Welcome to our chat, everyone!
Today we’re visiting with Emily Hendrickson (pen name Emily C. Reynolds), who writes romance with a comedic punch. Emily’s first novel, Picture Perfect, a story about overcoming bitterness, learning to forgive, and trusting God, released March 2, 2017.
**Readers: Emily’s offering a give-away! Join our conversation below and you’ll be entered in the drawing for Picture Perfect. Announcement here and on Facebook on Tuesday, the 21st.**
**We have a winner! Arletta Boulton has won the drawing for a signed copy of Emily’s Picture Perfect! Congratulations, Arletta.
Be watching next week for another author and another chance to win!
A bit about author Emily C Reynolds
I grew up in a small town in southern Maine (not far from Kennebunkport). My dad pastors a quaint New England church, the kind with the white clapboard sides and tall steeple, exactly like you see on postcards. My parents founded the Christian school I graduated from, a Christ-centered ministry that’s operated for more than 30 years. I graduated from Gordon College in Massachusetts with degrees in English Language & Literature as well as Biblical Studies.
I’ve earned my living as a professional wedding photographer, high school English teacher, newspaper copy editor, piano teacher, and women’s self-defense instructor.
My husband, an amazing guy, inspires my storybook heroes and is my biggest cheerleader on this journey.
A bit about Emily’s first book
Picture Perfect is a light-hearted novel about overcoming bitterness, trusting God, and opening your heart to the redemptive power of forgiveness. In this story, a photographer and a martial artist partner for swing dance lessons and become unknowingly pitted against each other in a real estate tug-of-war. As romance heats up, secrets from the past close in. Agendas collide, and when the truth comes out, one wrong move could trip them up for good.
The story grew out of bits and pieces of my real—and imaginary—life. For instance, the old country church I grew up in really does have bats in the belfry. (Tweet That!) So in the opening scene when the heroine is cleaning the church and has an unexpected encounter. Not too far of a stretch.
A bit about Emily’s challenges
The biggest challenge on my path to publication was twofold—not giving up and, well, not giving up. By that I mean not giving up on the dream of one day seeing my book in print, but also not giving up the fun of writing. Don’t let anyone fool you. Writing is hard. Many people don’t realize the years of labor involved.
I had no idea what I was doing when I first started writing, so Picture Perfect got completely revamped multiple times. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! I loved learning how to plot a good story, and I absolutely love the result. But it took seven years to get to this point.
I am blessed to have a fantastic critique group that helps me hone my stories, and I have an amazingly dedicated agent, Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency, who loves my “voice” and writing style and absolutely refused to give up until she found the right home for my stories at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
One of the best things I did for my professional development was joining American Christian Fiction Writers. I got connected to other writers, critique groups, and a storehouse of publishing information that I soaked up, realizing how little I really knew. I also attended ACFW conferences, which allowed me to network with writers, agents, and editors as well as take classes to help me learn more about the writing craft.
A bit of advice from author Emily C Reynolds
Be kind to yourself! Everyone’s first draft is downright awful, so don’t let the ugly stop you. Keep going. Put the words down even if you cringe. As people say, you can’t edit what’s not there.
Accept who you are as a writer. I’m not a particularly fast writer. The story doesn’t unfold in a straightforward manner for me. I’m much more “seat of the pants” than plotter. So I have to constantly remind myself it’s okay that the course is not charted; that’s part of the fun. (I get to be surprised when a character says or does something). Only it’s not always fun. Sometimes it’s downright stressful. It means the story doesn’t journey in a straight line from start to finish. There will be detours and dead ends and “wasted” time. That’s just how it works for me. I can choose to get frustrated and think I’m less of a “real writer,” or I can accept that it’s the way I work.
Also, remember to maintain perspective. It can get easy to become obsessed and driven to meet certain goals. Try to keep foremost in your mind that it’s God’s timing, not yours. It’s not always easy to balance the writing life with “real world” life. Sacrifices have to be made. But be mindful of what you’re giving up and why—it’s important to have a balanced life. (My compromise was not watching TV or movies at night while my husband worked second shift. Instead, I used that time to write. I tried not to sacrifice family time.)
A final word from Emily
Thanks for letting me share a little about my writing journey! I hope you enjoy a few giggles and sigh moments reading Picture Perfect. I love to connect with readers. Find me on Facebook under Emily C Reynolds or at my web site www.EmilyCReynolds.com.
I’d especially like to thank Linda for inviting me to share a little of my journey today! Thanks for this opportunity to connect readers and writers!
How to find Emily C Reynolds and her book
Dear Heavenly Father, we pause to remember You as the Giver of Every Perfect Gift. Thank you for gifting Emily for the purposes for which You have set her apart. Make her writing an instrument of Your grace. For Jesus’ sake.