June Shaw’s series of humorous romantic mysteries features a spunky widow who wants to avoid her hunky lover so she can rediscover herself. But he opens Cajun restaurants wherever she travels—and she is horrible at avoiding tempting dishes and men. RELATIVE DANGER, KILLER COUSINS, DEADLY REUNION—just out.
Website: June's Website
Group Blog: Murderous Musings
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Why Not Give Up on Your Writing Dream?
“Every good author is an old dead man from Europe, and you must struggle trying to figure out what he meant.” That’s what I believed about writers. I couldn’t relate.
When I was in ninth grade, my beliefs changed. My English teacher was sending me to a literary rally and said I should practice writing a paragraph. He told me to write about a splinter. A splinter? How dull. I wrote a description and carried it to his desk. “This is boring,” he said. “Yes, but you told me to do it.” And then he wrote “Ouch!” He said to write from the splinter’s point of view. Someone just sat on it.
Wow, a writer could do that? Writers could create things or people and make them say or do anything? That splinter was my inspiration. “Ouch!” was the only creative writing instruction I ever received. It introduced me to modern humor and made me decide one day I’d be an author.
I married my high school sweetheart right out of school, had five children in six years, and became a widow when they were five to eleven. After my mind functioned, I knew I needed to work. Family members asked what I’d like to do. That splinter flashed into mind. But my silly kids wanted to eat and wear shoes and wouldn’t sit around, waiting for years while I read novels and tried to write some. All I’d been reading were cereal boxes.
I finished a college degree and taught junior high students, eventually finding a little time to write. What I knew best was my family, so I studied writers’ magazines and wrote an essay called “Five Left to Love.” I sent it to a magazine I thought would snap it up. Soon a rejection came. I pouted but remembered advice I’d learned from periodicals. Don’t give up. Expect rejection—most authors receive lots of it—and send your work out again while you write something new. I did and presently received a letter of congratulations with a check! Pleased with myself, I looked to see where I’d previously sent my manuscript. It was the same place. The first editor who received it turned it down. Another editor at the same magazine bought my work.
Finally I found time to read novels and study how to write them. I didn’t sell my first or second attempt but determined they were for practice. I later jumped with excitement when I received THE CALL. I sold RELATIVE DANGER!
By the time I sold a novel, I had been teaching twenty years. My visually-impaired aging mother had come to live with me, and my children had given me grandkids.
I then sold KILLER COUSINS, second book in that series of humorous mysteries. The third book, DEADLY REUNION, has just come out.
I learned that if you don’t have time during a certain period of your life, keep holding onto your dream. When you can’t write, read. Read in the area that interests you. Study magazines that instruct and encourage. You’ll be learning and working toward your goal.
You have to love the creative process of writing just like those who paint or sing because every word you write will probably not sell. Learning and perfecting your craft may take quite awhile. That’s okay. Expect it. Enjoy the words you create.
I learned how to write smaller pieces and sold some before I found time to try writing novels. While I was working on them, I became caregiver to my mother. After she moved in, I tried to spend time with her, almost giving up on my writing, while the desire burned a pit inside me. Something major was missing from my life. We finally discussed this. She said I should spend more time writing. I did—and soon afterward sold my debut.
Don’t give up. If you must write, write. Enjoy the process.
Give yourself freedom to write. Careers normally drive men. Women put everyone else ahead of themselves, especially for time. You deserve time for yourself, for going after your passion.
No matter your age, you can succeed as a writer. Just do it!
I prefer to read the type I write—humorous romantic mysteries.
What about movies...if your book was made into a movie, who would play each character?
If my series were made into movies, the main characters would be played by Bette Midler and Sean Connelly when they were a little younger. In fact, I once heard Bette say she fell off her high heels and broke her foot—which gave me an idea for my latest book!
What about the most exotic place you've ever visited?
My children sent me to a writers’ conference—in Maui! While in Hawaii, I swam under a waterfall, snorkeled over a shark (which was supposed to be a bottom-feeder that we shouldn’t fear—yeah, right), and flew into mountain crevices in a helicopter. It was all great!
Loved Hawaii! Such a beautiful place to visit. Don't know about snorkeling over a shark, though. I'm not brave enough for that.
DEADLY REUNION --- This is one class reunion you won’t want to miss! What could be better than a class reunion on a cruise ship in Alaska? But are former friends really the people we thought we knew well? And which of them is capable of murder – or being killed?
Hop aboard the ship to find out!
Sounds like a book I'd like to read. Definitely going on my TBR list. Where can readers find your book online?
Purchase Link for Deadly Reunion
June, thank you so much for guesting today. I enjoyed learning more about your and your books and had fun chatting. Thanks for sharing your encouraging advice to follow your dreams.
If you'd like to enter for a chance to win one of June's books, please comment on this blog posting. June will be giving away an eBook of one of her first 2 books, Relative Danger or Killer Cousins—the chosen commenter’s choice.