Our very first “Industry Spotlight” guest is debut author Laurie Chance Smith, whose first book was released this spring. Laurie is a wife, mother, avid gardener, and native Texan. She is also an internationally published author and photographer with over 130 credits in adults’ and children’s magazines, and one of the most focused and dedicated authors I know!Hello, Laurie, and thank you so much for being my guest today. Your first book, SNAPSHOTS: FOCUS ON NATURE IN THE BIBLE, was released in April 2013. Congratulations! I know that you are unagented and did this on your own. I think it is important for people to realize that they can get published without an agent—can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
Thank you for inviting me as a guest on your blog, Becky. I have enjoyed writing since my earliest school days, but I really got interested in publication when my twin boys were around two. At that time, I felt my most important job was being a full-time mother, but I craved a creative outlet for myself. So I enrolled in a writing course, and that led to my first publication credit -- a puzzle entitled “Steely Snake” for Boys’ Quest magazine. I continue to work for magazines today and believe it is a wonderful way for writers to hone their skills and gain experience.In fact, my book Snapshots was published because I was writing for magazines! I submitted a nature story to a magazine that is published by Review and Herald Publishing Association (R&H), and the editor of that magazine encouraged me to continue sending her nature stories. The idea dawned that R&H might publish a book of nature stories in the Bible. So I wrote the proposal, they asked for the book, and here we are.
What inspired you to write this book?
I am a nature girl. While other people may squirm when they see a “yucky” bug, I fetch my field guide to research its life cycle. I enjoy being outdoors, taking hikes, following animal tracks, watching butterflies emerge from their cocoons, hugging trees, and feeling the wind in my hair. I live on a piece of property that has been in my family for generations, and I feel very connected to the Earth here. I tried to share a sense of that reverence for the natural world in Snapshots. I want to encourage people to honor the Divine by spending time in nature and protecting the Earth and every living thing.Can you tell us about your writing routine?
It changes day-to-day, and I am pretty relaxed about it at the moment. I’m working on two long-term projects and find that I do my best work when I allow myself time to doodle outside the lines. At other times, I write at a more harried pace. For example, when I am writing to a deadline and an editor is counting on me, I push myself to beat the deadline every time.Can you share a bit about the new projects that you have in the works?
Both of my current projects are fictional works. I am in the finishing/editing stage on one, and the brainstorming/outlining phase on another. I have published short fiction for magazines and am transferring that experience to books. It is fun and challenging to create new worlds along with the characters and stories that fill them.
You wrote and photographed for magazines for many years prior to publishing your first book. Any words of wisdom to all of the aspiring authors out there?Practice your writing skills every day. Make a list of your goals and the steps you plan to take to achieve them. Get involved in a writer’s group or find a writing buddy who will give you honest feedback on your work. Take writing courses or workshops.
Be true to yourself, but be flexible. Write what is on your heart, but be open to enjoying experiences that turn up in spontaneous ways. The doors that open will often come as a complete surprise! Walk through them!Thank you very much for having me here today, Becky. If any of your readers have further questions, they are welcome to contact me through my website: www.lauriechancesmith.com
Thanks so much for joining us, Laurie! Your website is beautiful, and I hope everyone reading takes a moment to check it out!
SNAPSHOTS: FOCUS ON NATURE IN THE BIBLE is available through online retailers, as well as from the publisher’s website (http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/snapshots.html)