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Monday, May 21, 2007

Interview with Ed Horton!

Today I’m happy to welcome Ed Horton to our blog. As the author of the Buzzy Ghent Mysteries for kids, Ed is enthusiastic about sharing awesome Christian writings with kids of all ages!

LISA: Ed, tell us a bit about the process you took to see your books in print.

ED: My experience is just a bit different because I have self-published both of my Buzzy Ghent Mysteries children’s books. I did it for two reasons. First, I wanted to experience the publishing process, to understand it; and secondly, I wanted some control over the process—from the editing to the cover design. My self-publishing experience through Pleasant Word (a division of WinePress) was wonderful and I learned a great deal. Whether self-published or traditional, it’s exhilarating the moment you hold the published book in your hands—almost equivalent to holding a newborn for the first time.

LISA: Tell us some of the background behind the idea for your stories and about the story itself.

ED: Sometimes I just stumble onto the ideas. For example, a couples' baby shower my wife and I attended birthed the name for my outspoken one-armed, girl-sleuth named Buzzy Ghent. We played a game where our answers from two questions were put together to form choices for the baby's first and middle names. The couple selected my “Buzzy Ghent” as the winning name and it occurred to me it would make a great name for a protagonist.

The idea for my current suspense/thriller manuscript came from a childhood incident when family friends were brutally murdered by an estranged son-in-law. Using my recollections, I found the facts on the internet and they became the basis for chapter one. The rest of the story deals with the fictional impact upon the characters’ lives—most notably, revenge, forgiveness, and guilt.

LISA: I love the impact a story can have on kids. It's a great way to teach them spiritual truths in a relaxed atmosphere. I've also found I grow alongside my characters, especially spiritually. Is there a character who you relate to and who made an input on your life?

ED: I inject bits and pieces of myself into many of my characters. I can probably relate the best to the detective—Cliff Dakota—in my current wip. I can identify with some of the foibles and conflicted fears he struggles to overcome. Sometimes I shake my head in amazement at the manuscript’s words about forgiveness, realizing the Holy Spirit is ministering as I’m writing. And if the Holy Spirit is speaking to me, he will use the same words to speak to others!

LISA: What is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?

ED: Which of the three number one things would you like to hear? All of them? Okay!

To persevere. A great reminder comes from a Gilbert Morris quote in his book, How to Write and Sell a Christian Novel. “If you have talent, and if you will put in the hours and not give up, you can make it as a writer. You can do what you really want to do, and that's something that most people miss in this brief life.”

To live by faith. I wrote the following question down some time ago and it still haunts me, “Do I make decisions based upon what I know today, or on what God may do in the future?” Catch the “may” word.

To read. I have always loved to read. But now I read for more than pleasure or to gather information. I read to learn about writing from other respected CBA writers. I watch how they structure their stories. How do they handle POV? What do they do to develop strong, interesting characters? I read their writing to learn how to improve my own!

LISA: Great advise! Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?

ED: Since venturing into the world of writing Christian novels for grownup readers, I’ve begun looking for an agent to help develop my writing career. I started my writing career with devotionals, magazine articles, and short stories, and then I wandered into writing books. Now, it’s time to focus my writing on novels that both entertain and minister to the soul.

LISA: Because I know there are many aspiring writers out there, can you share any tidbits of wisdom on getting published?

ED: First, if you have the time and money, don’t be afraid to self-publish. Make sure to select a company that offers strong editing (sometimes at an extra cost) and one who will get your books listed on websites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. They should have a distribution network to take orders. Of course, you’ll want your own website and blog to promote the books.

Second, network like your writing career depends upon it, because it does! Great storytelling is essential, and so is getting the word out about your writing. Attend writer’s conferences and meet with agents and editors. Speak with other writers and learn their successes and failures.

LISA: Any writer’s resources you could recommend?

ED: I’ll quickly name a broad range of writer’s resources, and some examples of each, that are important to me…

• Books on Writing (i.e., Writer’s Digest Books, Roget’s Super Thesaurus, Pinckert’s Practical Grammar, Penelope Stokes’ The Complete Guide to Writing & Selling the Christian Novel)

• Books on Marketing (i.e., Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide)

• Writing memberships (i.e., ACFW, CWFI)

• Writer’s conferences (i.e., ACFW, Colorado Christian Writers, Glorieta)

• Writer’s websites (i.e., ACFW, CAN, Brandilyn Collins Seatbelt Suspense)

• Blogs (i.e., We CAN Promote Blog, Charis Connection, Keep Me in Suspense, The Writing Life – Terry Whalin)

• Free e-zines (i.e., Randy Ingermanson, Terry Whalin)

LISA: What is the process you use when writing a mystery/suspense?

ED: I’ve used two very differing SOTP methods—Seat Of The Pants and Seriously Outline The Plot. I structured and outlined each chapter in the first Buzzy Ghent book. However, the second book was far less structured. I knew where the book was going and had a sentence stating the objective of each chapter. There is a wild charm associated with seat-of-the-pants writing that appeals to me. Although I may well end up doing more rewriting, I love the freedom of creating twists and turns at will!

LISA: What is your system to keep the story/clues organized?

ED: For the Buzzy Ghent books, I had no real system. However, for longer adult novels I’m writing the clues down to track them. I also depend heavily upon my wife’s critical eye to catch any inconsistencies.

LISA: Tell us a bit about the research you had to do for this story?

ED: There was not a great deal of research involved in the Buzzy Ghent mysteries. However, my as-of-yet unpublished Winnebago Boys series features the RV travels of a family with three boys to historical sites around the United States. The first book moves westward along the Lewis and Clark trail. I spent a great deal of enjoyable time doing research using the internet, reading informational books, and even taking a family vacation along a portion of the trail.

LISA: That sounds like something my ten year old would love! Thanks so much for stopping by Ed. For the rest of you, please check our contest page for a chance to win a copy of The Attic’s Hidden Secret AND Missing at Camp Winni, books one and two in the series. The drawing will be held on June 4th!

For more information on Ed’s books, stop by his website


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