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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Go with your Writing Inspiration: Author Interview with Walker Jean Mills

What inspired you to write The Good Dog?
I wrote the book in the summer of 2017. To be honest, I had no intention of writing a book. After tennis one morning, I was telling my dog, Charlie, what a good dog he is, and the words just came to me. I think God just put the words in my heart and I jotted down his message.

How long did it take to write your first draft?
The first draft took about 15 minutes. I read it and thought it was good. So, I sent it to my close friend Meegan and my cousin Diane to review and give me feedback. I chose them because I trust them and their candor- and they love dogs as much as I do.

Prior to this picture book, what was your publishing and writing background?
The only other publication I have released is The Ski Bum Cookbook- I think you can still find it in some ski homes in the Colorado area.

Your publisher is Covenant Books, Inc, which is an indie-publisher. Did you send your manuscripts out to other traditional publishers or agents prior to working with Covenant? Why did you decide to go with them?
After writing the book I did a little research on the web in search of a publishing company. The first company I came across was Covenant. I contacted them, they reviewed it, gave it the green light and the rest is history. 

Did you do your own formatting, editing, and illustrations?
They did the editing and I directed all of the illustrations (description of characters, what is happening in each scene, etc.) and we collaborated on formatting.

What was that process like?
The process was very long and at times frustrating. It took about a year from when the manuscript was submitted to them to the final product. But I am very unfamiliar with the publishing process so it might have been par for the course as per timelines to publish and release books.

What has pleasantly surprised you in the publishing process?
What has surprised me the most is that God always has a master plan for each of our lives. For a few years, I left my life in Aspen, CO and strove to enter the Colorado State Occupational Therapy Program in hopes to gain specific skills that would help people feel better about themselves (both emotionally and physically).

At the time, I had no idea I was also going to CSU to become a learn how to write with gravity, clarity, and brevity. Consequently, now I understand that I was at CSU not only to become an OT but also to acquire the skills needed to write a message that God wants all of us to hear through The Good Dog.

What type of promotions have you done for this book? What promotions have been the most successful in producing sales?
My friends and family have been the largest marketing tool for the book. I also think generating reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads have led to great exposure.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
To quote one of my favorite CSU professors, Lisa Fyffe: always write with “breadth and depth”...all the while being concise.

What message would you like parents and children to take away from your book?
Love. That God is Love. And he loves all of us just the same, no matter your wealth, your race, your nationality, your sins, your age, your IQ or your past. He loves us all so much.

Jesus showed us compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness. He wants us to do our best to do the exact same to others.

Any last words or tips?
If you feel God is putting it on your heart to say a kind word to a stranger, to check on a friend, to perhaps write a book- then well, “carpe diem.”

That’s all for today’s interview. If you like to learn more about this book and read the highly rated reviews, here’s how you can do that.

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