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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Interview with Ginny Yttrup

Author Ginny Yttrup (pronounced “Y”-trup) will be part of the Write to Inspire Conference in Elk Grove, California, August 26 and 27. She’ll give two workshops Friday evening while Agent and Author Karen Ball listens to pitches. One of Ginny's workshops is entitled “Finding Your Voice” and another is called “Marketing for Writers. Both sound promising to me, and I’m looking forward to her presentations (gross understatement). Ginny consented to an interview before the conference. What a privilege to hear such wisdom from a writer whose book, Words, has been labeled “a masterpiece” by none other than Publishers Weekly!

AMB: Ginny, I hear you recently remodeled your unusual workspace.

GY: Yes. My bedroom doubles as an office space. I have a Murphy bed that folds into the wall, so during the day it looks like an office. It is freshly painted a warm chocolate color and I have deep red accents. It's cozy and appeals to my need for visual congruence and design. I have a desk with a large Mac monitor that I plug my laptop into and a brown leather chair where I'll often sit to write.

AMB: It sounds like the perfect writing space. Are you one who likes to write to music, or do you prefer peace and quiet?

GY: I need quiet to write. I must have ADD, because any noise or visual stimulus will distract me. Occasionally, if there's other noise in the house, I'll write to music, but it has to be instrumental--no lyrics. I also spend a lot of my writing time on my outdoor deck.

AMB: What changed the most in your life after you were published? What surprised you along the way?

GY: This year after the release of my debut novel, I've traveled more than I've ever traveled. I didn't expect that. Because I write issue-driven fiction, like many nonfiction authors, I'm speaking a lot. I NEVER intended to speak. That was God's surprise call and one I agonized over for a long time. Because I'm speaking, I'm also traveling. I never wanted to do either, nor do I look forward to either. But then, in the moment when I step out of an airport and experience a new part of the country for the first time or, especially, when I encounter a new reader or someone who has been touched by something they heard God say through me, then I LOVE it!

AMB: Would you talk about some of the things you do in your spare time, other than reading and writing?

GY: I love to cook and plan get-togethers with dear friends. Give me a theme for a party, and I'm off and running. I also love gardening, drawing, and gourmet dining.

AMB: If someone were interested in a writing career, what advice would you give them?

GY: First and foremost: read, read, read. Read in the genre you want to write. Read books that make your heart beat fast—books that stir your passion. And read with a critical eye. Learn from the books you read. Read books on the craft of writing, such as James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure. If possible, attend writers’ conferences. When seeking representation or publication, do your research. Before approaching the agent or editor, be sure they're interested in the genre you write and are accepting proposals. Be professional and personable. Know your project and prepare a brief pitch that touches on the highlights of that project. Most agents and publishers have submission guidelines on their websites. Pay close attention to what they want and how they want it submitted.

AMB: Now, on a lighter note, how about describing what you think would be a perfect day?

GY: It's lazy and spent alone. I'd wake early, drink coffee on my deck, enjoy time with God in the beauty of His creation. I’d either take a walk or read a book outside. I might swim and lay in the sun. By evening, I'd want to cook dinner for friends and spend the evening under the stars laughing, talking, and sharing together.

AMB: And—what would be your perfect vacation?

GY: My dream vacation includes sun and surf, a great novel, gourmet food, and the people I love—especially those who know my dream vacation also includes extended hours of time alone.

AMB: That’s all I want to ask—at least until the conference. There, that wasn’t too painful, was it?

GY: Only slightly. :-)

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