Cate: Please welcome Ginger Simpson. Ginger, will you please share a short bio with us?
Ginger: Although most are written in ‘third person’, I hope you don’t mind if I just talk like a friend. I live in Tennessee with my husband, Kelly. We’ve been married thirteen years. He can’t put two romantic words together, but he shows his love by all the great things he does…like coming with me to TN so I can be close to my grandson. This is a second marriage for both of us.
I retired in 2003 so I could devote more time to writing. I’m finding that promotion takes up most of my time…but I’m thankful for people like you who make blog spots available and provide questions that make it easy. I have one release coming in April from MoonGypsy Press, but unless I get myself in gear, I’m going to see a long dry spell between releases. I’m shopping another western historical, Odessa, at the moment, but I’ve already received two rejections, one because the editor appointed to read the book didn’t favor historical westerns (huh?) and the other because they already had a similar story (one based during the same time period) in queue. At least they didn’t say my writing stunk. *lol*. I’d like to say I’m a world traveler, a past performer of Stars on Ice, or something impressive, but I have only my writing to boast about. Last year, I was nominated for a EPIC award, and this year I won Love Romance Café’s 2009 Best Historical for Sparta Rose. Someone likes me.
Cate: That’s certainly impressive! Tell us about White Heart, Lakota Spirit, your upcoming release and where it's available.
Ginger: Sometime in April, Moongypsy Press is re-releasing this story written during my “amateur” years, but this time in a much-improved format. We learn so much in the process of writing, I was thrilled at the opportunity to re-work this exciting story and present it again, this time hoping for a wider audience. I’m honored to be among the authors celebrating the start-up of this new publisher.
Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Ginger: Of course.
A normal morning turns to disaster when a small war party attacks Grace Cummings’ family and slaughters everyone but her. She returns to the Lakota camp filled with hatred, anger and fear, but through the help of another white woman in camp, learns the Lakota way. Broken treaties, dead buffalo, and the white man's foray of gold in the sacred hills give the people reason to defend themselves. When white soldiers invade the camp and presume to rescue Grace, she must decide where her heart lies.
Cate: Love it! What inspired you to write about the theme?
Ginger: Years of watching TV westerns with my family and reading everything written by Laura Ingalls Wilder developed my love for the old west. In the movies, the Indians always were the villains, so I wanted to show them from a more human perspective and prove with historical facts that they didn’t always attack without provocation. I believe I’ve achieved my goal.
Cate: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Ginger: My books are character-driven. My answer will make my sound crazy, but I always have voices in my head, most screaming at me to tell their stories. When I pick one to listen too, I do the typing, but my character relays the tale. I usually do a first draft, then go back and hone it into a novel, inserting SHOWING phrases that connect the reader with my characters. As a great instructor, Cheryl St. John has taught me, Rule number one, is make the reader care!
Cate: Great advice! Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Ginger: Oh yes. And new ones move in every day. I have to at least start a story so I don’t lose the “notion in the commotion,” and that results in so many works-in-progress, that I’m never sure where to start again. Right now, I’ve decided to put aside one and focus on another because HQ is searching for YA stories and I have one almost half finished. So definitely, no matter if the room looks empty, I always have plenty of company. Sometimes, I just wish they’d tone down the noise. *lol*
Cate: What's next for you?
Ginger: Only God knows that. I’ve finally decided that small press is probably my niche. With the growing competition and the economy causing publishing houses to cut back on releases--and be even more selective, I think my best chance is where I’m a known asset, even if it’s in my own mind. My final goal, because I’m not the spring chicken I once was, is to see at least one of my books in a brick and mortar store. So, I won’t give up entirely on finding a house to help me achieve that dream, but I’m smart enough to realize a dream is what it is. Like I said in a recent bio I submitted to EP…Grandma Moses didn’t become a hit until late in life, so good things can come to those who wait.
Cate: I totally agree. Any other published works?
Author: Yes. I’m the proud author of eight published novels, five novellas, a short story in a love magazine with three more being considered, and like I said, a multitude of selections in the works and a whole lot of hope in my heart.
Cate: Wonderful! Describe your writing in three words.
Ginger: Boy, that’s tough! I’ll use three I hope my readers identify with: Compelling, entertaining, and satisfying.
Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Ginger: For me, since I write by the seat of my pants, the biggest challenge is settling down one group of characters while I deal with another, then making notable progress. The most rewarding aspect is writing that last word and feeling a sense of accomplishment.
Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Ginger: Do you lay awake nights and dream up these hard questions? *lol* I recently discovered a review about Sisters in Time – my time travel, which up to now has received stellar comments. I found this passage most interesting:
Tedious only because of its predictability, ‘Sisters in Time’ trots down the familiar trail of switched bodies, switched times. Predictable surprise and related difficulties ensue.
Why is it interesting? In a time travel, don’t you expect someone to switch times? In Sister’s, I thought I developed new twist by having my heroines switch bodies, thus looking the same, but showing up in an era years removed from their own. I don’t see anything predictable about a pioneer wife and a fast-paced modern female attorney faced with being thrown a real curve ball. No hair dryers, fashion malls, and Lexus automobiles for Taylor…just an old cast iron stove, a horse and buggy, and fabric from the Mercantile. For Mariah, who is used to all those “conveniences,” she’s scared to death by the growl of a garbage disposal, the flash of darting colors on the paved trail below her hospital window, and a winged vehicle flashing past the window of a strange place the man who thinks he’s her husband calls home. You just can’t please everyone. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but so very true.
Cate: Well I loved the premise! And I'm sure readers did too. Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Ginger: I’ve made a vow to myself to read only books written by my fellow e-published authors. If I don’t support my own industry, how can I expect others to? I’ve found a wealth of talent, including you, Ms. Masters, who rival those published by mainstream. To name a few others, Margaret Tanner and Tricia McGill (Aussie authors), Anita Davison (English author), Ciara Gold, Phyllis Campbell, Jaydyn Chelcee, and too many others to list. I’m not reading anything in particular at the moment…I’ve between books I’m reviewing for my examiner.com column, but I am critiquing with a few friends and I predict their novels are going to be best-sellers.
Cate: (blushes) You're too kind. But I agree about the others. Where can you be found on the web?
Ginger: Just Google my name. I show up in the weirdest of places. My favorite spot to promote is my blog, “Dishin’ It Out,” at http://mizging.blogspot.com, and I also maintain at website at http://www.gingersimpson.com. You can also find me on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Ning…oh, the list goes on and on. No wonder I can’t get anything accomplished, and I’d be thrilled if Farmville disappeared from Facebook so I could stop the madness.
Cate: Too funny... I got away from the sheep-throwing and never went to Farmville, lol! Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Ginger: Yes, What can we do to make you more vocal on the loops and blogs where we promote our work? In most cases, E-pubbed authors bear the burden of all the promotion, and without input from you, we have no idea if we’re being successful or just boring you to tears. Playing to an empty house is just demoralizing sometimes. :)
Cate: Readers, Ginger is giving away a free download (PDF) of any book from her backlist to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner on April 3 and announce it here, so be sure to leave your email address so Ginger can contact you. (I'll be in NYC that day, so have fun!)
Ginger: Cate, I want to thank you again for allowing me time and space on your blog. Realizing how many times we try not to repeat the same things over and over when we guest, I hope I’ve managed to keep people’s interest to the end where they find out about the contest. *lol*
Cate: Happy to have you as a guest, Ginger! Best of luck with White Heart, Lakota Spirit!