Katie Ganshert loves writing stories about flawed characters who find faith and fall in love. She’s completed five novels, all contemporary romance, and looks forward to writing more. She also enjoys writing short stories, four of which have been published in Christian Fiction Online Magazine.
A Midwest gal, Katie was born and raised in Iowa where she lives with her fantasy-football crazed husband, her two-year-old wild-child of a son and their black lab, Bubba. In addition to being a wife, mother and writer, Katie is a fifth-grade teacher instilling the joy of words into her students.
When Katie isn’t involved with her family, students or characters, she likes to curl up on the sofa with a hot tea and a great book, watch really good romantic movies and go to Panera for girl talk and bagels. One of her favorite indulgences is ice cream, her favorite flavor being chocolate fudge brownie, which she tops with Hershey’s syrup and sometimes caramel, too.
Katie, congratulations once again on your First Sale! What wonderful news.
I remember your interview in November 2009 well. Not two days after that post went live, you received The Agent Call from Rachelle Gardner and soared into the stratosphere. She sent your story out on submission in January 2010, and you signed your first contract a full year later.
One word could summarize 2010 for you: Waiting. How did you endure those l-o-n-g twelve months, who upheld you, and what did you learn about yourself during that year?
Ah, yes! 2010 was definitely a year filled with waiting. My book ended up going to pub board seven months later than it was scheduled. It wasn’t easy. Because the more time passed, the more discouraged I grew. I mean, if they were interested, wouldn’t I have heard something already? There were a lot of moments when I wanted to crawl out of my skin and let the monster jiggling inside my chest flop around and wail. Waiting is not fun. There’s no getting around that. But I learned a lot while enduring it. Namely, that the helplessness of waiting forces me to surrender. And surrendering has a way of drawing me closer to God.
God used last year to show me that He’s enough, and maybe publication isn’t the point. Maybe letting go and trusting Him is. It took a long time for me to surrender my dreams to God and trust that His plans for me are better. It took a long time before I could step away from the waiting-crazies and see God shaping me through the process. But when I finally could see it, I got to this wonderful place. Where waiting felt a lot less like being forgotten and a lot more like being still.
It also helped to have fellow writers, some really great friends, and an incredibly supportive husband in my corner.
And then you received The Call —but you couldn’t answer it. Many of us read your awesome Call Story on your blog, but for those who haven’t, would you summarize it here?
I knew my book had gone to pub board. I knew that everybody in the meeting responded “very favorably.” I knew it had to pass through one more level of approval before Rachelle could deliver a yes. And I also knew that I wouldn’t hear anything until November. So when my phone buzzed in the middle of my school day in late October, I didn’t think anything of it. Until I saw Rachelle’s name lighting up the screen.
I pretty much flipped out. Only I couldn’t do anything. I had a 5th grader at my desk working on math, and twenty-one others sitting in their seats. So I prayed she’d leave a message. When she did, and I heard her say, “This is the call you’ve been waiting for…” Yeah. There’s no way I could accurately describe my body’s response to those words. Let’s just say I wanted to cry and jump and scream all at the same time. Except I couldn’t. That would have traumatized my students.
You got The Call, and life as you knew it changed. I know one’s plate suddenly becomes very full as she embarks on her new career as a published author. Please share with us what’s going on now, what you’ve been learning, and how you’re adjusting to life as a contracted author?
Funny thing. People keep alluding to the fact that I must be so busy now. They’ll say things like, “I’m sure you’re super busy, but could you (fill in the blank)?” Only I’m not super busy. Both of the books that Waterbrook/Multnomah contracted are already written, not to mention another that’s ready for submission, but we’ll have to sit tight until my contract allows us to send it out.
My first book isn’t due until mid-April, so I probably won’t see any sort of change in my routine until summer-ish, when I begin edits (this is just a guess…I really don’t know when I’ll get to jump into that particular adventure). So I’m doing what I always do—writing. I’m about halfway done with the rough draft of novel number six. I’m also thinking a lot more about marketing and building a readership than I ever did before. Oh, and I’m waiting. That truly never ends. Granted, it’s much, much easier on this side of the book deal.
Each author’s journey to publication is different. What are some steps you took that you believe helped make this big moment happen? What advice would you give to those eager to make their First Sale?
I know I would not be anywhere close to where I am today if I hadn’t gone to the ACFW writing conferences. I know conferences are expensive—but if you are a writer who thinks, “Man, if I could just get my manuscript in front of an editor or agent, I know they’d like it” then you really ought to go to one. It’s a great way to move out of the dredges of the slush pile. You hear of a few writers getting picked up based on the querying system, but I think it’s a lot harder that way.
I also recommend reading as many craft books as you can get your hands on, and writing more than one novel. The more novels I write, the more I find my voice, the more I learn, and the more I look back on my first attempts and understand why they aren’t publishable.
I guess in short, my advice would be: write a lot, learn, learn, learn, go to a conference, stay humble, believe in yourself, and hunker down for the wait! The writing industry and immediate gratification exist on opposite poles.
Katie’s Debut Novel
Please tell us about Wildflowers from Winter.
Bethany Quinn grudgingly leaves the big city and returns to her small Iowa hometown to check on her sick grandfather and offer condolences to her newly widowed, estranged best friend. It shouldn’t take longer than a week to clear her conscience and find some closure.
But she wasn’t counting on Evan Price, the ruggedly handsome, strong-willed man living on her grandfather’s farm. He challenges everything she’s worked for, and brings her face-to-face with the dark secret that’s chased her for the past sixteen years. With Evan’s assistance, can Bethany find freedom in the very town that held her captive for so long?
Your Questions for Katie
Katie, it’s been wonderful having you back at Romance Writers on the Journey to share your wonderful news with us.
I invite your visitors to ask you any questions they have about your sale, your debut novel, and what life is like after receiving that long-awaited contract offer. And, of course, feel free to squee with Katie all you’d like.
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