Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Jennifer Echols, Young Adult Author
When did you start writing fiction?
Grade school. My grandmother was an unpublished writer. I had her as an example, so it never occurred to me that writing was something I couldn’t do.
Why did you join RWA?
I joined in 1998 or so because I was so frustrated trying to get published, but I was too defensive about my writing to go to a local chapter meeting, and there wasn’t much activity online. In 2004 I made a renewed effort to publish a new manuscript. This time I decided that since what I had done before didn’t work, I would change what I was doing. I rejoined RWA, participated lots online, and actually went to meetings. And voila, I got a new agent in February 2005 and sold in July.
What was the most important thing you learned from being in a RWA chapter?
Other writers go through the same emotions I do and are just as frustrated and just as elated. Nobody else really understands, and to me, going to Southern Magic meetings each month is an invaluable rejuvenation and renewal.
Who influenced you the most?
My critique partners, Victoria Dahl and Catherine Chant. Even people who don’t want critique partners need go-to writing friends to whom they can spill their guts.
What reference book or website can you not live without?
The dictionary. You would be surprised how many writers don’t seem to open it, but I just sent back the second pass of my July release, LOVE STORY, and I made good use of it!
If you were to give advice to a newbie romance writer, what would be the most important thing?
Make sure you are writing every day, not just talking about writing or reading about writing or thinking about writing.
The little stuff like formatting, minutiae of grammar, that sort of thing. Your manuscript needs to be correct and presentable in general. But an agent will represent your work and an editor will buy it because they love the story, not because you did or didn’t use “whom” correctly.
If you had anything you could do over, pertaining to writing romance, what would it be?
I would have joined RWA and become an active member sooner, and I am not just sucking up on an RWA blog, I swear.
What is your favorite type of book to write?
As long as romance is the focus, it has a happy ending, and it’s funny, I’m there. So I write YA romantic comedies, YA romantic dramas with a lot of humor in them, and adult romantic comedies that don’t get published. Someday...
Now for the most important question - what do you believe makes a man sexy?
I am a sucker for a sense of humor--obviously!
Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies and men, and her books reflect that. Plus she's a rare creature in the Deep South, she loves hockey. Carla's married to her high school sweetheart and lives in Alabama.