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Interview with Suzie Waltner

How has working with a traditional publisher made this writing journey different for you?
Several years ago, I independently published a few books (before I learned there are rules to writing fiction). For my first book, I hired a copy editor but there was a mix up with the time frames and the edit ended up getting rushed and several big things were missed. My first experience with an editor wasn’t a great one.

This time around, working with a traditional publisher has been wonderful. We started with a developmental edit of Midnight Blue (which I wrote about five years ago) and then a few rounds of content editing where we got into the nitty gritty of the mechanics of the story. I ended up adding over 25,000 words to my original manuscript, but all that work made the story so much richer.

I’ve also learned some patience with the process (but I can say I’ve got a way to go with that yet). Working with a smaller publisher means that editorial dates aren’t always solid and sometimes get pushed back. But in the end, everything gets wrapped up right in time for release.

What did you learn while writing Midnight Blue?
Mostly that I have a lot to learn still. I love writing—creating a story of two lives out of a spark of an idea and putting those characters through the wringer until they come out better for the experience in the end. But I have weaknesses in my writing. One of the things I focused on while writing Midnight Blue was adding setting descriptions (and not changing them later in the book). For example, much of Midnight Blue takes place in Jake’s home. My editor suggested I draw out a floorplan of the house to use for my descriptions. I had never thought to do that before, but it sure made for keeping the setting consistent when the characters moved from room to room in the house.

What message do you hope readers take away from Midnight Blue?
That God is a God of second chances. It doesn’t matter what choices we’ve made, God can redeem them and turn our biggest regrets into our greatest joys.

If you could have coffee with an author, dead or alive, whose work you admire, who would that be? What would you ask him or her?
Jane Austen. She wrote such timeless stories (my favorite is Persuasion) that still resonate with so many readers. People have taken Pride and Prejudice and continued them or written their own spins of them. The one thing I’d love to know, though, is what the men in Austen’s book were thinking since we only get the women’s point of views.

What’s your go-to drink while writing?
It used to be Diet Coke, but I’m trying to cut that out, so now it’s most often water. I’m not a coffee drinker at all.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Slow down. It’s okay if something takes longer than you expect it to, and giving it that extra time makes it even better.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
I’ll start with the obvious one: reading. I’ve been a reader long before I started writing, and it’s something I won’t give up. I also enjoy watching hockey games (and if I’ve got a lot to do in the evening, I’ll just turn the game on the radio and listen to it in the background). And I love spending time with a group of ladies from church. We meet for Bible study on Monday nights but also try and catch up with each other during the week once in a while.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?
Oh goodness, what books aren’t on my TBR pile right now? I’ll share the first three.

1. By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser
2. Deception by Patricia Bradley
3. Blood Secrets by Morgan L. Busse

As you can see, I’m not tied to a specific genre.

What can we look forward to next?
Next is Seth and Cassidy’s story (readers will meet them in Midnight Blue, and there’s quite a history there), which includes the dislike-to-love and the fake relationship tropes.

But each of the band members introduced in Midnight Blue will end up getting their story told through this series.
Jessica Baker loves sharing her passion for reading with others and connecting readers with authors. In addition to blogging at A Baker’s Perspective, Jessica is a virtual assistant, proofreader, and runs her own business. Though she wishes she had a library like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Jessica realizes the importance of sharing her books with the world to tell the story, and donates many books to her local library. Jessica Baker lives Central New York with her husband, teenage daughter, beagle, three cats, and four ducks.

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