Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Author Spotlight - Kathleen Ball talks about her journey into writing

I've been writing a little over three years. I wrote my first book and immediately sent it off to all kinds of contests. I didn't know anything about writing, but I felt that my story was good. I was so sure that people would love my book.

Reality set in. I got my contest feedback. It was a RWA contest and their judges usually will tell you what is wrong with the first 20 pages-- or whatever the rules of the contest dictate. I was stunned. I placed third from the bottom and one of the judges suggested that writing wasn't for me.

It was very upsetting to say the least. I put it away and began my next book. I eventually grew curious to see what was so wrong with my novel. My main problem was point of view. I'd never heard of it. In fact, there are a lot of writing rules that I didn't know about. I wish I had known them. Each time I learned another important one I would reedit my books.

It wasn't until I wrote Callie's Heart that I even had a handle on most of the rules. Meanwhile I was trying to get an agent and couldn't understand why they weren't interested. My books were on Textnovel.com and they were all award winners. I still had a lot to learn.

Passive sentences were a big problem so I went in and rewrote them all. After that, I found out that dialogue tags were not being used anymore. I learned a lot from other authors that I had met on Facebook. Most of us were unpublished and I would watch. A lot of the time people would say that they had to take out  "as" or  "that". There were always tips to be found. Many bloggers post tips for writers.

Meanwhile I was submitting my manuscript. Desert Breeze Publishing wanted Callie's Heart and the other two in the series. Lone Star Joy and Stetson's Storm. I thank them, it's been such a positive experience.

Of course my novels have had to be edited. The best thing about the editors is that they don't just say change it, they explain why it is wrong and offer suggestions. I've heard of writers that fight with their editors. I haven't had that happen. I value their experience and advice. I've put the skills I learned from them, and use them in the novels that I'm writing.

I love that I am constantly learning. My nemesis is the comma. I tried to get a movement going to eliminate the comma. People really love their commas. I have studied the comma and feel that I have a better grasp of them.

My advice is to know the rules of your genre. Enter a few contests that provide feedback, and be willing to take advice.

Callie's Heart - April 2012
Texas Haven- July 2012
Ryelee's Cowboy -August 2012


  1. My new release is Lone Star Joy

  2. Glad you persevered :-) and best wishes with Lone Star

  3. I like how you put that: It was very upsetting. So you put it away and started your next book. :) Now THAT is a writer! Get your heart smashed, suck it up and start over.

  4. Oh, I was the comma queen! And the queen of beginning sentences with "And" and "But." See--I still do it.
    I'm glad you did persevere. I hate it when someone tells someone else, "you can't do that." Trust me...it's happened to me and probably many others. You have to love your own book, or no one else will. Good for you. If you have a good story, stick with it--fix it, whatever, but you can get what you want.

  5. I loved this post, Kathleen. So inspiring. And I hate commas too. My first draft of one of my books, my husband read and said, "what's with all the commas?" I seem to comma happy. I had to go back and relearn sentence structure. I'm glad you didn't give up in the early days. You are my favorite cowboy romance author. I couldn't fall in love with a cowboy without you.

  6. From Lindsay-You said it, never give up and keep learning. Congrats on your success

  7. Kathleen, I appreciated your candor. Our passion is not for the thin skinned, but it's also a learning process. I certainly know I can always hone my craft. Keep going and congratulations on your successes.

  8. So glad you kept on writing,your novels are awesome! We only get better the more we work at our craft. Thanks for leaving such good advice. I agree,it is important to learn and know the genre we're writing. Great post!

  9. Great post, Kathleen. Your perseverance is a great inspiration to us all. I love your writing. You really have a gift.

  10. Great post, Kathleen. I too LOVE my editor(s)they made my books so much better. Glad you kept at it!!

  11. I've judged several contests and would never dream of telling a contest entrant they shouldn't write. It would be better to give lots good suggestions on the manuscript.

    If the writer decides to stop or take a break that should be her decision.