March 9, 2019
mandyevebarnett 1 Vote
-What inspired your latest novel?
Before Remaining Aileen was, Remaining Aileen the novel, she was an idea I had for a screenplay. A few years back, around 2014 I had this super vivid vision of a young mom, who was on a plane that was falling from the sky. All hope is lost. Her thoughts revolve around never seeing her children, or husband again, and the devastating reality that she is going to die. Until she wakes up, alive, completely unharmed- or so it appears.
This scene became the inciting incident that would propel Aileen along her journey, as well as what started me down my path of becoming a writer.
At the suggestion of my amazing husband, Aileen became a novel instead of a screenplay, and now she is about to be released into the world and I truly still, cannot believe it. Fun fact, my very first title idea was Vampire Mom, and it was going to be this light-hearted story of a mom who becomes a vampire, until I realized just how HARD it would be to actually try and be a mom and a vampire. While I do keep some light-heartedness in the story, it did end up taking a bit of a darker/ more emotional turn (which I am so excited about) than I originally was planning. But if there is one thing I have learned about writing stories, is that they seem to tell you what they want to be regardless of your original intentions. It’s best to just see where it takes you sometimes!
–How did you come up with the title?
My first idea for a title for this book was Vampire Mom, but as the story unfolded it just didn’t fit anymore. My main character Aileen really struggles with her new “life” as a vampire and does all she can to try and make her new life fit back with in her old one. So Remaining Aileen felt a little more descriptive of her goal and struggle within the story.
How much of the book is realistic?
In many ways Aileen’s story into motherhood is based on my own inner struggles I went through while learning how to be a mom, but overall, this being a vampire story, it’s not exactly realistic.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think my characters are all inspired in some way by either people I know, have known, or maybe would like to know! But no one character is based on anyone specific.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
My website is www.autumnlindsey.com
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
I do have plans for a sequel for Remaining Aileen, Aileen still has a way to go in her story and I’m excited to share the rest of it when the time comes!
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
One of favorite character’s ended up being Ana, Aileen’s Mother-in-Law. There is just something about her bulldog “don’t mess with me or my family” attitude that I deeply admire. Ana would do anything for the ones she loves.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I really enjoy writing within the speculative/paranormal realm of things. While Remaining Aileen is Women’s Fiction I prefer to add a speculative twist to it rather than normal/real-life type things.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I plan my stories. I need to have a clear vision for what my beginning, middle, and end will be before I dive in and write.
What is your best marketing tip?
I am so new to the world of marketing, so far, I don’t have enough experience to give any tips but if I end up with any I will gladly share!
-Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
I find social media to be more of a tool than a hindrance for me. It’s where I have found my support network for my writing, as well as a place I can connect with readers. I have made some really amazing writer friends through my social media platforms.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
What I enjoy most about writing is when you get that initial idea. The spark. That single immeasurable moment where what did not exist now exists and it’s such a great feeling. My next favorite moment is writing the words “The End”. I’ve never felt more accomplished then writing those two words at the end of my first finished draft.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I was 28.
Where is your favorite writing space?
My favorite place to write is my white oak desk my husband crafted for me. We hand selected each board that went into it together, and the fact he made it for me makes it so special.
-Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I started my own writing group of sorts called Writer Moms Inc., a support group for mom writers on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. While Writer Moms Inc. mostly holds an online presence, I do try my best to meet up with my local writer mom friends and chat about all things writing and mom life, as well as encourage the members of WMI to do the same where they live!
-If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
I have two authors actually I would love to meet, share a cup of tea with and chat about writing and life. The first is Anne Rice, because well, she’s Anne Rice! I really feel like her vampire stories were the precursor to many of the vampire fiction/movies/TV I love to watch.
I would also love to meet Stephanie Meyer. My whole inspiration for becoming a writer was because of reading Twilight, so I would love to have the chance to meet her in person and gush all about how amazing she is and how grateful I am that she put her stories out into the world.
-If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
I actually quite love where I currently live, in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada range, however, I really love the Pacific North West so if I could live anywhere I might head up north!
-Do you see writing as a career?
I would really like being a published author to become my career. After Remaining Aileen, I will have her sequel to write, and then I have a few other novel ideas floating around I’d love to develop and publish.
-Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
I don’t tend to eat while writing, but coffee or tea is a must!
-What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
Usually, my rewards for reaching deadlines, or completing drafts is to stay up at late as I want catching up on all the Netflix I missed while writing!
How to Hide That You’re a Vampire Mom, An Interview With Autumn Lindsey
February 2, 2019
Autumn Lindsey writes women’s fiction with characters that bite. Her forthcoming novel, Remaining Aileen, is about a mom with a very dangerous secret. She lives in Northern California with her husband and kids. I talked with Autumn about her debut novel, her online group, Writer Moms, and an interesting way she handled writerly rejection.
When did you first become interested in writing fiction? Have you written stories since you were a child or did you come to writing as an adult?
I didn’t become interested in writing fiction until 2014 while writing screenplays with my husband, so just before I turned 30. However, as a child I loved reading and writing stories and poems.
Once you knew you wanted to be a serious writer, what approach did you take to educating yourself on the craft? Did you go through any school programs, join groups, read books, etc.?
I have no formal training or schooling when it comes to writing, so I took to the internet (blogs, Writer’s Digest, etc.) to figure it all out.
The Hidden Life of a Vampire
Your forthcoming novel is entitled Remaining Aileen. Can you tell us more about it?
Remaining Aileen is (in short) about a mom who becomes a vampire. The deeper “about” story is that it’s an exploration of the changes that come with motherhood. Sometimes you choose motherhood, sometimes it chooses you, but regardless of how you became a mom it changes you, sometimes for the best, sometimes not, and oftentimes a mix of both. In Aileen’s case her “change” is in the very visual form of becoming a whole different creature.
Before Aileen was Remaining Aileen the novel, she was an idea I had for a screen play. A few years back, around 2014, I had this super vivid vision of a young mom, who was on a plane that was falling from the sky. All hope is lost. Her thoughts revolve around never seeing her children or husband again, and the devastating reality that she is going to die. Until she wakes up, alive, completely unharmed — or so it appears.
The Journey of a Story
This scene became the inciting incident that would propel Aileen along her journey. It’s also what started me down my path of becoming a writer. At the suggestion of my amazing husband, Aileen became a novel instead of a screenplay. Now she is about to be released into the world and I truly still cannot believe it.
Fun fact: my very first title idea was Vampire Mom. It was going to be this light-hearted story of a mom who becomes a vampire until I realized just how HARD it would be to actually try and be a mom and a vampire. While there is some light-heartedness in the story, it did take a darker, more emotional turn than I originally planned. But if there is one thing I have learned about writing stories, it’s they tell you what they want to be regardless of your original intentions. It’s best to just see where it takes you sometimes!
For Every Rejection, a Plant
You’ve mentioned when you were in the querying stage for Remaining Aileen, you engaged in a fun and unusual form of self-care. You bought a plant for almost every time you received a rejection. How did that start?
I honestly didn’t realize I was buying plants in correlation to my rejection emails until I was about 30 rejections in. Then I realized each day I got a rejection email, I tended to buy a plant on either that day or soon after.
What did acquiring plants do for your soul? Did it soothe pain?
To me, plants represent growth. The querying process was such a learning period for me as a new writer. Rejection is tough, really tough, but think of it as the fertilizer necessary for you to grow as a person and as a writer.
Do you know how many plants you have in total? What are your favorites and why?
I actually had to go count for this one. It’s been a while since I’ve done a headcount of my plants. In total, I have 83 (not including all my little starters sitting in water on my kitchen windowsill). I did lose a few plants as well in the learning process of keeping houseplants. Ferns are VERY hard for me to keep alive.
The only ferns I seem to be able to keep are my bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus) and two staghorn ferns (Platycerium superbum) that I have in my bathroom. My absolute favorite plants are my Monstera deliciosa, fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata), and ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia). I am also fond of my rubber plants (Ficus elastica) as well, but nothing beats a giant monstera!
You live in the woods of Northern California. Are you both an indoor plant person and an outside gardener?
Currently I am sticking to indoor plants. Our backyard is on the “to-do” list for our home renovations (we’ve lived in this house for only a year now) so the yard is off limits as far as gardening, though I am itching to get a backyard garden going as soon as I can!
Support for the Writing Mother
You founded an incredibly supportive group on social media for women writers with children. It’s called Writer Moms. What was the impetus for it?
Writer Moms Inc. is my way of making sure writing moms have a safe and positive place of support for their writing. I feel very fortunate to have a supportive family when it comes to my writing endeavors, but I do know many women don’t have that. Writer Moms Inc. serves as a place where women can come to find whatever support they need in not only their writing lives but their mom lives as well. It’s quite the balancing act isn’t it? They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I also believe it takes a village to raise a mother, and in this case, a writer mom!
When will Remaining Aileen be released to the world? And where can readers buy it?
Remaining Aileen is set to be released this MAY! Since it is a book about a mom, I thought May, somewhere near Mother’s Day, would be a fitting month for a release. Hopefully, that will all work out! It will be available through Amazon and I am unsure of other options yet, but I will definitely post about it as soon as I know! I also believe it will be available for pre-order sometime this March.
Autumn lives with her husband and three kids in a deep, dark, magical forest. She is the founder Writer Moms Inc. so if you happen to be a writer mom in search of community and support, check it out! She’d love to have you join! Also, watch for Remaining Aileen in May 2019 from Magnolia Press.
This month’s 5 Questions is with Autumn Lindsey, the founder of Writer Moms Inc., an excellent resource for any mom who is also a writer, no matter what genre you write or what stage you are at in your writing. There is a website, Facebook group, Twitter account, a weekly Twitter chat (
#WM_chat) and now Writer Mom U, offering affordable writing classes.
And Autumn recently announced that her debut novel Remaining Aileen will be published by Magnolia Press in 2019!
5 Questions…with Autumn Lindsey
1. Why did you decide to start the Writer Mom group?
I started Writer Moms Inc. because at the time (this was back in 2016) I wanted to find a group I could join that supported writer moms in both their writer and mom lives and my search came up short. So, at the suggestion of a few other writer moms also looking for such a community I decided to start my own! We are now an online community, mainly on Facebook, but also Twitter and Instagram (@writermomsinc) of over 600 writer moms all in different places in our writing and mom-ing journeys.
2. What do you think is the hardest part about juggling motherhood and writing?
I know this will be so different depending on each mom, but for myself there are a couple of things that make it hard for me.
One being the time- There is no “finding” time in my average writer mom day, I have to just “take” time and I need to be purposeful about that if I’m to get anything useful done. I often waste a lot of this time to be honest and I’m getting better about using my time better especially if I ever want to actually see my book on shelves one day.
Second is giving myself the validation that I am actually a writer. This mindset also helps with being able to let myself make my writing a priority versus only viewing it as a side hobby.
3. What is something you’ve learned that you wish you had known when you first started writing?
This is a very hard question to answer, partly because I still feel “new” to this writing game but I probably would have liked to have gotten to know some writing friends sooner. I think it would have helped to have had a circle of others to ask questions to, get feedback from, in those earlier writing days.
4. What is your greatest accomplishment so far as a writer?
My absolute, greatest accomplishment that I think will always and forever consider my greatest accomplishment as a writer was completing that first novel. Thinking back to when I type my very first “the end” brings back all sorts of wonderful feels!
5. What are some good books you’ve recently read (any genre) that you would recommend to others?
I’m currently addicted to the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I’m in the middle of the second book in the series and it’s so good. If you like witches and vampires AND history, you will love this series. But my all time favorite/most impactful book I read this past year was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was so imaginative and made me dream of black and white circus tents filled with magic and wonder and all sorts of wonderful curiosities. I now want to try and write a book within the tone of that book.
It’s been a little over six months since I started down the rabbit hole to Queryland and I have learned SO much. So, I thought I’d share a little about what I’ve learned about writing and submitting query letters so you can avoid some of the mistakes I have made.
Do Your Research
First things first, make sure you are ready to query. And I don’t just mean the-book-is-done ready. I mean you’ve done your homework on query/synopsis writing and you’re now a pro.
In case you aren’t quite sure what a query letter is, it’s a sales pitch.
In a few paragraphs you are going to tell agents and or publishers about your book and get them so hooked and wanting to know more that they request a partial or full of your manuscript.
Make sure you’ve researched what agent might fit best for your work, meaning you know and understand your novel’s category, genre, sub-genres, and word counts. Once you know these things you’ll be ready to send out your answer to all those manuscript wish lists (#MSWL) floating around out there.
Proofread Before Pressing Send
I swore up and down I was ready to submit query letters back in September. I had THE query letter that my editor and I spend a ton of time on perfecting (which she did an amazing job by the way, the errors that happened were thanks to my own after additions) and sent it to my top choice DREAM agents.
After re-reading the email I’d just sent to said agent my heart sank. I wasn’t ready and I knew then (after it was too late) I should have had more feedback first. There were mistakes (remember how I mentioned I added to my letter… don’t do that) that needed other eyes to see because mine were so starry-eyed I couldn’t.
My friends, I MISSPELLED my dream agent’s name WRONG in the subject line… THE SUBJECT LINE. The first line this agent or her assistant will see in their inbox. I wrote that one off as an automatic no… and 3 months later I did receive my rejection letter.
Consider Hiring Help
A few months later, after correcting my errors, I still wasn’t getting the responses I was hoping for. So, I revamped my query. I hired MM Finck, who is a query wiz, and what she did to my letter was eye opening.
I had the approach all wrong. The focus of my letter wasn’t giving the overall feel of the main points/plot of the story. I was too focused on the emotional journey of my main character I forgot to add in the actual details of the plot… agents need to understand your plot through your query. I had much better results once my letter switched its focus.
Join a Supportive Writing Community
So, aside from your book being completed, doing your agent homework, and getting that second (or more) sets of eyes on your query letter, it is imperative that you DON’T go wander through Queryland alone.
Rejection is hard my friends. HARD. I’ve had lots of it in the last 6 months. Mostly in the form of the necessary evil called a FORM REJECTION. I understand why they are used, however they sting and quickly make you question anything and everything about yourself and your abilities as a writer.
With personalized rejection letters few and far between, I can’t stress enough how important having a good support team behind you is.
There are many querying groups out there you can join through Facebook or Twitter where you will find others to celebrate or commiserate with since they too are deep within the query trenches.
I created Writer Moms Inc for this reason. Pen and Parent has a Facebook group of supportive writers as well. These are great places to find other writers to get those other sets of eyes and feedback on your query letter and pitches as well.
Not only have you already laid your heart open and bleeding on the pages of your precious story, you are now shopping it around, hoping beyond hope that an agent will take notice and love your work just as much as you do.
Which leads us to another important thing I’ve learned (and it ties into doing your agent research) look for an agent that will be as excited about your book as you are. If not MORE excited than you are.
Don’t Give Up Hope
You want someone that will fight for you. Your agent should be someone who will do everything in their power to help your book reach its fullest publishing potential!
Now, I haven’t found an agent yet for myself, which brings me to my last point: Try to keep in mind that your book, however amazing it is, might not be right for the current traditional publishing market. It’s the hard truth that many of us submitting query letters don’t want to acknowledge.
For example, I am querying a paranormal women’s fiction story. Paranormal, as in vampires, aren’t exactly on many manuscript wish lists right now (I will add though, recently I’ve been seeing a few agents asking for vampires again).
So, if you are like me and your genre perhaps isn’t quite right for the current traditional market, DON’T give up hope!
Your book doesn’t have to go hide in a drawer yet. There are so many amazing publishing options available these days.
Between small presses and self-publishing, you don’t have to lose hope if that right agent just isn’t coming along or you aren’t quite right for the current market.
Remember above all else, YOU WROTE A BOOK! And that is something to be proud of! Celebrate it!
Let the immense power of what a huge accomplishment that is sink in and fuel you as you begin your journey through submitting query letters. You will need all the sunshine and rainbows you can store.
So be ready, do your homework, find the support you need to keep you going, and explore ALL your publishing options! Happy querying everyone, may all your publishing dreams come true!
I thought I was alone.
Of course, I knew there were other moms who wrote just like me out there typing out there hearts while a child sat in her lap. But I didn’t there was another mother trying to help writing moms. Not only that, but we had a proper name.
She changed my mind with this. Helped me realize that writer moms are not alone, not even in the area of helping them. She has a Facebook group, like mine and will soon open her own site dedicated to writer moms.
And we collaborated by starting a publication on Medium called Writer Mom. I am glad to have met her, not only because of her dreams but because of who she is, a kind, encouraging, and beautiful writer mom.
As you will see, too.
1. Please, tell us about your family.
I have three kiddos. My older son is eight and everyday I am blown away by his sweet little creative imagination. He builds amazing worlds of his own at his Lego table and constantly talks about all the movies and inventions he wishes to make someday. I can’t wait to see what he grows up to do.
My daughter is about turn seven but I can already see the amazing young woman she is growing up into. Already we sit together over coffee (for her hot cocoa) and talk about life. She’s just taken an interest in script writing and I couldn’t be more proud!
My youngest boy is five and a half. He’s a ham with a soft side for his mama. Even though he is in Kindergarten he still finds time to come snuggle up to me. They say your youngest will always be your baby and I’m finding how true this is. My husband is my greatest support, my biggest cheerleader, and (this might sound sappy) my best friend.
2. You’ve written a book. We’d love to hear about it. Where did the idea come from?
I did write a book! Which still feels so strange to say, especially since writing was never something I had on my radar. It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that my husband and I started writing some little screenplays together when the bug to write bit me.
So my book is titled REMAINING AILEEN. In short, it’s about a mom who becomes a vampire. The long version is its about motherhood and all its messy, joyous, terrifying glory. Becoming a mom changed me, as I’m sure it’s changed many of us, and I think we often come to a point where we as moms realize we are no longer the same person we were before. Some moms take that in stride and wear it proud, others deeply struggle through those changes, and I’m sure some most of us have a little bit of both that we deal with. In my own life this struggle didn’t become apparent to me until my youngest turned 2. I suddenly felt lost and unsure where the person I was before ran off to… I wasn’t even sure when she ran off in the first place.
This is where REMAINING AILEEN comes in. Here is my little book pitch:
Aileen knew motherhood would change her. She never expected those changes to come with a taste for blood, dangerous secrets, and a handsome yet unpredictable stranger.
Aileen is a mom of two, who (like me) had her kids young and (also like me) had trouble ever letting go of the idea that she could still live a life outside of being just a mom. She is at this point of feeling lost, seeing the toll motherhood has taken on her physically and mentally, and she needs a break. Lucky for Aileen, her sweet mother-in-law gifts her a trip to Miami to visit her childhood friend for her 30th birthday. Unlucky for Aileen, her plan crashes soon after take off. She survives, but is the only one. As the story progresses and Aileen begins a decline in both physical and mental health after the crash, the truth of her survival is soon revealed: she didn’t ever survive the crash in the first place. Dun dun dunnnn…Here is my little book pitch:
Aileen knew motherhood would change her. She never expected those changes to come with a taste for blood, dangerous secrets, and a handsome yet unpredictable stranger.
3. What’s your favorite social media tool and why?
It’s a tie between Twitter and Facebook really. They both play sort of hand in hand with each other. I love the dynamic writing communities Twitter has to offer which often leads to more personal community groups on Facebook.
4. What does being a writer mom mean to you?
To me, being a writer mom is pretty special. Not that any other type of writer isn’t, but as a writer mom I have the opportunity to not only share my passion of story with the world, but also with my children. I want them to know that any dream they have, is possible if they try and I want to teach them that by example. Maybe they won’t reach the outcome they originally thought, but I know they will learn something amazing about themselves in the process of trying.
To me, being a writer mom is pretty special. I have the opportunity to not only share my passion of story with the world, but also with my children.
5. Writers are readers. What’s your favorite genre and book that started your love of it?
Oh wow, I’m not sure I have just one favorite genre, but I love anything that isn’t quite set in our reality. So maybe fantasy/speculative/science/paranormal fiction? Anything with magic, things unexplained, creatures with pretty faces and pointy teeth, *wink wink*.
The books that really started me down this path of reading these genres as well as writing was The Twilight Saga. Why? I don’t know exactly, but there was something in the last book, when Bella becomes a mom AND a vampire that I started thinking, “wow, what an interesting concept.” I have trouble sitting still through true to life fiction no matter how great of a story it is, I can’t help but hope they turn into some magical creature at some point.
My current favorite read right now is A DISCOVER OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness. It’s fun!
6. You’re querying now. What’s the best tip you’ve learned from this process?
The best advice I can give you from the short six months I’ve been querying is:
-Be super prepared. As in your book is ready to be published, done. You should already have had many, many revisions, beta readers, critique partners, maybe even hire a professional editor before you even think of sending out that first query (not to mention you need a killer query letter). The more ready your book is to sell, the better your chances of catching the eye of an agent.
-Have an immense amount of patience. It might take you a few weeks to get an agent’s attention, it might be months, or possibly even years. There are thousands of agents out there and it might take time to find them, but having said that, even if your book is perfect, and agents like it, there is still a chance the overall publishing market won’t be interested. Just know it’s not always a reflection on you as a writer or person, it’s business. You are offering a product that publishers only want if it will pay off for them in the end. So, as I’m finding right now for myself, the market for vampire novels just isn’t there right now and I’m still thinking through what my next move might be with that.
-You need to have a good grasp on the fact you will face a lot of rejection. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. In the six months I have been querying I have received over 60 rejections, either in the form of an actual (usually form) rejection letter, or by no response at all. Very little feedback will come your way, and with that lots of doubt will find its way in, hold tight and keep going. If you truly believe in your story and want to see your book published (in one form or another) then stay strong, you got this! Fun fact, I have acquired a large collection of plants over the last few months and I realized after a bit that each time I got a rejection email, I was buying plants not too long after. My house is literally turning into a jungle.
-My last piece of advice is don’t do this alone. Find a community of writers you connect with, either online or in person, who are going through the trenches with you. I promise the rejections will sting a little less knowing you aren’t the only one receiving them.
The best advice I can give you from the short six months I’ve been querying is be super prepared, be patient, and don’t do it alone.
7. What do you wish someone would ask but no one ever does?
Hmm, I’ve never really thought about this actually!
I do have this crazy idea for a show where a couple dog-naps rich peoples dogs and waits till they post a reward poster, in which their alter-ego as “so and so’s doggy detective service” goes and “finds their dogs” to collect the rewards with 100% success… anyways no one ever asks me about my odd TV series ideas, haha.
Thank you for letting me interview you, Autumn.
Joy E. Rancatore
October 19, 2017
Today rounds out my series on writing community. And, I’m joined by a fellow writer mom, Autumn Lindsey! She is part of my writing community and started an even larger part of that community, Writer Moms Inc.! This group amazes me with the warmth and genuine care and concern the members share with one another and the interest they show each other’s writing. I just can’t wait to show you more!
So, let’s hop right in and get to know all about the lovely and talented Autumn!
Joy: Please share with us a little about your family, hobbies and writing. What makes you get up and GO? (After a mama-sized cup of coffee, of course!)
Autumn: I’ll start with the basics: I am a 32-year-old mom of three. My kids are ages 5, 6, and 7. This is the first year they are ALL in school; and, honestly, I feel like I have reached the promised land for SAH/WAH (stay at home, write at home) moms.
My husband has a fun job, he’s a Director of Photography for commercial/corporate video work in the San Fransisco/ Bay Area. (However, if you are reading this blog and you happen to be Steven Spielberg or any other big-time Hollywood director, he would gladly shoot narrative!)
I live in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains in California, not far from South Lake Tahoe and only inches away from Historic Gold Country. I love that I live near such beauty and history—I really like history stuff.
I haven’t always been a writer. I began writing about 3 years ago after my husband and I wrote a short screenplay together for fun. I realized I really enjoyed it and began writing my first novel, which I am currently querying!
What makes me get up and go? Well, coffee of course! But really—and here is the sappy version—it is my family; they are my life and the reason for everything I do.
Joy: So much WOW in your story!! I may have gotten a little teary when you shared how your writing got started. So sweet!! My hubby and I have talked about writing together, too; so you may have tossed a little inspiration my way to make that happen. Sidenote: If any big-time directors are reading this, please comment on this post! I might cry! And, if they hire your hubby, I’ll be looking for my invitation to the premiere.
Obviously, your family is a huge part of your writing community; just like mine is for me! When you think of a “writing community,” what comes to mind?
Autumn: I feel there are a lot of different things “writing community” can be. Anywhere from your immediate circle of family and friends, to an actual, physical writer/critique group, to online communities like Twitter and Facebook. I think as long as you are finding support and community with your writing from something, you are on the right track.
Writing might be a solo thing to do; however, I know for myself how much the support of others is SO necessary for me to push forward. Writing is too long a journey to travel alone.
Joy: You are so right about that!! It can be an incredibly long trek for sure!
Who is your writing community?
Autumn: Aside from the vast community I have found through Writer Moms Inc. and social media and my husband/family, I meet once a month with a wonderful group of women writers where we share and critique our works (in a cute little tea shoppe by the way). I also meet with some amazing ladies that happen to be a part of Writer Moms Inc. as well from time to time.
Joy: I want to meet other writers in a cute little tea shoppe!!! (I LOVE tea and definitely think Americans should have daily tea time!)
What led you to start Writer Moms Inc. on Facebook and when did you launch?
Autumn: What led me to start Writer Moms Inc. was when myself and a few other writing mamas were looking for something a little different. There are many, MANY amazing writing groups and communities out there but we wanted something that catered to BOTH our writer side and our mom side. So I took this idea and launched Writer Moms Inc. on Facebook, March 18, 2016. It wasn’t until May 2017 that Everly Reed and I set out to expand our community to Twitter and began #WM_Chat (Writer Mom Chat) Mondays at 8 p.m. (pst).
Joy: I, for one, am SO THANKFUL you did!! I actually found you guys while randomly scrolling through Twitter on Monday evening! And, just a little plug in here—Everly Reed is an amazing writer and encourager with a simply gorgeous name…and website. Definitely check it out!
For my readers who haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is Writer Moms, what’s it all about? And, is it only on Facebook?
It really is full of awesomeness! The writer moms that make up Writer Moms Inc. are incredible! They are talented, kind, bursting with creativity and support for one another. I am honored to be a part of it all! Here is a little bit about the group itself I stole from one of my sappy, “I love you all” posts I sometimes do in the Facebook group:
Being a writer is often an isolating journey, so can being a mom (no matter what stage of motherhood you’re in). I wanted a place where moms who write can find solace, support, a place to share victories and troubles and most of all, discuss writing.
We are on Facebook but also Twitter and Instagram (although I am falling short in the Instagram department). I am also hoping to launch www.writermomsinc.com come January 2018! My hope is to make it a bit of an online, writer mom-oriented, contributor-based e-zine of sorts. I’m still working out all the logistics.
Joy: I am so excited about that and can’t wait to see what you cook up!!
Take us behind the scenes of the first few weeks or months after you launched? What lessons did you learn?
At first, Writer Moms Inc. started off as simply a group of a few amazing writer moms. Then as that first year went on and more and more women started joining I realized how thankful I am to have a place where writing moms can find the friendship and support they are searching for with their writing and mom-ing lives. After launching into the Twittersphere I was deeply humbled and pleased to see Writer Moms Inc. taking on a life of its own. The positive and loving support that I see in our little community makes my heart soar! Goodness, now I just want to take a world tour and hug each and every one of our members thinking of how amazing they all are!
Joy: There you go again! Having me reaching around for the tissues!! *sending air hugs in your direction*
I’m always so interested in how projects—writing, community, life—evolve as a person grows and as others become involved. Have you changed anything major or shifted your focus since you started out as a writer? If so, give us all the details!
Autumn: I haven’t been writing long, its only been about 3 years now, but I would say much has changed since I’m constantly learning! My first book, Remaining Aileen, actually started out as an idea for a screen play. Overall I think this process of writing a novel has given me a good lesson in patience, which is still a hard one for me! I’ve learned this life path of being a writer is a marathon.
Much like parenting, writing takes time. You will make mistakes; things will get messy; you will go through every single emotion possible (even ones you never even knew existed); but the joy it brings in creating something from a piece of you makes it all worthwhile.
Joy: That is a perfect comparison and I love it!
What are your over-the-rainbow dreams for Writer Moms Inc.?
Autumn: What are my long-term, big, “over-the-rainbow” dreams for Writer Moms Inc.? I have a few that I would LOVE to see happen someday. The first is to be able to offer “scholarships” of sorts to writer moms that they can put towards reaching their writing dreams. Things like manuscript evaluations, editors, query services, self publishing costs—stuff like that. Not everyone has the money or the family support to follow their writing dreams, and I would hate for money to be the thing stopping a writer mom from following her dreams. Now where will I find this money? Good question—I’m working on that! Another is to someday hold a Writer Moms Inc. conference! I would LOVE to be able to have a place where moms who write can come together in person!
Joy: Oh. My. Word. I have goosebumps; great, big, bumpy goosebumps! Your dreams are beautiful and I believe in them 100%!
Back to community, what’s been the most beneficial thing for you about having a writing community?
Autumn: Now, I speak for myself when I say this, but writing makes me feel a complete weirdo MOST of the time. I get lost in my own head, spout out random ideas about my WsIP (works in progress) that no one else would understand. I would feel SO alone (aside from my amazingly creative-minded-as-well husband, of course) if I didn’t have the writing circles (online or otherwise) that I have. They are a great way to refuel, check in, see that others have also sent out typos in their queries—I did do that actually, but that’s another story for another day! My point is you don’t feel alone; and to me that is everything.
Joy: I don’t know anything about feeling weird or talking to myself. *whistles while nonchalantly looking around*
What advice would you give someone who wants to know how to be a good member of a writing community?
Autumn: In my opinion, a “good” member is someone who offers support as much as they ask. However I do know sometimes we need to take more than we can give, so being understanding is also key.
Inquiring minds want to know: Give us the scoop on your WsIP!!
Autumn: I mentioned before I am querying, which is a whole new game that might take me a bit to get a handle on. My book is called Remaining Aileen.
It intimately follows a mom, Aileen, as she struggles amidst the changes motherhood brings. However, she never expected those changes would come with a taste for blood. This is part one of a three-part series. I wanted each part to deal with a specific aspect of how becoming a mom has changed me, but put allegorically into Aileen changing into a vampire.
In book one, Remaining Aileen, Aileen feels like she’s losing herself. She gives everything to her kids and family; but, when the woman she sees in the mirror literally becomes a monster, she fears who she was might be lost forever. Book two—which I’m outlining now—Remain with Me, shows how the secrecy of Aileen’s new “life” ends up affecting her marriage. And book three, All that Remains, is how all her internal struggles and outward marital struggles affect Aileen’s family as a whole.
Joy: I’m not typically a huge fan of vampire tales; but, y’all, I’m anxious to read Autumn’s!
Two more questions for you, just for splits and giggles:
Do you have any pets? Give us all the details!
Autumn: I do! So I have an all black, full bred, long coat, German Shepherd. (Not many people seem to know they come in all sorts of colors and coat lengths.) She is amazing. Her name is Bones. My oldest, when he was 4, really, really wanted a dog named Bones; so we did just that! But since she is such a pretty girl, and “Bones” sounds like some tough dog, she is actually registered as “Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennen”… you know, from the show Bones. Some day I would love to add a “Seely Booth” to the mix, but I think one dog is plenty for now! I also have 5 chickens that lay beautiful eggs, some are olive green to green to blue!
Joy: I love your fur baby already!! And how cool are those eggs?!?!
What is your favorite book or what are you currently reading (or BOTH!)?
Autumn: One of my most vivid book memories as a kid was reading The Secret Garden. There was something so magical, yet dark, about that book. I still long to find (or in reality, make) a secret garden of my own thanks to that book. As far as what I’m currently reading, well, I have about 3 or 4 books that I have started and am trying to read through before starting on my next WIP. A few of them are from members of Writer Moms Inc. (I have a goal to try and acquire and read all the books written by members!)
Joy: Okay, that is the most awesome goal ever! See what I told you guys about this being an incredibly supportive group? Love it! We share that book memory and the desire it planted, too! Curse these two black thumbs of mine!
Thank you so very much, Autumn, for agreeing to chat it up here on my blog! You are incredible! Thank you, also, for being part of my writing community. I just can’t wait to see where the road leads you and Writer Moms Inc.!
Every Woman’s Hour
May 24, 2017
This show is about women who make a “difference in the Mother Load”. We are ‘on the air’ Wed. from 12-1pm PST. Sat. 11 to 12 PM.
We are “Everywoman’s Hour”, Broadcast at Blue Mountain Radio KQBM-lp103.7 FM West Point, KQBM 90.7FM San Andreas / www.kqbm.org with Live Stream Options!
This month I am celebrating two years since beginning my journey as a writer (even as I write this it’s making me tear up a bit). I can hardly believe it’s been two years since the idea for Remaining Aileen was birthed, her first words were written and her story was set into motion. Since it has been since December of 2015 that I last posted, we have some catching up to do!
Not much other than writing happened after December 2015, until August 2016 when I wrote the words “The End” for the first time. I had completed the first draft of my very first novel Remaining Aileen. Tears were definitely shed. I never thought I was a writer, let alone a writer who would write a whole novel. Finishing my first draft was a wonderful feeling, I still cry thinking about it. (I even printed out the whole entire thing, 350-something pages, AND did a mini “newborn” photo shoot/birth announcement.) It’s somewhere on Instagram.
After finished draft one I ran off to a yoga retreat in Tahoe for some much needed rest then came back home to a whole new world of writing- revising! Wow is revising different than writing draft one. In fact it was downright terrifying. Every word I changed or paragraph I added/removed, I worried I was ruining it. My sweet first novel, just a baby and here I am slicing and changing and discarding thousands of words. So many changes, so much fear, but the story was becoming so much better. The lines were flowing better than before, my intentions were reading through to others. It was magical and I quickly learned to appreciate the revising process.
December 31, 2016 I reached my second “The End” of draft two, which I changed to a “To Be Continued…” First because the story will go on for two more books, second because while revising you really shouldn’t say “The End” until you’re edited, done and ready for print (just my opinion).
January 1, 2017 I emailed my second draft to my most amazing editor Amberly for a manuscript evaluation. Having a manuscript evaluation done was the best choice I could have made for this book. Amberly took it, read it, made countless wonderful notes on how to improve this or that. She then wrote me a seven page report on her findings and passed it on back to me. This helped me see the story’s weak points, plot holes, where the characters could use more development and what not. It gave me fuel for my next round of revisions which brings us to present day, March 2017. At the end of this month, Remaining Aileen will head back over to Amberly to be edited, scrubbed down and (fingers crossed) one step closer to querying.
Thank you for sticking around and for following my journey into becoming a writer. I have found so much support and love along the way and will be forever grateful for that. My Facebook writer page is about to reach 500 followers and to celebrate that as well as my two year anniversary as a writer, I will be posting a meet and greet sort of thing with Aileen and her family, Phil, Imogene, Davina and her mother in law Ana.