I always have fun when Fortune Whelan’s in the house, so today is a special treat! She’s here with some advice for new writers, but also to share her new release One Night with You. I asked her to send me a little something about herself and I got this, which I absolutely refuse to edit or shorten in any way because it just so very Fortune! Here she is!
A little about me, I’m a first generation Filipino-Canadian and if you’re wondering if my family dynamic stayed the same way since 1979, it did not. My parents divorced in the early 90s, along with everyone else’s, remarried, procreated some more, and even de facto adopted a mostly adult son, because needing parents isn’t something that stops at a certain age. Today, I’m part of a hella blended family and it’s huge. Marrying a man whose parents hail from Newfoundland, a place where the size of families rivals that of the good old Catholics. My mom’s last name is Mierzurak, my daughter’s is Whelan and yes, family dynamic figures prominently in all of my stories.
Writing-wise, I write contemporary romance. I’ve written in big cities and small towns, and prefer to write sweet heat, along with romantic suspense, political intrigue and medical romance. Anything with action. My debut series from Tule, The Dorseys of Conception Bay features the post-hockey life of a trio of brothers.
Life-wise, it’s been a ride. In university, I worked as a banker in a bank and a casino, as a finance manager at Coca-Cola, owned and operated my own yoga studio and school, and finally landed in the Rocky Mountains, doing what I love—writing and also working part time at the public library, because I just love books. Somewhere along the way, I got married (12 years ago) and birthed a child (8 years ago).
Why the mountains where it’s winter eight months of the year? My family and I love to ski, both downhill and cross-country, ice skate, sled, tube, build snowmen and snowwomen, and have snowball fights. In the summer it’s hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping and floats on the lake. And all of this is right in our backyard, walking distance.
When I’m not outside, I’m curled up in front of the fireplace with a book. I’m a mood reader and recently finished demolishing Fonda Lee’s Jade Bone series in three weeks. I love movies, but sadly I am somewhere like a decade behind on TV. Though I did binge Euphoria in three days (very intense, do not recommend), and loved a little Netflix series called The End of The Fucking World.
Anyway, I can talk about myself forever, I’m a Virgo. So, I’ll sign off here and thanks for reading!
And… take it away, Fortune…
I hate talking about writing, and it’s not your fault, I promise…
When someone discovers I’m an author, I am usually asked the same three questions. In turn, I provide the same three answers.
- How do you get published?
A lot of hard work, a little bit of luck.
- How long have you been writing?
My whole life.
- What should I do?
Depends on what your goals are.
I’ll suggest craft books and writing resources because that’s what they want. Then I smile, and wish them luck, because I truly do wish the best for everyone. It does nothing helpful to crush the spirit of the doe-eyed fledging author who dreams of becoming published because they have an idea.
I’m not here to be the bitter, jaded author because I’m not. I’m bitter and jaded about everything, equally. But I love writing. Above all other titles bestowed upon me, I proudly claim that of writer. I am a writer. Writing helps me to make sense of the world, to understand people, and to understand myself. I’m compelled to write, like gasping for breath when you’re drowning. If you prefer to preserve the idealism of art, good luck, I wish you well. If you actually want my advice, read on. You’ve been warned.
Now, dear reader, take this advice with the caveat that every writer is different, and in the words of a very wise author friend Lisa Kessler, take what you need and toss the rest.
Write everyday. As much as your schedule allows. By write every day, I mean, specifically, words on paper, or on your computer. Forty minutes on your lunch break, two hours every morning from 5 to 7 am, jotting notes for 5 minutes or tapping out 100 words. If you don’t have time to write every day, you to have to find it. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. The only way to become a better writer is to write. That’s it. The end. There’s not secret formula. There’s no shortcut but to write.
Process isn’t all about plotting and drafting. Process can be binging Netflix, reading an entire series by a new-to-you author. It can be an obsession with a person or an idea. Or working out a problem or asking yourself why? Why what? That depends. What’s my process? I don’t know, not really. It’s everything. I’m a writer, and there’s a story in everything. And by everything, I mean everything, from second guessing everything you write, fighting your instincts, fighting your characters, lamenting your life and life choices. All I do know is that if you’re living your life, and despite everything, you’re still writing, that’s process.
As far as writing goes, finishing the manuscript, the zero draft, the whole entire thing is not the hardest part. It’s the first gateway. If you can get through to the end of your first manuscript, you’re already there, but there is still a lot of work to do. The hard work is first in padding your soft artist heart in bubble wrap for the editorial letter you’ll inevitably receive, and remembering your editor only wants the best for you and your book. If you think it’s the dream to write a perfect book with no changes, I assure you, you’ll find a way to second guess yourself—did my editor even read my book? Is it so terrible, it can’t be fixed? My editor hates me. This isn’t true. What is true, is that your editor is usually right, but it’s still your story, so you do get the final say.
The next part is the hardest part—revisions. What’s hard about it? Well, like drafting and process, there’s no one way to tackle them. Some writers make spreadsheets and have a plan. I have a plan, but I haven’t figured out how to articulate it to myself in a way that makes sense. Cool, right? You would think.
Some authors will make small edits first, and others will make large changes. One writer might perform several passes, and another will only make two or three. You can finesse your edits or end up scrapping and writing tens of thousands of words. This is my process. Mostly. Writing is neat in that once you find something that kind of, sort of works, it won’t anymore. And by neat, I mean, what the hell? The only thing I know about revising is that you should listen to your manuscript before you hand it back in. It’ll take you about five hours on double speed, but what you’ll catch in errors, is well worth the time spent.
One more thing, life supports art, not the other way around.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.
Good luck, and I wish you well.
One Night with You
Their lives are about to change forever…but not how they expected.
Cheramie Johnston-Davies is almost set to embrace the path her family set for her—a handsome and ambitious fiancé, an enviable address, and a guaranteed board position wherever she desires. But when her grandmother passes unexpectedly, Cheramie gets a few more months of freedom while she steps up to secure her family’s legacy by completing the revitalization project her grandmother started.
Former risk-taking, adventurous Deacon Dorsey knows he needs to clip his own wings and create a loving, secure home for his preteen daughter after his ex dies. Considering his own unstable upbringing, Deacon’s work is cut out for him. He decides to settle in his hometown and invest in a local project in Conception Bay. He can’t change the past, but he’s determined to shape the future for his daughter.
An anonymous hookup in a Seattle hotel bar is a last night of freedom for Deacon and Cheramie before they settle into their new responsibilities. Only it’s not so anonymous when they find themselves on opposite sides of the same project…
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