Guys…I did it. I finished the final read-through of Operation Lionhearted. Five years and seven drafts after starting it in October 2016, it is a finished, polished work.
Needless to say, I am a very happy writer! Even though I still have a lot to do this week (like sending the manuscript in for ebook formatting and giving all the final cover information to my cover designer), a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
I’m also sharing the opening chapters of Operation Lionhearted with my newsletter subscribers on Wednesday morning! If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet, just visit this link. But even if you miss the July 2021 newsletter, never fear: these chapters will be available to all new subscribers starting Thursday, July 8.
So without further ado, let’s get into Part Two of a peek into my writing life…with a synopsis of Operation Lionhearted at the conclusion!
(All images retrieved from either Pinterest or Google, btw.)
What is your daily writing routine?
Under normal circumstances (i.e., when I’m not prepping a novel for publication), I write from 9 AM to 12 noon almost every day. I work on Tuesdays, and weekends are usually devoted to other things–but most mornings are devoted to editing, drafting, or article-writing.
What’s a recent tip you’ve learned for writing?
I recently listened to a podcast that mentioned Stephen King’s famous advice: “Write a page a day, only 300 words, and in a year you have written a novel.” I really needed that reminder. I don’t have to write 2,000+ words a day to be a true writer; in fact, as I ease back into finally writing new stories without the weight of editing on my shoulders, I’ll probably have difficulty writing that much. But that’s okay! Slow and steady wins the race…and I’m growing more and more hopeful that I’ll be able to write another novel sooner rather than later.
What’s your favorite writerly quote?
“A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. A writer is a writer because, even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.” — Junot Diaz
Do you have someone you consider your writing mentor?
My dad has always been a wordsmith, and I have no doubt that he passed that on to me. When I was little, he’d let me “play” on his computer–but 95% of the time, that meant I was writing stories in Microsoft Word. He’s a great editor, too! He proofed all my essays in school and continues to do the same for my younger siblings.
Other mentors include my personal coach from the two-year writing course I took straight out of high school, and Lancia E. Smith of The Cultivating Project, who constantly inspires me to pursue my creative calling with grace, passion, and humility.
How do you handle criticism and rejection in your writing?
Honestly, I think I’ve gotten so much better with this! Any criticism of my writing used to crush me, but I’ve reached the point where I welcome kind, constructive criticism. I’ve also gained enough confidence in my craft, however, to decide whether or not I actually agree with every single ounce of that criticism. Everyone has different writing styles, and sometimes the criticism stems more from personal preference than any real flaws in the story. And this is okay! It’s just important to know yourself and your story well, so that you can decide for yourself whether or not your original vision is worth tweaking.
Rejection is still hard, of course. I learned that after a year of querying agents and publishers. But it also helped to know that most of the time, those rejections didn’t stem from dislike or prejudice. They were simply driven by business.
What are your publishing aspirations?
I’m truly looking forward to self-publishing my first novel. I’ll be independent of any publication’s political or monetary agendas, and while I’ll have to do all the work of promoting my novel, I think that’ll be a good learning experience for me. I’d still like to work with a traditional publisher at some point, especially if I write something more “contemporary”–but having the self-publishing experience under my belt will, I think, give me the confidence and courage I’ll need to stand my ground with agents and publishers.
What inspires you to keep writing?
I keep writing because I know the world needs good stories. I’m well-aware I’m not the next Flannery O’Connor, Wendell Berry, or J.K. Rowling–but I do know that I can be a little stream flowing out of the great literary rivers they charted.
I also know that my writing will improve over time. I’ve worked really hard on Operation Lionhearted, but I’m sure I’ll probably construct better plots and more complex characters over the next few years. That excites me more than it discourages me. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if I want to improve, then I’ve got to keep calm and carry on!
What is your mission with your writing?
Again, I really just want to tell good stories. I’m a Christian, yes, but I don’t want to write “Christian fiction.” Instead, I want to write stories that inspire Christians and non-Christians alike. Hopefully, these tales of mine will brim with goodness, truth, and beauty, flawed but lovable characters, and plenty of adventure, and those transcendent qualities will point my readers to their true Source without being overbearing or off-putting.
Okay, are y’all ready for a synopsis of Operation Lionhearted? Are you?! I am so ready. This is the first time I’ve ever shared the full synopsis on my blog, so here we go!
Her planet’s future is at stake…but her past is on the line.
Lindy Tremaine is proud of her work with the Meridian Intelligence Department. Clever, courageous, and armed with an uncanny intuition, she is determined to protect the planets of the Kellan Star System from villains and schemers, even if it means going undercover as a fashion journalist.
Tragedy, however, lies beneath Lindy’s self-possessed demeanor. She is an empath, a native of the war-torn Valya, and the man responsible for her mother’s death—the former prince Rael Navorre—still rules her home planet with an iron hand. Haunted by fragmented memories of bloodshed, Lindy refuses to revisit Valya or embrace her heritage, preferring to invest in her career and her adopted family.
But now Lindy and her best friend, Jo Camrin, have received the most daunting assignment of their MID careers: they must protect Valya’s exiled royal family during peace negotiations with Rael. Committed to this mission despite her fears, Lindy soon uncovers a web of lies and technological horrors…as well as the best-kept secret in the Star System.
So what do you think??? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for that newsletter!