4 April 2014

Getting to know you with Shannon Taylor Vannatter and giveaway

Please welcome Shannon Taylor Vannatter to my blog today. I first read one of Shannons novels about 2 and a half years ago and love it. Have connected with her on the new goodreads group at https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/129196 and she is also giving one copy away.

1.    Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a pastor’s wife/stay at home mom. We live in very rural central Arkansas. Our son is twelve and is very active in sports. Our church is twelve miles west of our house and his school is twelve miles east of our house. We spend a lot of time running back and forth in a twenty-four mile radius.

2.    When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?
I loved the Dr. Suess books when I was little. When I was nine or so, I read The Little House on the Prairie books. The show was on then and I was an avid fan. In my teens, my mom introduced me to clean romance novels and I loved them. (Jenny here I loved Little House on the Prairie books also)

3.    Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and right write?
Inspirational Contemporary Romance. When I first started writing, I wrote romantic suspense. I think I went in that direction because I watched a lot of detective shows as a teenager and young adult. The problem with my romantic suspense was the bad guy got caught and the suspense got wrapped up long before the romance did.

I finally heard a speaker at a writer’s conference say that whatever genre you read the most is probably the genre you should write. It was an Aha moment for me and I hit my stride writing straight romance. A few of my books have a suspense element, but the romance is the focus.

4.    Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?
I wish I could remember the authors of those first romance novels I read. I know it was Harlequin and it was a clean line, but that’s all I remember. That first taste of romance definitely influenced me. And it’s surreal that I write for Harlequin’s inspirational line now.

5.    When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I was in my thirties. My husband’s work hours changed and my evenings were free. Our son wasn’t in the picture yet, so I suddenly had free time in the evenings. I went to the library to get some clean romance books and couldn’t find any.
At the same time, I’d had a story in my head since my teens. I’d move scenes around and add complications over the years. I thought it was a movie, but I didn’t want to go to Hollywood, so I’d pushed it to the back of my mind.
Not being able to find clean romance novels and that story collided. It finally hit me that it was a book. But I didn’t have a computer and I wasn’t that great of a typist. I decided that if I ever got a computer, I’d write it. Three years later, my father in law got a new computer and gave me his old one. As soon as it was plugged in and operational, I was writing the book. It got 52 rejection letters in 1999.
In 2013, I totally rewrote it from scratch, using all the knowledge gained from years of writer’s groups and conferences and Rodeo Queen was published.
6.    How did you go about becoming an author?
I wrote five books without ever attending a writer’s group meeting or conference, without ever reading anything about how to write. I just did it. Over two hundred rejection letters, a Print On Demand published book, and lots of frustration, I joined two writers groups and started attending conferences. I bought several books on writing, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer magazines.

After three years, it seemed like I wasn’t learning anything new, but I was still getting rejections. I googled Christian Writers Conferences and found American Christian Fiction Writers. I attended the conference for three years, before I finally joined the online group, and joined an online critique group. In 2008, I pitched a book to an editor with Heartsong Presents, which was owned by Barbour then. I got a request for the full and an offer for a three book contract in early 2009.       

7.    If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
I can’t imagine being anything else. I dallied with the idea of being an interior decorator several years ago. But then a friend of mine went into that business and it didn’t sound as fun or glamorous as I’d imagined. But I made the heroine in my latest release an interior decorator. With writing, I can have fun careers through my heroines.

8.    Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?
I love spending time with my family. I’m a homebody and I’m at my happiest doing something crafty.

9.    Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?
My husband has family in Texas and we love visiting there. I have cousins in Georgia and I spent some growing up years there, so I love going to see them. I’m not a vacation to somewhere I’ve never been just for the fun of it type. Vacation to me is visiting family I don’t get to see often.

10.  If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
My son, my husband, and my parents. That’s four, but I can’t leave anyone out. I’m pretty much about family. We live across a hayfield from my parents. My cousin lives across the dirt road and my aunt and uncle are moving to the end of the dirt road. I told you it’s rural. We do live on a paved highway, but you turn on the dirt road to get to our driveway. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and in laws live in a 20 mile radius except for the Texas, Georgia, and Missouri branch. (I have had a few say family and it refreshing to see, as it shows how much they mean to a person. Its also interesting to see how people read the question as it says 3 living people not 3 famous people although my 3 are not family I needed a 4th to even out the numbers a bit)
Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will be coming out soon.
Rodeo Song is another of my early attempts at writing. Back in the eighties, I went to a Michael Bolton concert. I loved his raspy voice. Halfway through the concert, he did his famous lobby run and sang Georgia on My Mind at the opposite end of the arena from the stage. That night, I dreamed I was in the lobby and he grabbed my hand. You know how dreams are—I wasn’t married. He took me on stage and sang Georgia to me. I thought the dream was funny and told my husband, family, and friends about it.

Years later, when I started writing, I decided it could be a book. It got several rejections. Last year when Harlequin gave the opportunity to continue my Texas rodeo series, I decided I could rewrite the one about the rock star. I rewrote it from scratch and the hero became a country star to fit the Texas theme and added a twist—the heroine he takes on stage was his high school sweetheart.

Also where we can find you on the web.
Website: shannonvannatter.com
Blog: shannonvannatter.com/blog
Facebook: http://facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stvannatter/

Twitter: @stvauthor

Rodeo Song
But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna's life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer. 

Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he'd be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he's found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. She lives in rural central Arkansas in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. Shannon writes inspirational contemporary romance and it took her nine years to get published in the traditional market.

Shannon hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as her characters struggle with real-life issues. Their journeys, from ordinary lives to extraordinary romance through Christ-centered relationships, demonstrate that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family and doing craft projects.

Shannon has offered one copy to a reader of my blog (international) if you would like to win this book please leave a comment either asking Shannon a question or a comment on the interview. Entries saying looks good or good interview please enter me will not be accepted. Please leave a way to contact you. You have til Friday 11th. April to enter.


Paula Vince said...

It's lovely to meet Shannon on your blog, Jenny. I just met her a few weeks ago online, when I was organising my blog tour.
Lovely to see you here, Shannon. Thanks for sharing how you chose your favourite genre, and the long journey it was to publication. I appreciate true stories which show what a long, but rewarding road it can be.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hey Ausjenny,
Thanks for having me here. I've enjoyed getting to know you on Goodreads.

Hi Paula,
Good to 'see' you here. I'm looking forward to hosting you in May.

Beth said...

Hi Shannon, I really liked your book 'White Roses'. Is there any connection between that book and this one?

Thanks for the interview Jenny. I know you already have my details :)

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hey Beth,
Thanks for making my day. I'm so glad you enjoyed White Roses. The White series is different series than my Rodeo series. White Doves and White Pearls complete the first series set in Arkansas. All three books are available in one volume titled Arkansas Weddings.
Rodeo Song is the 6th book in my Texas rodeo Song. The connection is the author. Both series have lots of complications and lots of romance. And the rodeo series isn't just about the rodeo - but it's set at the Fort Worth Stockyards and at least one character in each book works there in some capacity. All of the rodeo books, white books, and Arkansas Weddings are available as e-books now.
Each book stands alone, but if you read them all, there are connecting threads.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Ooops, I meant Rodeo Song is the 6th book in my Texas rodeo series. I'm not a morning person and my brain doesn't kick in until noon :)

Katrina Epperson said...

What a wonderful interview. I love that interior design interested you. I am glad you decided on writing as I love your books. The new release looks very good. I love the storyline.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hey Katrina,
I'm always painting rooms in our house. I sew curtains, curtain toppers, and bedspreads. I've made almost all of the window treatments in our house. And I've made everything for my son's room since he was born. We've been through Noah's Ark, Bob the Builder, Spiderman, and Arkansas Razorback themes. He's twelve now and his room is hunting and camouflage.
My office is done in seashells with a beach theme. Every spring, all the stores have new beach theme items and I drool over it. But I'm running out of room and I try not to get too cluttered since my office is in a corner of the living room.
I'm so glad you love my books. I love hearing that and it never gets old.

Jennifer Smith said...

I enjoyed the interview! It sounds like we have some things in common, Shannon. I wouldn't want to be anything other than a writer either, but I enjoy "experiencing" new things through the characters I create. I also enjoy myself the most when I'm home with family working on a project--writing or otherwise.

Jennifer Smith said...

Oops, email address is jennismith1983(at)gmail(dot)com :)

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hey Jennifer,
What do you write?
There's no place like home. My husband and son love to go, go, go, go. Sometimes, I just let them go instead of trying going with them.

PurlingPenny said...

Hello Shannon, lovely to meet you via the web. I'm always on the look for new to me authors. At the present, we are under a winter storm warning, and there's snow swirling madly outside my windows. I could use some romance! I appreciate your commitment to family, I feel the same about mine.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Shannon - what a great interview. I especially liked the fact that you had a story you couldn't sell, but learned the craft, powered on through several rejections, and finally succeeded! Love that about writing - we can't give up. Blessings to you. davalynnspencer at hotmail dot com

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hy Purling Penny,
Nice to meet you too. We're in tornado season in Arkansas. It was 78 and terribly humid yesterday. The storms hit last night and I stayed up until 2:00 am watching warnings. Storms never worried me until our son was born. Before I didn't worry about dying, but now I don't want him to not have a mother - even though he's 12. We only got thunderstorms last night. It's windy and cooler today.

Book 5 in this series, Rodeo Queen was the first book I ever wrote back in 1999. When I use an old book, I don't try to fix the old version, I start over and apply everything I know about writing now. I've gotten all of my early attempts published at this point except three. There on the agenda.
I've heard writers say they have old manuscripts that will never see the light of day. I don't believe in that. I wrote those books because I loved the characters and their stories. They deserve to see the light of day.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

For the record, I know how to spell Hey, it's not Hy. And They're on the agenda. Not There on the agenda. I'm going to have to start using that preview tab. My fingers aren't working with me today.

Jenny Blake said...

Thanks to all who visited today while I slept. Beth I loved White Roses also.
Penny so good to see you here.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

What time is it there, Jenny?

Jenny Blake said...

Its now 7.30am.
had a rough night found the side effect of this drug is a dry mouth and half the night I had to sip water so didn't get much sleep.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

We stayed up until 2:00 am watching the weather since we were under a tornado warning and got up at 7:00 am. I'm a night owl, so staying up late was no problem, but getting up that early was a problem. I took my friend to dinner for her birthday tonight. Had fun, but I'm zonked. It's 11:00 pm here now.

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