In 2006 I found Novel Journey
and met Gina. Then a month later I met Jessica through the PR firm
where she worked and a few months after that I met Ane through ACFW.
And lastly, in 2007 I was invited to join the critique group
that the three of them had formed. So you could say I've known these
three ladies most of my internet life. Take it away Ane!
Author Ane Mulligan has always
been a voracious reader starting at an early age. Soon she was telling
her own stories. Of course, when she told them in school, they called
it lying. Ane published her first drama script in 1999 with LifeWay’s National
Drama Service, a quarterly collection of scripts. After
writing and publishing dozens of scripts from the thirty-second
sermon-starter to full-length musicals, she switched to novels. Ane’s
an editor with Novel Journey and a humor columnist for the e-zine Afictionado.
Whether it’s novels, plays, or humor, writing is her passion, but using
her talent to serve the Lord is her grand passion. She lives in
Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and a dog large enough to qualify as
I met Gina Holmes at a writers
conference and Jessica Dotta in an online critique group. Since 2004,
the three of us have been more than just critique partners. We learned
this business of writing together from the bottom up. We’ve been tough
on one another in critiques, wanting to produce our very best. We
approached platform building the same way.
When Gina founded Novel
no one was blogging author interviews. Novel Journey was the first to
do them. Gina found a need and filled it. When in early in 2006 she
brought Jessica and me on board, we never could have guessed what God
would do. But He blesses what He chooses to bless, no matter how inept
we were. The more authors we interviewed, the more readers we gained,
and with those readers, a platform.
Over the years, we’ve
interviewed hundreds of authors from the debut novelist to New
York Times Bestsellers and Pulitzer prize winners. We’ve
asked the questions we wanted to know about novel writing and received
answers from the best. I have two personal favorites of the interviews
After a class I took with James
Scott Bell, I decided I would go after Dean Koontz. I was too dumb to
know that he normally doesn’t do interviews. I blithely went to his Web
site and clicked on Contact. It gave me a post office box number and
write a note. So I did. I
explained who I was: a nobody who
interviewed authors for a great literary site. I explained that most of
our readers were writers or avid readers.
A couple of weeks later, I
opened my mailbox and pulled out a handwritten note back from Dean,
agreeing to the interview. Now you have to understand, as a teen I
never screamed over movie stars or rock stars. But Dean Koontz? Wow.
I still have that note pinned on my bulletin board. The thing that
impressed me most about him was how much he put into his answers. We
had to break up the interview in to two days. You can find that
interview at http://tinyurl.com/2ccpg6.
The other interview was with
Annie Barrows, coauthor of The Guernsey Literary and Potato
Peel Pie Society. I left off one of her answers and told
people to e-mail me for that answer. I posted the interview in December
2008, and I’m still getting e-mails about the question. That’s a great
way to discover book clubs around the country. Her interview can be
read here: http://tinyurl.com/yh6sn9p.
Gina, Jessica, and I have always
held to the “open hand” philosophy: sharing what we’ve learned. Because
of that, my favorite part of the site is what I now do: offer “our”
authors, those previously interviewed on NJ, a platform to publicize
their newest releases by teaching on the craft or business of writing.
That way, Novel Journey offers writing tips to new writers and
marketing or interviewing help for the published author. It’s our way
of giving back to the industry.
Novel Journey’s sister site is
Novel Reviews. When we started that one, I put my fiction addiction to
good use and posted reviews of the books I was reading. It was a great
way to feed my addiction. As the workload grew, we brought on other
writers as reviewers. Kelly Klepfer is now the senior editor on NR.
According to Kelly, she’s only
recently come to recognize the value of our word or endorsement. “As
tempting as it is to say, ‘This book is awesome’ because the author is
a friend, to do so becomes a much bigger issue than any interest the
review might generate. But we also realize personal genre preference
and subjectivity must be taken into consideration when accepting a book
for review. On Novel Reviews, we strive to write honest reviews for the
books we recommend.”
There are times when we know God
has arranged to bring lives together. I’m so glad He brought me friends
like Gina and Jessica. But I don’t think any of us ever guessed the
doors Novel Journey would open for us. And for that I’m eternally