When I hung up the phone after my interview with Robin Jones Gunn, I thought, "She is such an incredible person - a beautiful soul, a kindred spirit. I would totally ask her to go out to coffee with me if I were in Portland, Oregon."
I have always admired Robin Gunn. There is something captivating about her easy-to-read, humorous, and light writing style. I love the way that she infuses positive messages into the text of her books with such grace.
There's a difference, however, when you admire someone from afar and when you actually talk to them. Sometimes the person behind the pen can be disappointing. But that was not the case with Robin Gunn. She was exactly how I imagined she would be. Warm. Kind. Content.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Robin Jones Gunn this evening.
Q. I know you've written 63 books, 47 of which are novels, but how long have you been a "Full Time" writer?
A. I made that transition thirteen years ago. I know it was at that point because we moved up here (to Portland) for my husband to go to Seminary. I knew that he really just needed to be doing school. I also knew I could write and I knew I could write faster. For a season, my writing became the sole income for our family. I had to be really on-track – to sign for more books and keep up with more deadlines. (Robin's husband is now a Counselor in private practice).
Q. Can you really make a living as a writer?
A. You really can, but it was a lot more work than I ever thought it would be. I had to give up a lot more than I thought I would. I really had to have a schedule, a discipline, and a rhythm because I also wanted to be available to my kids and to prioritize them. I also supplemented with articles here and there. Those were faster to write. And I also did some speaking and promotions.
Q. What are your top tips for moms who are writing during the early years?
A. I wrote between 3:00 a.m. and 7:00 or 7:30 a.m., three days a week. I’d go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 on those nights. The things that I cut out were things I would have been doing from 8-11 p.m...watching TV, talking on the phone, etc. Because of this schedule, I was able to do the bulk of my work when it wasn’t taking away from my family. I consider it to be a high calling to be a mom and a wife. I asked myself: What are the sacrifices that I will have to make (not that my family will have to make on my behalf)?
I also developed a system with my children during the day where it was really clear that I was going to go make some phone calls. They knew to not come into my room or bother me. I think it was important for them to learn that the reason that I wrote was to support the family.
Q. What are the top writing conferences you have attended?
A. I just got back from the Jerry Jenkins’ Writing for the Soul conference in Colorado. This year, I did five workshops and the key note on Saturday nights. It was a really stellar conference all around.
Mount Hermon is a premiere writers conference held every year over Palm Sunday weekend in Northern California. That conference provides such a wide variety of workshops. They offer workshops for someone who is just beginning and wants to write an article. But they also offer a career track for people who have published two or more books. That's the beauty of Mount Hermon. It's great for any level.
Sally Stewart’s Christian Writers' Market lists a number of one day workshops. Those are great because it’s one day. It’s a small financial investment.
The strongest conference for fiction writers is the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, which is held every fall. There is a lot of creativity, a lot of energy, and a lot of connecting.
When it comes down to it, every writing conference that I have ever attended has been very beneficial.
Q. What are your top tips for other moms who want to publish a book?
A. One thing that helped me immensely is that I joined a critique group that met once a month. My best friend Donna would take my kids from 9:00 in the morning until 3 or 4 in the afternoon (this was before either of them were in school). They loved that they got to see their friends once a month. It helped me to be with other writers. There were no interruptions. It was great to be able to get away and be fully vested in the writing process. We always would work at least four hours and bring our sack lunch.
It's also important to get to some of these writers conferences.
Q. How many children do you have and what are their ages?
A. Two. I have one son and one daughter, ages 26 and 22.
Thanks so much, Robbin. I'm already looking forward to the second Katie Weldon book!
NOTE: I'm taking Robbin's advice about writing conferences and heading to the BookExpo/Writer's Diget Book Writers Conference this May. Anyone else going?
WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of Robin's newest book - Peculiar Treasures (read my full review here). To enter, simply leave a comment on this post prior to Wednesday, April 23 at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules). The winner will be announced and contacted on Thursday, April 24. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
*UPDATE* The winner is #60 Brandy. Congratulations!
Please enter me love her writing
Please enter me!
This sounds like a great book I'd love to read it
ty 4 the great contest!
This would be great to win. Thanks for the contest!
Sounds like a good summer read!
As a total "reader demon", I'm game for a great book and this looks awesome!!
please enter me :)
sounds like a good book :)
This looks like a great read! Thank you for this opportunity!! :)
Hi!! after the hoorors of filing income tax; I'm simply ready to chill out with a good book. Best of luck to all who enter the contest!!! Many Thanks !!! SW
Please enter me into the contest. Thanks!
Books by this author sounds like ones I would love to read.
I had never heard of Robin before reading your review Thanks!!!! I'd love to read one of her books.
I really enjoyed this interview. Please enter me to win.
What a great interview you did. I am such a morning person. I smiled reading her answer about doing her best work at 3am. What an inspiration she is to other women who want to write. Thanks for sharing this interview.
I would love this. Great contest!
I would love to win one of Robin's books...
I would love to win a copy of one of Robin Jones Gunn's books.
Sounds like a good book!
i would like to read this!
63 books, 47 of which are novels, how does one do that... and write quality, that's amazing
Sounds like an interesting book.
I love robin jones gunn. I own so many of her books. I started reading the Christy Miller series, and then Sierra Jensen, and then the adult fiction. She shaped by teenage years.
What a pleasure to hear of someone so genuine and down to earth. I hope she sells tons of books!
Please enter me!
please enter me thanks!
Count me in please.
Please enter me
I'd like to read it
I love your contest.
Please enter me. Thank you.
just to cool
I would love to read it, I am 19.
This would be a welcome addition to our library.
would love to add this - looks like a fascinating read!
Thanks for the contest!
I love to read good books
63 Books! Amazing! I am embarressed to admit, I have yet to read her. Now that I've read your review, I am definetly going to put her on my list! Thanks
I'd love to win one of your books .
Wow.. fun! You actually interviewed her on the phone!?! How cool!
I blogged your contest on Prize-A-Tron
Thank you for this giveaway!
I'd love to read this :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!
Thanks for the interview! I'd love to read one of her books!
thanks for the contest
Would love to win this!
Please enter me and thank you!
This sounds great!
Love to read. Thanks for the chance.
I love reading local authors! I am in Portland too. I am sorry to say I haven't read any of her books, but I will look right away.
I always love good read! :)
WOULD LOVE TO READ THIS
I can read
i love to read.
Sisterchicks are my favorite
Nice, thank you!
I love a good book.
Thanks for the chance to win.
I'd like to read this book.
I find the interview very interesting
I love RJG! Sisterchicks are my favorite (in Gondolas was my fav of those) and I'm looking forward to the new one in May! I also loved Gardenias for Breakfast. I read it when my daughter was 12, so that made it even more special. I have another daughter turning 12 this month, so I need to re-read it :) I haven't gotten any of her YA books yet, so please pick me!!
Have a great day =)
I love Robin Jones Gunn. I'm sure this book will be good.
Sounds like a good coming of age book to read. I have a niece who would really enjoy this author's books. I wish Robin would send me some of your energy! That is a lot of books she has already written! Wow. Please enter me in your drawing.
Love her books. I've read some of the SisterChicks and a few of the Christy Miller. Great, fun reads!
Sounds great! :)
I would like to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.
always looking for a new book to read
thanks for the chance
Enjoyed the interview, count me in!
Yes, please! I love her books!
Sounds like a fabulous book for my daughter who just turned 21!
I too grew up reading the Christy Miller series (and read them over and over again!). And admired Christy greatly! I was so sad when she got married (oops! Sorry for those of you who haven't yet read them!) ...and have often wished her story into married life and motherhood would have been continued. She felt like a dear friend... (I even went to they same Bible School in England that she did! :) I'd love to dive into some of Robin's newer books. I just might have to request they stock them at my local library. Thanks for the encouragement to go check them out!
I would love to win this book. I actually live about 15 minutes from Portland! Thanks for the giveaway!
Enter me please.
Count me in!
please enter me
Can't wait to read!
Oh I like this - thank you for the contest
Thanks for the interview with Robin. It was nice to hear an author's tips and insights.
This sounds like a good read.
I love her.
thanks for taking the time to do the interview!
I want to win!
Sounds like a good book.
Please enter me!