Today is the second part of my Christmas Miracles Blog Tour. I am so excited to have with me Tracy Ruckman, author of Miracle of the Nativity, one of the beautiful stories featured in Christmas Miracles.
A fun side-note about the following interview is that Tracy answered all my nosy questions in the middle of a hurricane! Talk about dedication...and putting up with an annoying interviewer.
Now on with the show. Welcome, Tracy! You sure have a lot going on. Photographer, author, editor, mom, and writing promoter. How in the world do you balance everything?
I have a very supportive husband, and I work a lot of hours. But when you love what you're doing, it doesn't seem like work! I've very blessed to do what I'm doing. I've learned to take a 24-hour Sabbath each week - usually from some point Saturday to some point Sunday. I think that helps me rest and refresh.
Christmas Miracles is a beautiful book. What can you tell us about it?
We're so excited about this book - the stories included are incredible. Tim and I are reading one story per day with our "Preparing Your Heart for Advent" Bible study, and it is just blessing us beyond measure. Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson did a tremendous job of pulling all the stories together, and St. Martin's packaged it so beautifully. It makes a perfect Christmas gift, basket filler, or stocking stuffer! We also learned it's going to be printed in Swedish, too! How fun is that?
Writing for anthologies is a tough nut to crack. Do you have any suggestions for writers who aspire to break into the market?
The first thought that came to mind was, "Try, try again." Keep writing, write tight - make every word count, and write from the heart. I shared recently that God took two of the hardest times of my life, gave me the ability and courage to pour the experiences out on paper, and let if find favor with the authors and publisher. So have courage - share of yourself.
You are a writer, editor and designer for hire. What is the one thing you believe editors look for first in a manuscript?
A story compelling enough to keep turning pages, is first and foremost, but if the story isn't presented professionally, it's not going to get much attention either. Prove to the editor you know what you're doing by studying the industry and learn how to submit.
As an editor, what makes you stop reading a submission?
This question is interesting to me right now, because of a discussion going on over at my blog about the responsibilities of a writer. How are our responsibilities as writers who happen to be Christians different from our responsibilities as writers of Christian material? If I am presented with a manuscript claiming to be written for the Christian market, yet I find many highly objectionable issues, I'll stop reading. Then I'll discuss the matter with the writer to determine his or her goals for the project, then we'll go from there.
What would you tell those writers who continue to improve in their craft, but have still not received that elusive contract?
Oh, please don't give up. Keep writing. You'll only improve. Look at other options if publishing is vastly important to you. If you write nonfiction, self-publishing (especially in today's market of print-on-demand) might be a viable option for you - especially if you've got a platform through speaking engagements or a heavy online presence.
I see your faith is a very important part of your identity. If you don’t mind me asking, does it influence your writing, and how?
Yes, faith is very much a part of my writing. To continue my thoughts from the earlier question, we have a responsibility as Christian writers, and as writers of Christian materials, to shine the Light of Jesus into this dark world - and even if we don't mention Christianity in any form, that responsibility still exists to not spread darkness. So with each story I create, each character I develop - I think of the reader. Will this story cause readers to stumble in their faith? Or will it give them hope? Are my stories God-honoring, or self-honoring? Our sole purpose is to glorify God in all we do - if our stories fail to do that, then we need to rethink our mission.
I am a fellow dog lover and animal rescue advocate. People tell me my dogs are my muse. Has your dog ever inspired a story idea or made an appearance in your writing?
Abby is truly a member of our family - thank you for asking! Some of my stories have had dogs, but I've never featured her in one yet. Hmmm ... maybe it's time. Thanks for the idea!
Thanks for stopping by, Tracy. Is there anything else you would like to add? Please tell us how to learn more about your workshops and especially about Christmas Miracles.
Thanks for having me, Teresa! Your questions have been great!
Readers can learn more about our online writing courses at WIES Workshops - www.WIESworkshops.com. We offer gift certificates, too, for our classes and our editing services, so if you know any writers who might benefit, keep us in mind as you do your gift shopping!
You can read my story, "Miracle of the Nativity" in Christmas Miracles-available online, and they're now beginning to appear in the stores. Grab one if you see it - they're selling out quickly, and we're already on our third printing! You can also order from the link on my blog - www.pixnpens.com.
Be sure to let your readers know about the cool contest we're having over at Pix-N-Pens. All during the month of December, we'll be featuring Christmas stories submitted by readers. Pix-N-Pens will publish a book with the top 20-30 stories, and the top three will receive cash prizes! Deadline is November 25, so get your story in soon!
You heard that, writers and readers. Get your Christmas stories over to Tracy and the staff at Pix-N-Pens. And don't forget you must comment to this post or yesterday's to enter to win the fabulous gift basket from the creators of Christmas Miracles.