Deanna K. Klingel lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband of fifty years and golden retriever, Buddy. It's a quiet household now, but at one time, with the house full of seven children, exchange students, guests from Scottish Rite Children's Hospital (before Ronald McDonald Houses there was Hospital Host Homes), and friends of all ages, the active household was a fun place to be.
Deanna is originally from Michigan, but after leaving Michigan State University with her high school sweetheart-husband, the couple moved every two years for the next twenty years before slowing down in Atlanta for the next eighteen. They retired to the mountains, where they are active at their local parish, and operate a community dog park; Dave works at real estate, Deanna writes, and Buddy plays ball. Deanna travels with her books, and enjoys meeting readers around the southeast. Visit her online at: http://www.booksbydeanna.com/, twitter@deannakklingel, and on Facebook.
Below, Deanna shares her journey to publication.
First thing published? I recently found a yellowed newspaper clipping of a poem that was published in the Lansing newspaper when I was a student. I don't remember writing it, but I guess I did. When I was in high school I was the student reporter for our town newspaper, wrote for the school newspaper and year book. I guess those would be the first published things.
The Avery and Gunner stories were the first books to be published. It was a five-year journey from the time the agents "fell in love" with Avery, took him to the Bologna Children's Book Fair, garnered interest from New York publishers, and talked about film rights. Then, as sometimes happens in the huge secular market, someone's marketing team decided Avery needed to be "edgy" in order to sell to today's edgy young readers. They made some specific requests that I felt demeaning to Avery. He's a 14 year old Quaker, living in a rural area, homeschooled by two very well-educated Boston Quakers. He's a boy with high moral ideals. He wouldn't have done the things the marketing team was suggesting. Historically, it was not accurate. We parted company. It was a while later that I discovered the world of Christian publishing, attended a conference and an editor from BJU found Avery.
Do you have an agent? I don't have an agent now. I'd like to find one because I've got a couple things I'm shopping that could use a wider outlet.
Are you a fan of writing contests? Why or why not? Before I was published I participated in writing contests. I won a few and that convinced me I should pursue my love of writing. Now, I don't qualify for many contests, and it takes time to tailor the work for each contest's specs. Marketing takes a lot of time away from my writing, too, so I don't want other distractions. Overall, I think contests are a great tool to prepare for publication. They require a word count and careful editing. It's a good exercise to learn to cut cut cut edit edit edit, and trim off all the excess verbiage. A good practice.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you first started out? Everything. I didn't know how to do the editing on the computer, I didn't understand how to reach publishers, agents, readers, didn't know any of the behind the scenes. There is still something new to learn every day.
How is being published different than you thought it would be? Probably the one thing about "being published" that is different than I thought it would be, is how many folks are impressed by that. I never thought much about it, I don't remember author's names, only their books, I don't "follow" writers or bloggers...I'm so surprised how many people do. And I'm glad of it, of course.
Any books on writing that you would recommend? I recommend Bobbie Christmas for writing, editing and publishing books. She has a wonderful on line newsletter in addition to her books. She's very approachable and helpful.
What advice would you give to writers currently seeking publication? I would advise to slow down, take a breath, and find the right home for your work. Use Market Guides for Writers, a learn where other books like yours are garnering attention and success. Go to conferences, take every opportunity that comes to you. But, don't wear yourself out. Be patient. It all happens in God's time.