By: Kathie Scrimgeour
It is so much fun talking with all the talented writers who are members of PPW, and Tena Stetler is no exception. She and I chatted on the phone and she shared with me some of her experiences and inspirations.
Tena has been writing for as long as she can remember, and during the last six years she’s spent her time honing her craft. She writes paranormal romance with elements of mystery woven in. A Demon’s Witch, her first publication came out September, 2015, followed by Charm Me, then A Witch’s Journey which released in June, 2016. Read on to learn more about Tena.
Kathie Scrimgeour: Do you have anything in particular you are working on right now?
Tena Stetler: Yes, my holiday book is in edits with my publisher The Wild Rose Press (due out 3-17) and my WIP is due mid August.
Kathie Scrimgeour: Tell us a little about it.
Tena Stetler: My holiday book is a sequel to A Witch’s Journey, released 6/15/16; A Warlock’s Secrets is the 2nd in my Demon’s Witch series and centers around Tristian, enforcer for the Demon Overlord of the Western Hemisphere.
Kathie Scrimgeour: Have you set any goals for your publication date?
Tena Stetler: Yes, the sequel to A Witch’s Journey should be out after Thanksgiving; I hope to submit and get A Warlock’s Secret out by early 2017.
Kathie Scrimgeour: Do you set daily, weekly, or monthly writing goals? If yes, what are they?
Tena Stetler: Daily goal is at least 1,500; weekly and monthly goals build on that but at least 6,500. What do you do to insure you meet these goals? I have a strict writing schedule of 6 hours a day. I use two hours in the morning for promo, email, etc., then start writing. I usually try to take weekends off unless a deadline looms.
Kathie Scrimgeour: If you have a completed manuscript/story/poem/flash have you submitted it yet?
Tena Stetler: Yes, several.
Kathie Scrimgeour: What have the results been?
Tena Stetler: A Demon’s Witch was published September 15, 2015; Charm Me was published January 6, 2016; A Witch’s Journey, released June 15, 2016; A Witch’s Holiday Wedding will release over the holidays 2016.
Kathie Scrimgeour: How do you get past the "No's"?
Tena Stetler: Ignore them.
Kathie Scrimgeour: What do your reject letters say?
Tena Stetler: Because I waited until I was sure my projects were ready to for a publisher’s critical eye, I’ve received very few rejections, but the one’s I’ve received requested minor changes and resubmission. Or changes for contract.
Kathie Scrimgeour: What best advice, or lessons learned, have you gotten from them?
Tena Stetler: Don’t send your manuscript in until you are sure it is ready. Don’t change your WIP every time someone says you should change it. If several people say the same thing, then take a look at it and consider the changes. Remember writing is subjective, one person could absolutely love your work, another hate it. Make sure you are submitting to the correct publisher for your genre and story content. Above all believe in yourself and don’t let naysayers get you down. You need a thick skin to survive in the publishing world. Write what you love! If you don’t, the readers will know.
Kathie Scrimgeour: What does success mean to you?
Tena Stetler: I thought publication of my first book was success. But as I continue to write, I think it’s the fact that I put my heart and soul into each one of my books and that they bring enjoyment to my readers. For a few hours or days they whisk my readers away from reality into a magical fantasy world, where they can leave their troubles behind. Always know my books have a happily-ever-after ending.
Kathie Scrimgeour: Does success scare you or motivate you?
Tena Stetler: Both. After finishing a book, I am motivated to start another, but there is always that little voice in the back of my head saying, what if the readers don’t like this one. I thought after my first release, this feeling would go away, but it only gets stronger.
Kathie Scrimgeour: What do you do when procrastination is winning over writing?
Tena Stetler: Take the dog for a walk, do laundry (I hate it) or sit in my sunroom, relax and see what comes to mind.
Kathie Scrimgeour: Writing conferences, workshops, and critique groups are an important part of the new writer's experiences (and more experienced writers too!). How have they helped you?
Tena Stetler: Talking with like-minded people is a thrill. They get you. Listening to the tales of someone else’s writing journey to publication is interesting. Knowing you are not alone; everyone gets rejections. You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and write on.
Kathie Scrimgeour: How long have you been a member of Pikes Peak Writers?
Tena Stetler: Since 2009, that’s what, 7 years.
Kathie Scrimgeour: Do you attend the PPW events outside the conference and, if so, which ones are your favorite?
Tena Stetler: I attend Write Brains when my deadlines allow. PPWC when funds and time allow.
Kathie Scrimgeour: Do you have any "self-help for writers" books that you use regularly?
Tena Stetler: Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon (It’s an old Writer’s Digest book) Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View, by Jill Elizabeth Nelson; The Emotional Thesaurus.
Kathie Scrimgeour: How do they help?
Tena Stetler: Reminding you of the basics necessary to build great characters, which in turn creates a great book. Ok, just one more I have to mention Goal Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon. That is a must in any writer’s library.
Kathie Scrimgeour: Does your reading influence your writing? How?
Tena Stetler: It’s fun to see how other writer’s stories unfold.
Kathie Scrimgeour: If you met someone who was thinking about starting to write, what advice would you give them?
Tena Stetler: Write what you love. Don’t take everything everyone says to heart. Learn your craft. Attend workshops, conference, talk to other writers, join critique groups. Above all keep writing. The more you write the better you get.
Kathie Scrimgeour: What is one (or a few) of the most important lessons you have learned so far?
Tena Stetler: Writing is subjective. A bad review or rejection letter is not the end of the world. Write what you love!
Kathie Scrimgeour: How has writing or being published changed you?
Tena Stetler: I didn’t realize that every new book is just as nerve wracking as the previous one. I am always asking myself, “Will my readers like it? Is it any good?” I don’t seem to get used to it. After going through the publishing process several times, I have found things to get easier when doing interviews, along with marketing through Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.
Kathie Scrimgeour: What expertise in your background do you draw on in your writing?
Tena Stetler: been a paralegal for a criminal law firm, a DJ on a popular Rock station, an IT Manger from an electrical contracting firm and involved in with animal rescue. I think the experience in each of those fields have been a great benefit to my writing and breathing life into my characters and books.
Tena Stetler can be found all over the web. Here are just a few places to read more of her writing journey or purchase her books.
Social media pages:
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/tenastetler.author
Twitter Page: www.twitter.com/TenaStetler Or twitter handle: @tenastetler
The Wild Rose Press: http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/1264_tena-stetler
Newsletter: sign up on my website www.tenastetler.com