Today, I'm introducing you to a very cool friend of mine, Gloria Lyons. In the time I have known her, she's been a huge inspiration to me as an author. Her list of accomplishments is quite impressive and so diverse. This is a talented lady! Read on to learn about all the sensational things she's done with her love for words.
What’s your technique for coming up with story ideas?
Prompts are always a good source of inspiration. I’ve had five short stories selected and four published by Chicken Soup for the Soul (Married Life, Find Your Happiness, Inspiration for the Young at Heart, and Shaping the New You. You can read these stories on my author website: www.gloriahanderlyons.com). The Chicken Soup editors send out notices about upcoming topics, and if one speaks to me, I apply it to an experience from my life.
I came up with the idea to write, Kiss My Grits, Sugar: Southern Humor with a Side of Tasty Fixin’s, from a neighbor who held a contest on her blog, and the prize was a book called Putting on the Grits. Since I was born and raised in the South, I wrote a series of short stories about growing up there during the 1950s and included many of my family’s favorite recipes (including grits). Read sample stories from this book at www.kissmygrits-sugar.blogspot.com
One of my favorite sayings is, “What’s up with that?” when I see something happening that’s just too weird to understand. That inspired me to write a collection of short stories, What’s Up with That? Humorous Short Stories About Life in Modern Day America. A couple of these stories are also on my author website.
Inspiration is everywhere. The key to finding it is to stay alert and be observant as to what is going on all around you.
Your five favorite books of all time?
I don’t have five favorite books, but I love to read cozy murder mysteries. My favorite authors are Janet Evanovich, Anne George, Susan Wittig Albert and Sue Grafton.
Tell us all the books you’ve written and where we can find them.
I’ve written and self-published 22 books (cookbooks and how-to books about interior decorating, self-publishing, crafting, planning weddings, tea parties and theme parties, plus short story collections) and 20 e-booklets (cooking and crafting). You can see the entire list on my books website: www.bluesagepress.com.
What can you say as an experienced writer who has sold books to a newcomer who hopes to see their books find success?
Make sure your book is the absolute best you can make it—whether you do it all yourself, as I did, or hire professionals to help you with editing, layout and cover design. You want to be extremely proud of the finished product.
How long does it take you, on average, to finish writing a book?
If I’m developing the recipes for a cookbook, as I did with Easy Microwave Desserts inn a Mug, it took a year to perfect them, photograph the samples, and then write the cookbook.
How-to books generally take about three months.
A collection of short stories can take about six months.
Do you think it’s imperative to find an agent at some point?
Personally, I don’t feel the need for an agent, since I have self-published all my books, and sell them on my websites, blogs and Amazon.com. But my main goal is not to make the most money I can from selling them, it is simply to share what I’ve written with others.
Do you have any hobbies besides writing?
I have always enjoyed crafting (all kinds of needlework, woodworking, metal working, painting, sewing, and anything else I wanted to try). I sold my creations at craft shows many years ago, but, since I enjoyed trying all types of craft mediums, I began designing my own projects and got my start in writing by submitting these original designs to editors of national magazines. I had more than 125 designs published between 1983 and 1995.
What impression do you hope people will take away after meeting you for the first time?
That I am passionate about what I do. I love learning new things and then can’t wait to share them with others through writing and teaching classes. Nothing is more fulfilling for me than helping others succeed.
Thanks so much to Gloria for sharing her story with us! And I'll see you all back here next time. Happy weekend to all!