Interview & Book Give-Away with Susan Baganz & Please Pray For My Mom

Baganz 0524 Edited colorSweet friends, first of all, I need to ask for your prayers. My 83yo mother took a nasty fall on Sunday and is still in ICU. Praise God, nothing is life-threatening right now, but she had a deep gash to her forehead, which was repaired Sunday in the ER. But the bad part is she has broken multiple bones, including her arm, shoulder, multiple ribs, and her kneecap. She’s in a lot of pain and has surgery scheduled (again–this is the 4th date we’ve been given!) for Wednesday. Christian Communicators Conference begins tomorrow and I’m not going to be able to be there, at least not now. I’m praying I’ll be able to get up there later in the week.

Please pray for relief of pain, successful surgery, and that she’ll be able to get into a good rehab facility. She’s expected to be in rehab 3 months. Praise God, none of this has taken our Lord by surprise and He’s still in control! Now let’s get to this exciting interview with author and editor Susan Baganz!

Friends, if you’ve ever wondered how anyone can write a gazillion words a month and create multiple books a year, well, here’s your chance to find out. Prolific writer, Susan Baganz, is with us today to share her story about writing stories!

And if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Susan’s latest book, Feta & Freeways, simply leave a comment for Susan here and you’ll be in the drawing!

Let’s get started! Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Susan. We’ve all seen you post significant word counts over the past few years on this blog for the MoGo7000 Challenge. So inquiring minds want to know, how much and how often do you really write?

I’m an author but I’m also an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group so I juggle my writing with my editing for others. I can’t write every day but when I do, I do it quickly and obsessively. I’m a panster. I start with a concept and inciting incident and my characters take me on a journey. On a rare day I can pen 5,000-10,000 words (the next might be 161!). I write every year in November for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org), and “won” seven years in a row.  I’ve written two to three novels/novellas a year for some time now, completing 16 manuscripts in six years. As of this date five have been published and eight more are contracted.

That’s unbelievable! Don’t you ever get writer’s block?

I don’t call it writer’s block. I call it a wall of fear. With every novel I hit a point in the story where I think the story is crap and I’ve written myself into a corner. I pray. I go to bed. The next morning, I force myself to write. I cannot remember where that spot was in any of my stories. Fear is a writer’s biggest enemy.

I totally agree! What’s been your biggest surprise in writing?

I love my stories and characters but when revisions come I’m always amazed at the mistakes I made. Editing is a humbling process. I write romances but what surprised me most is that men love my stories. I’m grateful for the unexpected audience.

You’ve written a series of contemporary romance novels of which Feta & Freeways is the third book. What ties these novels together?

I wrote the first book, Pesto & Potholes, to show not only the story but the importance of being involved in a church. The opportunity to worship, be taught, engage in fellowship with other believers along with encouragement and accountability—is a key part of our faith in Christ.

All stories are set against the backdrop of a fictional church, Orchard Hill.FetaandFreewaysCover copy-1 Renata and Tony were the subject of Pesto & Potholes and Stephanie was Renata’s roommate and became the subject of Salsa & Speed Bumps. At the end of that novel we meet Tia who becomes a friend of Stephanie’s. Tia appears in book 3, Feta & Freeways. Niko and Tia feature there along with Niko’s cousin Johnny who then becomes the feature of book 4, Root Beer & Road Blocks. There are several more fun titles and great characters in the series to come!

Those are fun titles, how did you come up with them?

I originally wanted to show, in Pesto & Potholes, the concept of potholes. The difficulty of overcoming challenges through perseverance. That even with faith, emotional growth is often a rocky trajectory. Pesto had Antonio, a single Italian chef, and it’s a favorite sauce in our family. A funny combo of food with a road-related theme became a fun way to set the stories apart.

When someone dared me to write book two and title it Salsa & Speed Bumps the challenge was on to continue to use road themes to illustrate growth through emotional challenges but in the context of a body of believers.

When I got my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School I never dreamed I would be using my education and training to illustrate God’s love and the power evidenced in the Body of Christ, through fiction. The reality is that our faith is dynamic and thrives in community. We cannot grow spiritually without also growing emotionally. Personally I can’t imagine facing the trials of this life without God and the support of a community of believers. My characters live those truths.

Yes, I can attest to the fact that characters can help us and others face lies and live truth. What an honor to create evidence of the Lord and His Light! 

Thank you for being here with us today, Susan. And CWD friends, thank you for stopping by. If you’d like to have a chance to win a free copy of Feta & Freeways, simply leave a comment for Susan and you’ll be in the drawing. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

BIO: Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits, and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group, specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.

Susan speaks, teaches, and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and serves on the board of the southeast chapter. Her favorite pastimes are lazy…snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.

You can learn more by following her blog www.susanbaganz.com, her Twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz. Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/silygoos

 

 

Posted in categories: Business of Writing | Interviews | Jesus | Uncategorized | Writing Instruction

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  • Glenda Mills

    Praying for your mom Vonda, and for you.

    • Thank you, Glenda. She’s making progress, praise God!

  • Jean Matthew Hall

    Praying for your Mom, Vonda. Our roles reverse if we live long enough, don’t they?

    • So true, Jean. It’s sad to see them decline, but we’ll all be there one of these days…if the Lord doesn’t come first!

  • Judy C. Taylor

    Susan, I love the creative, interesting titles in your series. My mother-in-law will receive one of your books as a birthday gift. Your comment that you can not remember the spot you hit the wall of fear is encouraging. It will remind me to pray and let go the next time I get stuck.

    • Judy, Thank you for your kind words for Susan. I know your mom-in-law will love Susan’s books!

    • Hi Judy! I’m glad that was helpful! And I hope your MIL loves the book! Thank you for visiting here! Keep writing!

  • Nan Jones

    Vonda, I’m so, so sorry to hear about your mom. I’m holding you and her close to my heart in prayer.

    Susan, I still remember hugging your neck at Writer’s Boot Camp a few years ago after your complicated travel to get there 😉 You are such an inspiration in your ability to pump out those words so quickly! I’m happy for you with your success. Blessings, Nan

    • Thank you for your prayers, Nan. She has a long road to ahead, for sure. 🙁

      And what sweet things to say about Susan. She certainly is a prolific writer. If only I could get a tenth of that done!

    • Nan! I remember you as well! What an adventure that was! Way too short a time for me in NC! I need to return I think! That was the year you won that publishing contract from Lighthouse! So exciting! Fond memories. I love making friends online and then getting to know them in person too! SO fun to see how God is using you as well!

  • Marilyn Turk

    Vonda, Praying for your dear mother.
    Susan, thank you for your post. Wish I could write as quickly as you.
    Blessings,
    Marilyn Turk

    • Thank you for your prayers, Marilyn. She needs them!

    • Thanks for visitng, Marilyn. Not every day is a great writing day and I’ve had books that have taken a long time to write with other projects coming into my life. It’s fun when it works like that. One thing I like to remind people is m process is mine – a great author doesn’t have to write fast. They just need to write and that’s what’s wonderful about MOGO 7000! It evens the playing field for everyone and is a nice incentive to sit down and do the hard work.

  • Marilyn Nutter

    Vonda– so sorry to hear of you mother’s fall and now surgery. Praying for her and you. Susan—Remembering our time as roomies at a conference and met you for the first time so I especially enjoyed reading this interview and hearing about your successes!

    • I remember you, roomie! One of the blessings of conferences is the friends you make along the way! ((hugs!))

    • So glad to see y’all were roomies and already knew each other. Many of my writing besties are friends I met at writing conferences.

  • Vonda, so sorry to hear of your mother’s fall. Definitely will be praying for each of you through this difficult time. Hugs.

  • Heidi Burns

    Susan- I so enjoy journeying with these characters as the series progresses. You are certainly prolific. Yet, it is your character development and the way you unfold how your characters overcome their wounds and trials with faith and fellowship in your unique voice that captures me. I can’t wait to read more!

    • Wow, what a great endorsement, Heidi. That’s the kind of thing all us authors dream of! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thank you, Heidi! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my stories! Thanks for stopping in here!

  • So grateful to be here, Vonda! Praying for you, your mother, and the medical professionals who are helping you all.

    • Thank you, Susan! It’s a joy to share your insight and wisdom with my friends. 🙂

    • Here’s the back page for Feta & Freeways – so they know what they are going in a drawing for:

      He’d never noticed her…till now.

      Nikolos Acton is the lead singer of a Christian Band, Specific Gravity, struggling to make it in the industry after an unplanned break, touring the country with their manager, Tia.

      Tia Bartel loved Niko for the longest time, but it wasn’t until she stepped in to save his life that he finally realizes what has been there all along. Is it too late for him? Could a relationship between them work after years of ignoring her? How would he ever convince her he’s worthy of her trust?

      As they journey on the freeway of life and love, they encounter struggles as they are forced to rely on their faith, and friends, to make it through.

      Releases 9/16 but up for preorder on Amazon for ebook – giveaway is for the print version from moi!