July 26, 2008

Meet Ginger Simpson

Ginger had a family emergency and may not be able to respond to your comments in a timely fashion. But we have a really great prize to give away, so be sure and comment, anyway. Because she can't promote as she wanted to, I'll most likely have Ginger back as a guest blogger in August, so stayed tuned for that event!

~Anna Kathryn

1. So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?
My life to be so much more interesting when I worked at the University of California, Davis, but now I’m retired. I laugh when I say that because my days are actually more challenging now. My husband and I moved to Tennessee for a reason. I’m the primary caretaker for my five-year-old developmentally delayed grandson, Spencer, and he’s the center of my world… literally. My typical day is filled with watching Thomas the Train, Wonder Pets, and Sponge Bob, but trying to sneak in a few minutes here and there to write, blog, and respond to emails. Lately, I’ve become a Spiderman aficionado, and very adept at lifting Spencer’s mask and giving him a kiss, on cue, of course. He has the entire three movies memorized. I think I’ve the developmentally delayed one, actually.

2. When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?
I started writing in 2002, finished my first story and queried Wings Press. I was accepted on my first try, which I might add was a shock. Prairie Peace was first released in May 2003. It’s since been revamped and offered now through Eternal Press. In the interim, I completed two novellas and got half way through my second manuscript, Sisters in Time. I had no barriers to writing back then aside from a full-time job. *lol*

3. How did you break into publishing?
I don’t think I ‘broke’ into publishing. I lucked in. The number of authors completing for small press just five years was minimal compared to today. My assigned editor told me, “You write a beautiful STORY. Now we need to make it into a NOVEL.” I don’t think publishers have the time or are willing to expend the effort like they were back then. Today, new authors are competing with polished and experienced ones. I’d hate to be starting out right now. Or, maybe not. I know a whole lot more today than I did back in 2003.

4. What influenced you to write?
I’ve always loved to write. English was the one subject in which I excelled, and driven by the passion of reading, it only seemed logical to delve into trying my own hand at penning a novel. I’m not sure I ever planned it, but once I sat down and let my characters drag me along, it seemed like telling myself a story, and one I couldn’t wait to finish (but for good reasons.)

5. What inspired you to write romance?
What I write isn’t so much romance. A better description is stories with romantic elements. I like there to be more to what I read and write than Dick sees Jane, chases Jane, wins Jane, marries Jane and lives happily ever after. I think that’s why I write primarily western historical tales. I love the era and it provides fodder to sprinkle in amongst the conflict and love scenes. I want my stories to warm the heart, but also give the reader something to think about besides sex.

6. What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?
Oops, I think I just answered that question above. I have dappled in several. Even wrote my debut/swan song Erotica, but I also gravitate back to historical westerns. I truly believe I was a Lakota Sioux woman in a previous life because I have such a fascination with that tribe. That life must have been right between the one where I was a doctor and the one where I was a mechanic. *lol*

7. What difficulties does writing this genre present?
Not so much difficulty as time demands. There is much more research necessary when you write historical fiction. Although your story isn’t true, your facts had better be. I find myself double-checking what I think may be right, to make sure I’m not inserting language or gadgets before their time. It took me the longest time to stop trying to make my eighteenth-century characters say, “Okay.”

8. What motivated you to write your current book?
Which one? I have the pleasure of having three releases coming out together. Sarah’s Journey was released May 7th, Sparta Rose is due out in late June, and Embezzled Love in July. Most of my stories are prompted by characters who spring into my head and drag me along on a ride. Embezzled Love, however, was spawned by my sister’s life-changing experience. Although fictional, the basis for the plot was her internet experience and how it affected us all.

9. How much time do you devote to writing each day?
That varies from day-to-day. Sometimes I can’t find a minute, and when I do, I can’t find the motivation. It’s a good day when both time and the urge strike together.

10. Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.
After my debut novel, Prairie Peace, I completed a time-travel romance with an historical twist, Sisters in Time. Then I tried my hand a romantic suspense, with Beside Myself. Some who read Prairie Peace commented on wanting a sequel, so I wrote a continuation, White Heart, Lakota Spirit. In between were five novellas and two short stories. Two of those novellas have been revamped and renamed and will be part of a four-story compilation released by Eternal Press. Stages of Love will consist of Chastity’s Charm, Forever Faith, Hope Springs Eternal and Amazing Grace.

11. What are you working on now?
Shock of shocks, I found myself employed as a Correctional Officer in my golden years. We’d moved to Tennessee and jobs were hard to come by. I never expected when the agency sent me to interview for the position that I’d be hired. Believe it not, I miss it, and the experience was the inspiration behind my current work-in-progress, First Degree Innocence. I can write with authority and feel confident about my story.

12. How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?
Wow, I think I already answered this one too. They say that’s the sign of an insightful interviewee. I’m definitely a pantser. I do not plot at all, but because of a lagging memory, I have taken to writing down character descriptions. There’s nothing worse than having a blue-eyed hero show up with brown eyes three chapters later. In the old west, they didn’t have the benefit of colored contacts. J My stories usually start when a character pops into my mind and begs me to come along on a story-telling spree. So far, they haven’t disappointed me, so I’ll stick with what I’m doing.

13. What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’
I almost said I hadn’t had the experience, but I suppose my current WIP was inspired by working with inmates and seeing what they went through on a daily basis. I wanted to create a story about someone who really was innocent and convicted. I know for a fact after having served on a jury, our jails are surely filled with people who didn’t do the crime.

14. If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?
Sitting Bull. I’d really like to know the man behind the legend. The first words out of my mouth would be an apology how the Indian nations were treated by the government.

15. Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.
I’m proud to say that everything I’ve read has been favorable. I remember being crushed by one of the few ‘3-rated’ reviews I received, until I looked at the scale and realized it meant ‘good’. Most of my reviews have been 4-5 with encouraging remarks about my work. You can’t ask for more than that.

16. What is your all time favorite book?
There are so many I’ve loved. I’m sure the Laura Ingalls Wilder series holds the most prominent place in my heart and memory. She has to be the person who inspired me to love the old west.

17. How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?
I’ve purchased several books on Indian history, plus I utilize the internet and two great historical research groups I’ve found on yahoo. I think my most interesting research was conducted to discover the history of firearms. As a woman, the differences in weapons has never been anything to which I was privy. For Sparta Rose, I had to determine the correct type of sidearm a woman would purchase during her era. Trust me that the information about the gun she bought was well-read. J

18. What advice would you give aspiring writers today?
A saying I read recently advised people to ‘dance like no one is watching.’ I’d do the same with writing. Write when you get the chance, hone it to perfection and sell it to a person who believes in your talent. Remember when you write, you’re writing from the heart of your character and telling the story from their perspective. SHOW the emotions, smells, and scenery, don’t just TELL about them. Reel those readers in and make them live the story while they read.

19. How do you like your fans to contact you?
Any way they choose. Nothing makes my day like reading a positive comment or glowing accolade from someone who has read my work. I recently received a wonderful email from someone who subscribes to my blog, telling me how much it brightens her day and how she never misses it. It made the time and effort I spend so much more important.




Jane said...

Hi Ginger,
Hope everything is alright. Did you work as a Correctional Officer in a facility for men or women?

Cheri2628 said...

I hope that everything is OK with your family.

What an interesting life (lives?) you have had.

Laura K said...

You know the best things in life are family and friends. Pulling for you and that this crisis will soon pass.

Debby said...

Hi Ginger - my condolences on the death in your family

Virginia said...

I really enjoyed this interview. It amazes me how authors come up with their stories. Like being a Correctional Officer. I have a sister that also works in a correctional facility. I think it takes a certain type of person to do that type of work.

peggy said...

hello ginger,
I think it was great you got published on your first try.

Meljprincess said...

Friends, if you haven't read "Prairie Peace" you should. It's excellent! All of Mz. G's books are fabulous!

Mel K.

LuAnn said...

I'm looking forward to reading "Sarah's Journey."

Michelle said...

I hope all is well with Ginger and it is nothing to dire/serious. Best wishes to her.

Phyllis Campbell said...

Hello Sistah Ging! Although I know you quite, well, I feel I know you even better after reading your interview. LOL

Congrats on your new releases and WIPs!!


blessedheart said...

I've read a few of Ginger's stories and totally enjoyed them.

Rhonda :-)

robynl said...

Hi Ginger,
I love her books. Western is one genre I love and she does them well. Trust everything is fine with you and take care.

Cherie J said...

Wonderful interview! Sorry to hear Ginger had a family emergency and could not be with us. Hope it all works out.

Zulmara said...

WOW...how special to care for your grandson...and cool that you lucked into publishing...



CrystalGB said...

Great interview. I hope every thing is ok with your family.

Ciara Gold said...

Late to the party as usual, but just wanted to say that I know for a fact that First Degree Innocence is a great story! Hurry and get that one pubbed.

Ginger Simpson said...

Hi Jane,
I worked at a county jail that housed men and women brought in by the police, Sheriff and the Tennessee HP. The facility also had several state inmates there because of the overcrowding in the local prisons. To say I saw a lot is an understatement. :)

Ginger Simpson said...

Hi Cheri,
My husband's father passed away quite suddenly and we had to make a quick trip to Nebraska...actually it was 14 hours by car and my butt was dragging by the time we got here. It's not as easy to travel as it used to be. :) I'm writing this from my room at the local Rodeway Inn in lovely downtown Grand Island, NE. Thanks for stopping by.


Ginger Simpson said...

To everyone who visited and left comments. I'd love to respond to each personally, but this is an unsecured website and with my luck I'll find a virus that attaches itself to me and my computer. I appreciate all the kind comments and the time you took to visit with me. I'll be home soon and in touch to award a copy of Sarah's Journey so some lucky winner. :)