Friday, May 21st, 2010

Guest Interview: Ginger Simpson

I first met Ginger Simpson on the Eternal Press authors-only forum. With her quick wit and wealth of knowledge, she very quickly became my “hero” — answering a lot of newbie questions — some I wished I’d thought to ask — offering suggestions, and adding wise counter-point to rants. And then I realized she’s also a fabulous writer.

When you’re done reading, please check out Ginger’s books. At the very least, show some love in the comments. We’d both enjoy hearing from you.

The Illustrious Ginger SimpsonWho is Ginger Simpson?
Well… she used to be an attractive (at least I thought so) younger women who worked an 8-5 job and used her lunch hours and breaks to work on her books. Now she’s retired, facing the official senior citizen birthday and doesn’t seem to be able to accomplish nearly as much as she did back in the day.

When and why did you begin writing?
For years, I’d read every western historical I could get my hands on. My interest stemmed from the Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House series and blossomed into romance novels…basically anything with the word “savage” in it. I’ve always been an avid reader, but one day I decided I should try my hand at writing my own historical. Prairie Peace, my debut novel, was proof I can write.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The moment I held Prairie Peace in my hands and saw my name on the cover. There’s no greater feeling except maybe having a child or winning the lottery. I can’t really comment on the last as I’m still trying to achieve that goal.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Having access to a computer at home. I’d brought my laptop home from work to finish a project, and afterwards some strange woman named Cecile popped into my head and started telling me a story. The longer I typed, the more enthralled I became with the tale, and I had to see it through to the end. In case you can’t tell, my stories are character driven. I’m basically just the fingers that do the typing and go back and add in the components that make it a novel. The emotions, the smells, the identifying tags. 🙂

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? (Has anyone ever realized it?)
Only one of my books was actually spawned by a real-life experience. I wrote Embezzled Love based on my sister’s horrible outcome at finding love on the Internet, and I hoped that the final product would cause women to pause and remember how vulnerable they are in situations like dating sites. Men, too, actually. I think the book turned out well because it was a finalist in the 2009 Epic Award nominations.

Most of my books contain a little of me or a trait I admire and wish I possessed. For instance, Forever Faith is about a woman with a weight problem, Hope Springs Eternal is about a woman who faces growing older without anyone in her life, Sarah in Sarah’s Journey is the heroine I hope I am: fair, not afraid to take a stand, and a great friend. I think every author’s personality is hidden somewhere in their stories.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Like I said, I read every Laura Ingalls Wilder book a multitude of times. If someone could go back and find the “check out cards” from my grammar school library, they’d find my name on every other line. I think Ms. Wilder definitely set my writing wheels in motion.

What are your current projects?
I’m currently finishing a YA that I’ve already contracted then I plan to move on to my Women’s Fiction/Mystery, First Degree Innocence, then The Locket. I always have too many WIPS in progress because of the revolving door on my mind that allows characters to enter at will. They all have a story to tell and my WIP folder is overflowing with ones I’ve started to appease the anguished cries. *lol*

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest released book is all about changing. It was previously published in 2004 by another house, and the new version of White Heart, Lakota Spirit is my attempt to remove the amateur writing style and replace it with all the things I’ve learned in the process. Even editors learn as you go, as at the time, I felt this was thoroughly edited and perfectly so. It’s funny how you read your novels years later and wonder how so much slipped through the cracks.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The changing requirements from house to house and all the new writing “rules” that crop up on a frequently basis. For example: one house I queried took such issue with “ly” words, they wanted them all eliminated. I try to avoid them, but there are cases where I think they lend tension or emphasis to a scene. Now the emphasis seems to be on avoiding “was” as much as possible. Just when you think you’ve got a grip on what’s right and what’s wrong, you don’t. 🙂

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have several favorites, but I’ll name two of them, and you’ll notice that I’m limiting my choices to my fellow e-pubbed authors. I think if we don’t support our own, then who will. I often wonder why more people don’t feel the same and mention their peers as favorites…but Anita Davison, who writes historical novels set in England (her home) converted me with her descriptive writing and flowing prose. I mumbled to myself when I started critiquing her first chapter in our group, knowing it would be dry and boring, but boy was I wrong. She hooked me from the start, and I anxiously await anything she writes. Margaret Tanner, an Aussie author, who writes from the heart with such feeling and emotion that I immediately connect with her characters, just as I do with Anita’s. A true author moves the reader into the story and makes them feel the emotions, smell the smells and cry real tears. These two ladies do exactly that.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Research the publishing houses you’re targeting before you consider signing with them. There are so many new houses springing up, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t destined to doom and you don’t want to go down with them. Signing a contract is like entering into a marriage. If it’s a bad one, you’re stuck with them until the contract expires and divorces you from them. There are many awesome companies out there—one’s who know how to treat their authors. Ask your author friends…they’re your best source of information.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just a giant “thank you” for following me all these years, frequenting my blog, and believing in me. You keep me doing what I love.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. – please share your public links.

Web site: http://www.gingersimpson.com
Blog: http://mizging.blogspsot.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mizging
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mizging
Twitter: http://twitter.com/mizging

Thanks Kelly for hosting me today. You’ve asked some very interesting questions and I appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into showcasing me and my work.

17 comments to Guest Interview: Ginger Simpson

  • margaret west

    It is really refreshing to read an interview that focuses more on the author than the Books for a change. It makes an author more like a real person, instead of just a faceless storyteller. Loved reading this.

  • Lorrie Unites-Struiff

    Hi Ginger,
    Another great interesting post. How true about the “ly” and “was” words. Writing is always always in a state of flux, it seems, from editor to editor.
    Personally, lol, my favorite word is “it.” It encompasses so much.
    Thanks for the read. Keep up that revolving door in your mind. I wish I had one.

  • Hi Ginger,

    As usual, great post! It WAS WONDERFULLY done! lol Houses should realize that readers want good books with great characters and great plots. They are not obsessed with words that end in ly and the word WAS. Some of these constant changes and new rules can drive poor authors nuts!

    Maggie

  • Sarah’s Journey was a gripping read. It’s great that you’re getting a chance to revise an older novel. I recently re-edited my first book and was shocked afterwards–it had lost 10K of stoytelling fat. That’s 2-3 chapters’ worth! ::gulp:: That’s some learning curve.

    Oh, and I also signed a contract with Moongypsy. See you there soon, Ginger.

  • Ginger, I always enjoy reading about you and your books. I’m happy to know we are so alike in the way we think and do things. You’ll always be my Sis!! Love ya, woman!

    ~Phyllis~

  • Great interview, Ginger. I like to learn what novels/works inspire authors, like your strong connection to the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

    Marsha

  • Cool interview, Ginger! Can’t wait to read your book!

    Karen 🙂

  • Thanks to everyone for stopping by and leaving a comment. There’s nothing more depressing than posting and having no one show up. 🙂
    Good luck with Moongypsy, Rob, and to my sister authors…you guys are easily influenced and I love you for it. 🙂

  • Ginger, I am in that state of confusion over what editors want. Like you said, -ly words and ‘was’ seem to come and go. I’ve known teachers who don’t want one single ‘to be’ word in the manuscript. Huh? I’ve never read a book without the various forms of ‘to be.’

    You’re a brilliant author, and you’re as sweet as my tiramisu. LOL
    Love ya.

  • Diane Scott Lewis

    Even if I didn’t make your favorite author list (sniff) I enjoyed reading about you. And today we drove past the Laura Ingalls Wilder house and museum, but didn’t get to stop.

  • Great interview, Ginger. I like to learn what novels/works inspire authors, like your strong connection to the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

    Marsha

  • Nancy M Bell

    Hey Ginger, Great to see you here, love your work. Super interview

    Nancy

  • Hi All! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and chime in for Ginger. It’s nice seeing all the new faces here.

  • Wonderful interview ladies. Always great to learn more about fellow authors.

  • “I always have too many WIPS in progress because of the revolving door on my mind that allows characters to enter at will.” LOL You’re lucky you have such activist characters, Ginger. I have to beat mine to get them to tell me what they want ;^)

    Hugs,
    Lisabeet

  • tamibates

    hey ginger! just senu aa friend requet on facebook

    thank you for intervierw
    LOVE IT

    i shock to see how many ppl i dont have as friends

  • Ginger, I am in that state of confusion over what editors want. Like you said, -ly words and ‘was’ seem to come and go. I’ve known teachers who don’t want one single ‘to be’ word in the manuscript. Huh? I’ve never read a book without the various forms of ‘to be.’

    You’re a brilliant author, and you’re as sweet as my tiramisu. LOL
    Love ya.

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