Most of my local writer adventures come courtesy of the Oklahoma chapter of SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). I love this group! I try to not miss any of their events, and I find myself looking forward to each activity.
I’ve met a few other writers in different ways. One in particular is Regina Jennings, author of SIXTY ACRES AND A BRIDE and LOVE IN THE BALANCE.
I first came across Regina because of a twitter post from Writer’s Digest, pointing to an article in the ongoing series, “How I Got My Agent.” I usually click on those stories, and since we share a first name, Regina’s story in particular caught my eye, so I read it.
That was where I found her bio, and started making comparisons.
Regina Jennings is a homeschooling mother of four from Oklahoma. Really? I’m a homeschooling mom of three from Oklahoma. That’s interesting. She enjoys watching musicals with her kids, traveling with her husband and reading by herself. Well, yeah, who doesn’t like those things?
I went on and found out that she’d worked at the Mustang News and the Baptist church there. I’ve worked at the Tuttle Times and I haven’t been employed at my Baptist church, but I’ve volunteered there for years. And she lives in Mustang? That’s the next town over. We’re practically neighbors.
And she writes. And she’s published. Well…I’m working on that one.
And she’s awesome. We follow each other on Facebook and Twitter now. I ran into her outside of the Mustang library, and even though she seemed as cool and collected as she appears in the above photo and I believe I looked about as frazzled and frumpy as I could possibly get, she did not run shrieking to her car, or call security after I fangirled a little. She was nice. It was comfortable. Not awkward.
She was passing out information to the librarians about her upcoming release of LOVE IN THE BALANCE. I about passed out. (Inside. I played it cool on the outside. I think.) A real author doing real author things. My kids were there. They weren’t impressed. They never are.
Anyway. This amazingly long introduction of Regina Jennings is leading up to the fact that I got another chance to meet her this week, at a presentation at the Mabel C. Fry Library in Yukon. I don’t frequent this library, but Regina mentioned it on her Facebook page, so I got signed up. The topic was Getting Published: How to Sell Your Book to a Publisher. Sounded good to me!
It was fun. My mom helped with the younger kids; they came along and enjoyed a different library setting during the session. The turnout wasn’t bad, but I was surprised that not many had finished books.
It was funny at the beginning, when the librarian was introducing Regina. When she was saying how Regina was a wonderful writer, and somehow finds time to squeeze in her writing while homeschooling her children, I just kind of leaned back and pretended it was me. Someday.
Many of the things she spoke about were topics I had already learned through the Internet and through the SCBWI and OWFI (Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc.) conferences. The others in the room were scribbling furiously, so it was good info – I’ve just obsessively researched it already. That was okay. Still good to refresh.
I really enjoyed the “behind the scenes” look at what happens at the conference sponsored by her writer’s group, ACFW, (American Christian Fiction Writers) and the steps her books go through prior to publication. I also liked hearing about what she’s working on now, and what’s currently being developed.
I also plan to look into a book she mentioned that was written by her friend and convention roommate, Stephanie Landsem, called THE WELL. She told us how the protagonist in the book was originally a certain age, but the author had to eventually change that age to get the book published, even though it was hard for her. That is something that I have been curious about, due to an issue in one of my novels. I am not at a point where I feel like I need to make a drastic change in age, but I am interested in reading a book by another person who faced something similar.
And…I badly need to read LOVE IN THE BALANCE! I enjoyed SIXTY ACRES AND A BRIDE very much (see my brief review with other Oklahoma authors here) but I’ve been focusing on young adult lately.
I’m currently in Tara Hudson’s HEREAFTER series, and I have two Anna Myers books sitting on the table next to me that I really need to return to the friend who lent them to me… (and my own writing…don’t forget my own writing) but soon!
Too many good Oklahoma authors!