On Friday, I had the privilege of introducing you to the awesome Susy Flory, click back to get an understanding of who she is. I promise you’ll be inspired!
I’m always really curious about how and when people decide to begin writing. So today we’re going to dive into her writing journey.
LN: When did you first think about writing a book or writing as a career? How long did it take you to act on that desire? What was your first attempt like?
SF: I always had a dream, buried in my heart of hearts, to be a writer. But I never, ever thought it could happen. When I was in grade school, my mom would take me to the city library, always kind of an adventure because we had to run the gauntlet of bums sunning themselves on the grass in front of the library. But it was worth it. Pushing through the glass doors was like entering a treasure cave, with the paper, glue, ink, and ideas more precious than any gemstone. So to me, writers were like an exalted race that I could never be a part of….that is, until I went to my first writers conference and actually met some. I found out they were pretty much like me—bookworms and nerds who love words.
Just about every writing accomplishment stems from attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference over the years. I met my agent there in 2004, along with the editors of my books. I’ve also made lots of writer friends at Mount Hermon. My first book contract came from an unsolicited e-mail query I sent to the late Dan Penwell of AMG; he was one of the most loved book editors in CBA. It was a lovely surprise after 13 rejections.
LN: Tell us a little about garnering the attention of Chip MacGregor. When did you first meet him and how did that lead to his offer of representation?
SF: At that first writers conference, I was lucky enough to take a series of workshops from an agent who had a PhD in organizational psychology. His name was Chip MacGregor. Chip is hilarious. I love that. My mother is Irish and her motto is “Better to laugh than cry.” Chip made me laugh. He also led us through a terrific goal-setting exercise, including setting goals for one month, six months, one year, five years, and ten years. I still work off of that list of goals today. He invited us, when we were ready, to approach him for representation.
Three years later, with much fear and trembling I took Chip up on that offer and sent a query email. He asked to see more. I sent him a proposal and I think he saw something he liked. We exchanged emails and phone calls and writing ideas for about 6 months before he offered to represent me. I was in shock. I love working with him. He’s smart and he tells me the truth about my work. He’s a great career adviser and I feel like he has my back. He also has a shepherd’s heart and he’s a man of prayer. When I was going through cancer, he often checked in and faithfully prayed for me.
LN: Your books are labeled as “creative nonfiction.” What catches your eye when brainstorming new projects? Will you ever dabble in fiction? Your love of horses and upbringing by a cowboy would lend itself nicely to a historical.
SF: I love big stories with happy endings and I look for a strong faith in God at the core. I’m a journalist so I also look for stories I can bring to life by exploring the culture, history, and theology behind the story so I can educate my readers, as well as entertain and inspire them. And fiction? I’ll admit that I do have an idea for a novel featuring a blind man, not a cowboy. However, a historical on a blind cowboy might be interesting. Hmmm…..
LN: I love your story, Susy! It’s a great testament to the importance of attending a writers conference!
Tomorrow is our last day with Susy and she wraps it up by giving us some solid writing advice. See you then!