Tanya Hanson enjoys life near the beach with her firefighter husband. Theyâ€™re busy getting ready for their daughterâ€™s wedding this summer, and their son and daughter-in-law have given them a totally adorable two-year-old grandsonâ€”the ring bearer. Her newest book is Marrying Minda (Wild Rose Press), a Western tale of a mail-order bride and the wrong groom.
If you could travel back in time to before you were first published, what advice would you give yourself?
If I could go back in time to before I was first published . . . Iâ€™d definitely not wait until my kids went off to college to write and submit. Saying I was â€œtoo busyâ€ was just an excuse and, I suppose, a fear of failure.
Some other things I learned:
1. Check your pen name early on. I didnâ€™t and now share cyberspace with a porn star of the same name.
2.Remember that nobody dies from rejection. Gnash your teeth for a day, then move on.
3.Write what you love, not whatâ€™s trendy at the moment. If you donâ€™t, writingâ€™s a chore and whatâ€™s the point?
4. Enter contests. Itâ€™s such a feel-good thing when you do well, and the comments are helpful if you donâ€™t. It might open some doors. And practically speaking, having to follow directions and prepare a perfect manuscript is great training. My current release, Marrying Minda, placed first in two RWA chapter fiction contests, and Outlaw Bride is a finalist in the Romance through the Ages Contest sponsored by the RWA online chapter Hearts Through History.
5.Ease up on e-loops, mySpace, Facebook, and twitter. All that can really get in the way of writing time. My editor encourages two full hours of writing before going online, although I must confess Iâ€™m not there yet.
6.Read! I got a recumbent bike both for exercise and for a dedicated time for reading. Reading good literature helps with such things as varying sentence beginnings and structures, increasing vocabulary, and improving your own grammar skills when you see our language done well. Can you tell I taught high school English forever?
7.Take advantage of workshops and online classes. The book Iâ€™m finishing now took an unexpected turn thanks to a plotting class I recently took.
8.And last but not least, forget about your mom and Great Aunt Edna reading your books when you write love scenes.