Katie: It is my pleasure to interview multi-published author Ginger Simpson. Ginger retired from the University of California in 2003 and moved to Tennessee to be near her grandson. That is the same date her first book debuted. For Ginger, writing has never been about making money; instead, being an author fulfills a lifetime admiration she holds for the historical romance authors she’s read for many years.
Welcome to my blog, Ginger. Can you please share a brief synopsis of your book, Sarah’s Journey.
Ginger: Sarah’s Journey is a combination women’s fiction/historical novel. My heroine embarks on a new life, only to have her trek cut short by an Indian attack on her wagon train. As the lone survivor, she has to rely on her inner strength to get her back to civilization. Of course, as in all good books, she encounters a hero along the way. Her dilemma is trusting someone who shares the same blood as those who killed all her friends. Can she? Does their friendship blossom and become more? Can she handle the difficult choices she has to make in a time when prejudice against “half-breeds” flourished?
Katie: What inspired you to write in the first place?
Ginger: My love of reading. I grew up living out my fantasies through heroines in the western historical novels I enjoyed. I’ve said this before, but if you could find the old library cards from my grammar school days, you would find my name numerous times on anything written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Katie: You have written historical fiction. What about historical fiction catches your eye enough to write in that genre?
Ginger: My sub-genre is western historical. I have such a great admiration for the people who lived in the old west in the 1800s and the strength they had to persevere through the monumental hardships they faced. Several of my novels pertain to Indians, as well. I have a fascination with the Lakota tribe, and almost believe I lived as one of their people in another lifetime. There’s nothing sexier to me than a good looking cowboy or a red man in a breech clout. *laughing*
Katie: When you write historical fiction, what do you do to learn the “voice” of that time era?
Ginger: Research, my dear. When all else fails, I turn to etymology.com to learn the origin of a particular word or phrase. Reading so many books by other historical authors who write about the same era has honed my knowledge, too. Kids were goats, and your parents were not Mom and Dad, rather Ma and Pa. This particular era is ‘chock full’ of colorful sayings that originated during the time, and lots of fun to write. Where else could you express the hero’s anger by saying, “Now she’d done it. He was madder than a wet hen.”
Katie: You have an agent for your upcoming books. Did you have an agent for previous stories? Why or why not?
Ginger: I’ve had two failed agent relationships. The first rep was new to the business, took on more than she could handle and buckled within a few months. Afterwards, I shopped for someone I thought was more experienced, queried and landed a contract with her. To my dismay, she didn’t know the difference between mainstream and e-pubs, and I ended up with a publishing contract I could have gotten myself. That publisher turned out to be the biggest nightmare ever, and I asked for and received my rights back. At the same time, I requested a severance of my contract with that agent, and we parted on friendly terms. I’ve just signed with Dee Owens, who is also a new agent and promotional presence on the internet, but I’m counting on her drive, determination and belief in my work to help me achieve my final goal of mainstream publishing. I’ve dealt with Dee in another capacity and I’m so impressed by her.
Katie: When working with an agent, what are the three most important things to remember?
Ginger: I’m hoping someone will tell me. *smile* With my limited experience, I’m reminding myself of these three things:
- Competition is very keen.
- Great things don’t always happen overnight. Patience is a virtue.
- My agent believes in me, so it’s very likely she can convince someone else to recognize my writing ability.
Katie: Your books have all been traditionally published. Is there anything you can think of that would cause you to self-publish?
Ginger: Not unless I decide to complete the non-fiction book I’ve started and can’t find anyone who will publish it. It’s a story worth telling and I think there are others who’ll benefit from knowing that bad things happen to good people. I’ve started the story and titled it, Souled Out!
I’ve always steered away from self-publishing, only because of the stigma attached. Professionals tend to view self-published authors as those who couldn’t “make the grade.” This is entirely untrue, because I know some authors who have self-published and their work is awesome. Circumstances often require an author to pursue this route, so being judgmental may mean readers are missing out on a wealth of talent.
Katie: The harsh reality for writers, unless your name is Grisham, is that we all have to bear the brunt of marketing and promotion for our works. What sort of marketing and promotion have you done for Sarah’s Journey?
Ginger: Everything I’ve done for every other book I’ve written. Launch party, blogging, loops, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, video trailer competitions, book cover competitions, my own website… I’ve tried everything except book signings because this area isn’t e-pub friendly. Sad, but true. One of these days, I’m hoping that will change. It’s time for people to realize that Internet published authors have jumped through hoops and paid their dues, too.
Katie: What aspect of marketing and promotion do you like best? like least? Why?
Ginger: I hope to some day be able to experience another book signing. I’ve done only one, and that was at a Romantic Times convention several years ago. It was a fun experience because I love meeting and talking with people. In the interim, I enjoy blogging. I’m a talker, so blogging allows my mouth to move while I read the words I type. I used to really enjoy being on various loops to promote my work, but now that most are so inundated with excerpts, teasers and virtually no conversational exchanges, I’ve steered away from those in favor of Facebook.
And thank you, Katie for allowing me time on your blog and for being a frequent visitor to mine. I always enjoy your posts, your humor, and your friendship.