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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Be Kind to Yourself: Author Interview with J. Carol Nemeth

Tell me about your writing journey. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
My parents encouraged my siblings and I to read since we were very young, and I loved to read. When I was about thirteen, my mother introduced me to Grace Livingston Hill. I devoured her books as fast as I could check them out of the library, generally a book a day. By junior high school, I decided if Grace could write, then so could I. Then began my writing journey.

When did you write your first novel?
I wrote my first novel, Yorkshire Lass, when we lived in England where my husband was a contractor on a US/Royal Air Force base and where our daughter was born in 1990. It wasn’t until after we returned to the US that I began the difficult process of getting Yorkshire Lass published. It would take over twenty years of rejections, discouragement, putting it aside, revisions and trying again.

Then more rejections, asking God if this was really what He wanted me to do, trying again, then more rejections, revisions and so for forth. I even asked God that if Yorkshire Lass wasn’t to be published, then take away my desire to write. I’m thankful He doesn’t listen to our desperate and foolish requests.

Did you continue writing?
I had written another book except for the ending. That book is Mountain of Peril, Faith in the Parks, Book 1. I lost count of the attempts I made until my current publisher, Winged Publications, took a chance on me. A fellow author friend of mine had recently been published by this publisher. I read her book, and at the end I saw the publisher’s information. Browsing the website for the criteria, I decided I had nothing to lose by sending her my chapters and synopsis. She could only reject me like so many before her.

That was on a Saturday. By Tuesday I had a contract for Yorkshire Lass. That was God’s hand and His timing. After so many years, He had provided the right publisher in His time, not mine.

Mountain of Peril is the only other book I’ve published from my pre-published days. It was written in response to my job in the National Park Service. After Yorkshire Lass was published, I decided to complete Mountain of Peril, update it and publish it as the first in my park service series. I’m writing the fifth and final book in the Faith in the Parks Series now.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I suppose the hardest part of writing for me would be edits. I generally flow pretty well with my writing, but when it comes to edits, that’s where I falter. That’s why I have an amazing editor. I do my own first edits then I send my manuscript off to my editor to work her magic.

What does your editor remind you to do most often?
Grammar is NOT my strong suit. She would say I generally have one or two epic run-on sentences in every manuscript. I’m attempting to work on that, but I seem to always get my manuscript back with at least one marked “Epic run-on.” She’s taught me so much! I love her to death. She’s amazing. The Lord brought me the perfect editor for me.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
When a reader contacts me to tell say how much they’ve enjoyed one of my books. I had a message from one of my readers just yesterday. She told me my books bring her joy. That brought me joy. That makes all the time and effort worth it. I love writing, and I love it when someone shares with me how much they love my writing. That’s why I write, after all. For the readers to enjoy my books.

We have all experienced writing rejection. How have you learned to write past it?
Other than rejections from publishing houses, I haven’t had to deal with real rejection. However, I did have a woman unsubscribe from my monthly newsletter because she disagreed with a historical and spiritual article I wrote at Easter. She wrote a harsh comment as to why she was unsubscribing and why she disagreed with my spiritual belief.

I responded as gently as I could while still standing up for my faith. She again responded in bitter tones. I decided not to respond a second time, refusing to be drawn into a spiritual debate. I knew nothing I said would change her mind. Only the Holy Spirit could do that. I merely prayed for her. I was saddened, one that she was so bitter, and two, by the belief that she carries. It has nothing to do with true salvation through Jesus Christ.

Although this incident had nothing to do with my writing, other than an article I wrote, it took me a while to get past it. Not because of the loss of a subscriber. Not at all. But because there was nothing I could do but pray for this woman and leave her in the hands of the Holy Spirit to work in her heart.

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
To be kind to myself. I have a tendency to crack the whip a bit hard, and I’ve learned that because of my husband’s schedule, I have to be a bit fluid in mine. Being “Gumby” has become my motto. I still get to the deadline. I just have to work around things, and I think that’s something every author faces from time to time.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
The advice that was given to me: read, read, read. You can’t write well if you don’t read a lot.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
If you want to write well, if you have to write a lot. I’ve recently had some family issues back to back with a lengthy illness that took me away from my writing. I can understand what a plant must feel like that’s starved of water. That’s the pull I feel for my writing when I can’t do it. I’m starving to get back to it, and it takes a bit to get back into it when you do. Oh, but how great it is when you’re writing again. You feel like you’ve come home.

What is the next book coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
There are actually two projects I’m working on. It’s my privilege to be included in a collection of novellas that will be released on October 12th. It’s available for pre-order now for .99. The title is Dangerous Pursuits and is up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple. There are fifteen awesome authors in this collection I am so blessed to be among them.

My next book is entitled Battlefield of Deceit, Faith in the Parks Book 5. It’s the final book in this series. It takes place at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. Our heroine is a historian, and she along with a fellow historian work to discover if a battlefield house that’s been sold to the park is worth restoring. Two diaries, one given and one on loan to the park, bring some rather mysterious information. The body of a civil war soldier is found in the root cellar of the house. A park policeman is also involved in the story as a murder takes place.

Sounds like an intriguing backdrop for a story. If you’d like to learn more about Carol’s books, here are some links to get you started.

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