For the last several months, I’ve been interviewing some of the wonderful Christian authors I’ve come to know. Today, however, I’m going to switch things up and interview myself. You see, in just FOUR days, my novel, Time Tsunami, is going to be released! Isn’t that exciting?? I’ll admit that I’m walking on air. I’ve pinched myself so many times that I’m turning black and blue. I can’t wait for Friday morning!!
Many of you have asked about my journey toward publication. For instance, why did I write a book? How did I find a publisher? What goes into getting a book published? Is the process hard? Today, I’m going to answer some of those questions.
As far as why I wrote my book, being an author has always been a dream of mine. Time Tsunami was first written as a short story for a college creative writing class. My professor wrote in the margin of Time Tsunami that it was a “sellable” idea. I toyed with the idea of turning Time Tsunami into a novel, but I felt too busy. After college, life became even busier. Then my life took a tragic turn. A carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace almost killed me. The poisoning triggered extreme chemical sensitivity and partial amnesia. My health continued to worsen, and eventually, I was quarantined in my home—a situation that lasted for seven years. Partway through quarantine, my memory problems cleared up and so did the humongous case of writer’s block that my illness had also triggered. I dug through an old box of my stories and came across Time Tsunami. After rereading it, I knew it had promise, so I began crafting it into a novel. During this time, I was in extreme physical pain. I used my book as a way to distract myself. Rather than concentrating on my illness, I would concentrate on creating plot twists. Time Tsunami is full of surprises, and each one represents a personal triumph over pain. As the years of quarantine continued, I finished Time Tsunami and five other books in The Time Counselor Chronicles. Each of the six books revolve around the same cast of characters, and each is full of laughter, love, suspense, and faith. My books do not contain swear words or dirty scenes, and they represent my journey back to faith. My illness made me question the existence of God and my relationship with Him. Through my characters, I explored hard questions and found Bible-based answers. In many ways, my faith journey is expressed through my characters.
As time passed, I thought about trying to find a publisher for my book series, but I always felt a “check” in my spirit. It was as if God was telling me to wait. As my seventh year of quarantine ended, my health was restored to the point where I could take brief “field trips” from quarantine. During this time, I received a flyer from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park. When I saw it, I felt a prompting from God and knew I was to attend. I still became ill very easily, but I knew I needed to go. For months before I went, I prayed for God to give me a specific sign showing me which publishing group was to be the home of my books. The sign I was looking for was the acquiring editor to take my hands and ask to pray with me. I was too ill to attend any of the conference’s classes, but I attended all of my interviews. And when I was interviewed by Susan Baganz, the representative from Prism Book Group, she smiled, took my hands, and asked to pray with me. I knew then that if Prism offered me a contract, I would accept it. Five months later, Time Tsunami was under contract and scheduled to be published. I believe that God restored my ability to write, I believe He gave me my books, and I also believe that He led me to Prism. It has truly been an exciting journey.
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Now to answer your questions about the publishing process, the first thing I’d like to point out is my photograph. I had been ill and quarantined for many years, so I didn’t have an appropriate “headshot.” Knowing that I needed a decent picture, I called in the cavalry. This photograph was taken by my wonderful mother. I was sitting on an upturned bucket in my front yard, trying to look “approachable” and “author-ish.” The wasps were dive bombing my head, and I was trying to keep my smile steady while not getting stung. We took quite a few pictures, and this is the one we chose. I think my mother did a fantastic job with the photography!
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After I received my contract for Time Tsunami, Prism asked me to write a “bio.” Gracious, what a challenge! Who knew that something so simple-sounding could actually be so hard?? I urge you to write your biography and see what I mean. Seriously, how do you convey who you are and what makes you tick in 250 words or less? And if you want an even greater challenge, try conveying the “essence of you” in 100 words! Last week, I faced that particular challenge while getting information together for a blog interview. I have a tendency to be wordy, so believe me, short biographies have been a challenge!! My bio was lots of work, but I’m happy with the result. Here it is, see what you think:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Danele Rotharmel grew up with a love of the literary word, and by age five, she knew she wanted to be a writer. However, her life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a low-level carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace in her home was slowly poisoning her. This poisoning triggered severe chemical sensitivity and partial amnesia.
During this time, the hardest thing she faced was a crisis of faith. She had to quit her job and stop going to church. She couldn’t write, couldn’t drive, and could barely remember who she was. To say she was upset with the Lord was an understatement. She began reexamining her faith in light of her illness, and eventually, she came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested and involved, and God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy.
When her illness became even more severe, she was put into quarantine and could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. This quarantine lasted for seven years. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.
Danele currently lives in Colorado where she continues to write. Although her journey back to health was long and difficult, it provided her with the opportunity to grow closer to God and to write her books. For that, she is forever thankful.
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After I competed my biography, the next thing Prism had me do was write a back cover blurb for Time Tsunami. Before receiving my contract, I didn’t realize that authors wrote back cover blurbs. I’m not sure who I thought wrote them—maybe little elves wielding magic pencils. I discovered that I really enjoyed writing my blurb. It was a fun challenge trying to decide what information to reveal. A back cover blurb has to tell enough to hook a reader, but it can’t give too much information away or it will spoil the story. And then there’s that pesky word limit again. You can’t get verbose or your blurb will run right off the book’s cover! Take a look at what I came up with and see what you think. This is what will be printed on the back of my paperbacks:
Time Tsunami (Book 1 of The Time Counselor Chronicles)
To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past…
Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children. For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen. Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution. Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother. If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive. William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline. As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path? Will she return from the deadly mission…
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The next thing on the “to-do” list was sending Joan Alley, Prism Book Group’s editor-in-chief and cover designer, ideas about how I wanted Time Tsunami to look. Joan Alley is a magician when it comes to book covers. I answered her questions about the tone of my book and the characteristics of my main characters. I told her that I wanted my cover to be striking and dramatic. I wanted it to feel suspenseful, dangerous, and like something ominous was about to happen. I also wanted the cover to have a time-travel feel. Take a peek at what Joan came up with! I think she put together the perfect cover! I was so excited when I saw it. Joan worked hard to give me not only what I asked for, but also to go beyond what I’d envisioned and make the cover even better. She even found a cool, funky font that made the title stand out. Joan did a fabulous job! I really love my cover!
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Next, Prism asked me to pick out an excerpt from Time Tsunami to be used for promotional purposes. Let me stop right there and ask you to think back to the last book you read. What type of passage would you choose to showcase? Would you choose a suspenseful scene? A funny scene? One that was romantic or religious? Or would your excerpt simply be part of the first chapter? That was the challenge I faced when it came to my excerpt. My mind went a thousand different directions at once. Finally, I narrowed my choices down to this one. See what you think:
Excerpt: Time Tsunami
As a blue glow filled the room, Gil looked through the time portal at William and Director Matthews. Her heart missed a beat. She didn’t know what was going on, but judging by the men’s tense expressions, it wasn’t good.
“Hi, guys, what’s up?” she asked in a deliberately casual tone.
“We’re thinking of pulling you from the field,” William replied.
“Rick’s more dangerous than we thought.”
“I don’t care if he’s Jack the Ripper,” she said flatly. “I’m staying.”
Director Matthews picked up a handful of printouts. “He isn’t Jack the Ripper, but he might as well be. I’ve found evidence that he’s killed at least ten women.”
“I don’t care.”
“You’re facing a serial killer,” William said. “You must realize the seriousness of the situation.”
“I do realize it. You don’t. Today’s Danny’s D-day. If I abandon him, he’s gonna die on death row. I love that kid, and I’m not about to let his life be destroyed. Where’s Dr. Nelson? She’d agree with me.”
“She said it was our decision,” the director replied.
“It’s my decision too, and I’m not about to abandon—”
“It’s not abandonment,” William interrupted. “GAP’s only predicting a fifty percent chance that it’ll make a difference to Danny’s future if you stay. Regardless of your hard work, Daniel Winston may be destined for death row. We’re not risking your life over a hopeless—”
“There’s no way you’re getting me out of here! If there’s a fifty percent chance that Danny can be saved, I’m taking that fifty percent chance. It’s my life I’m risking. Not yours.”
William ran a hand over his face. “We’re all risking a lot.”
“I don’t care. I’m not—”
“Enough of this!” William said harshly. “Let the director speak. When he finishes, we’ll discuss things.”
“Here it is, Gil,” the director said. “Bald facts. Fact number one: Rick’s a serial killer. He strangles women with a red cord and hangs their bodies to mimic suicide. He does his murderous work so well, that unless a coroner’s an expert, the homicide is missed. At this time, it’s impossible to know how many murders Rick’s committed.
“Fact two: Rick’s meticulous and methodical—that means he’s dangerous. He’s undoubtedly been planning to kill Sue for weeks. He’ll already have things set in motion.
“Fact three: GAP’s predicting a 98.8 percent chance that if you stay, you will be hurt. Since Danny has only a fifty percent chance of escaping death row, you’ll be risking your life on a gamble.”
Gil sat quietly for a few moments. “I’ve heard what you’ve said and understood it. Will you respect my decision?”
“Yes,” William replied. “It’s your decision to make.”
“Then my answer’s the same as it was from the beginning. I’m staying. Now, give me all the information you can about what I’m facing, and please do it fast. I don’t have much time, and I need all the help I can get.”
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After providing Prism Book Group with my information, I began working with my editor, Jacqueline Hopper. Jacqueline checked my manuscript for errors and helped me polish my story. I really enjoyed working with her! After we finished our editing passes, Time Tsunami was sent to a line editor for additional proofreading. After the line edits, a volunteer author—the marvelous Sharon McGregor—gave my book one final look through. After that, my manuscript was formatted for publication.
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This has been such an exciting process!! I want to thank all of my family and friends, and you—my AWESOME blog supporters—for praying for me and cheering me on as I journeyed toward publication. Having Time Tsunami published has been a thrilling experience, and that joy has been made even greater by sharing it with all of you. I hope you have a terrific day! And be on the lookout for Time Tsunami on Friday! I hope you will really love it!
On Friday, January 15th, Time Tsunami may be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iBooks, or your local bookstore. It may be bought as a Kindle or Nook e-Book or as a paperback.
Time Tsunami may be pre-ordered today as a Kindle e-Book by simply following this link: Time Tsunami
Time Tsunami may also be pre-ordered today as a Nook e-Book by following this link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/time-tsunami-danele-j-rotharmel/1123153640?ean=2940152530919