d identify herself to me so I could thank her in non-babble gibberish.) “You are a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist. Are you planning to come to Washington D.C.?”
“Are you kidding? I’m packing tonight.” And so the ride of a lifetime began…
•As I said in the introduction, your good news didn’t stop there. When did you learn about your second sale, and how did it feel to have Obsessed by Wildfire join TWRP line-up?
Obsessed By Wildfire was written on a dare, submitted in haste and was the quickest response I’ve ever had. I sent the query, along with the entire manuscript, in the morning before leaving for work. Two hours later the publisher and senior editor for the line both emailed me and said they were reviewing the story. I was in a great mood at work that day. By the time I got home that evening, I had an email offering me a contract. I accepted the agreement in under ten seconds.
•Congratulations on your successes, Autumn. What would you say were some of the major contributing factors to your finals and sales? Any advice you’d like to share with those who’ve yet to land a contract?
Thank you, Keli.
Here’s my top ten list:
- Believe in yourself!
- Write every day. My motto: Word By Word, Line By Line, Page By Page.
- Write what you love. Don’t write for the market. Your lack of enthusiasm will show.
- Study craft books.
- Attend or listen to workshops. The RWA National conference CDs for about $100 are priceless, IMO. I’ve learned so much listening to them while I drive, walk or drown out my husband’s hockey games.
- Study the NYT bestseller works.
- Shut off the T.V. and write.
- Find a fellow writer you can trust to be honest and critique. Someone who can’t find one thing that could make your work better isn’t the critique partner you need.
- Enter contests, if you can afford them, and really look at your work through the comments. Remember judges are writers giving up their time and offering help. Take a moment to thank them.
- Finally, keep in mind, you only fail if you give up.
Partners on Autumn’s Journey
•You’re a member of the great group of 2009 GH finalists known as The Ruby Slipper Sisterhood. First, we’ll cover the all important fashionista front. Please tell us about the pair of red shoes you took to Nationals.
Oh gosh, finding ruby heels became the mission of every Golden Heart Finalist this year. We had so much fun discussing clothes, make-up and heels on our private Yahoo! loop. I don’t do heels. I’m a sneaker and hiking boot type woman, but for my Ruby Slippered Sisters, I went shopping.
My husband actually found my Ruby heels. They have four inch heels. It took me days to stand steady in them and another couple of days to walk without holding onto the wall. They are now on the shelf in my office, next to my memorabilia from the National conference. I will be buried with it all: Ceremony program, heels, Golden Heart ribbon, awards and USA Today tiara.
•And now we’ll address the Sisterhood. The 2009 GH finalists have blasted into cyberspace with a popular site. Please tell us about it and what your part in this venture is.
You are so right. The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog/site has really had a great response, and I’m thrilled to be part of it. The site was the brainchild and creation of sister Elizabeth Bemis who owns her website design company, Bemis Productions. Over the past few weeks my RS sisters have been dishing out great advice to writers on the craft and encouraging those who are thinking of entering the 2010 Golden Heart contest (deadline is November 16, 2009). My post was published this past Tuesday, October 20. We’re giving away prizes and critiques. Stop over and check us out. You won’t be sorry.
•You’re a member of the Pink Fuzzy Slippers blog as well, doing a great job building that all-important Web presence. Who are your one-on-one, uphold-you-through-thick-and-thin writing partners? Are you able to see them in person, or are you cyber pals?
The Pink Fuzzy Slipper ladies are a wonderful group of ladies. They asked me to join them a few weeks ago. On this blog any topic is food for thought. Here is their link: http://pinkfuzzyslipperwriters.blogspot.com. Please stop over.
I’m assuming by thick or thin writing partners you mean critique partner. I have several people who I turn to for advice or a read. Sylvie Kaye. We started on this path together years ago and even though we now live across the country from one another we’re in touch nearly every day. I’m indebted to NYT Bestselling authors Kasey Michaels and Joy Nash who have encouraged me numerous times. And my First Draft Buddies, Sonya and Melissa have my cyber-back. I also belong to awesome RWA chapters; Pocono-Lehigh, The Elements, KOD, RWA On-Line. Also the Liberty State Writers are terrific.
Autumn’s Debut Novel
•Please tell us about Evil’s Witness.
Stephanie Boyd’s world crashes when she and her children witness a blood bath. To escape the wrath of the Russian Mafia, she has no choice but to help the FBI uncover the mafia’s mole inside the U.S. Treasury. While on the run with the handsome agent who is willing to die for them, Stephanie learns the meaning of love.
Agent John Dolton’s break in solving the case that cost him everything is a couple of kids and a beautiful widow. But keeping them safe seems impossible when their every move is foreseen by their enemy. Stephanie and her children soften the loner’s heart and John vows not to fail to protect the family he loves.
Here is a link to my trailer: http://www.autumnjordon.com/evilswitness.html#video
Autumn’s Journey Continues
•You’ve sold two titles to The Wild Rose Press. What can your readers look forward to after those stories?
Presently, I’m working on another romantic suspense. I love my hero and heroine, Gina and Cole. The story is very fast paced, action packed and has its share of sexual tension. And, of course, I would love to find a home for Baby, Don’t Change.
Five Fun Facts About Autumn, the Writer
~ All my stories germinated with an idea for a great opening line.
~ The plot for Evil’s Witness is based on a real life experience.
~ I write my synopsis after writing the first three chapters of a book.
~ I wrote Evil’s Witness after pitching the idea at a conference.
~ I wrote the second half of my second single title book in four days, a little over 200 pages.
Five Fun Facts About Autumn, the Person
~ I’m an Army Brat and my oldest child is an Army Brat.
~ My first horse’s name was Anytime.
~ My husband and I eloped to VT for a quiet wedding by a lake and became surrounded by a group of thirty—a photography group from CA. We had lots of pictures.
~ I want to visit every state in the USA. I’m a social butterfly.
~ Not fun; I went through two armed robberies, and I wasn’t the one holding the sawed off shotgun.
Autumn’s Question for You
•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Autumn. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. Now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so fire away.
Thanks for asking me to your site. It was fun.
Hmmm. Question. What do you think makes a better book, great characters or riveting plot?
Learn More About Autumn
Visit her Web site ~ www.autumnjordon.com
Visitor her personal blog ~ www.autumnjordonsnotes.blogspot.com
Visit her group blogs ~ www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com
Friend her on Facebook ~ Autumn Jordon
Follow her on Twitter ~ AJordon
Follow her on MySpace ~ Autumn Jordon
Leave a Comment for Three Chances to Win
To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.
Autumn’s Special Drawing
Autumn is giving away a special package of goodies that includes a 2010 Autumn Jordon pocket calendar, a pen and a $5.00 Starbucks certificate. To enter the drawing, leave her a comment on this post by midnight October 22. She’ll choose a winner the following day and leave the information in a comment. I’ll also post the winner’s name here.
Congratulations to Linda Henderson, winner of Autumn’s drawing.
My Regular Drawing
My next drawing will take place October 31st. I’m giving away a copy of The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, a book recommended by many authors as a must-have for a writer’s reference library. (If the winner already owns the book, I reserve the right to substitute an alternative prize of my choosing.)
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by October 31st and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On November 1st, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.
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 October 31st. 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 November 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.)
Note: Offers void where prohibited.
Prizes will be mailed to US addresses only.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.