Author Spotlight: Erin E. M. Hatton
By Erin E. M. Hatton
Erin Elisabeth Margaret Hatton is an author from Barrie, Ontario with a lifelong passion for writing, particularly historical fiction and fantasy. She graduated from Redeemer University College with degrees in education and music. She makes her home with her husband Kevin and four young children. Her published works include several short stories, six novellas, and two books: an urban-fantasy romance novel entitled Otherworld_, for which she was shortlisted for the Grace Irwin Award, and a Regency-era romance anthology called To Woo a Lady. In 2014 she won the Word Alive Press Free Publishing Contest for her historical novel, Across the Deep&ss=r. Today she joins us on the blog to talk publishing experience and advice for young writers!
If you speak to a published author, they’ll often tell you that writing the book is the easiest part. They’re not wrong.
There’s the painstaking editing, the scrapping it all and starting over, and the scariest of all—putting your heart out there for someone else to judge and potentially to stamp on. It takes a lot of courage, especially after a series of rejections, to keep improving and submitting your manuscript.
Then there’s the flurry of activity that happens after someone takes a chance on your work—the carousel ride of social media and public appearances that doesn’t stop when you type the words “the end.”
A ride is the best word I can use to describe the whole surreal experience. Ups and downs, twists and turns, sometimes nauseating but altogether thrilling. You’ll do whatever it takes to get on that ride—stand in line for hours, maybe—and as soon as it’s over, you want back on.
For me, the publishing process has helped in my personal growth more than almost any other experience. Not only have I stepped out and allowed others to read my work, but I’ve learned they actually like it. I’ve learned that constructive criticism isn’t the end of a dream, but the beginning. I’ve learned that it takes a few false starts to get the hang of writing well.
I’ve also learned about balancing my life—about setting workable routines for all the facets of a published author’s life, about getting in a little writing time every day and making room for pure creativity, and especially about taking time to remember why I love writing in the first place.
I’m so thankful that Word Alive Press has given me the chance to live this dream. The ride might be frightening, but I wouldn’t get off for the world.
Helpful Hints for Authors
1. Never stop learning. Take a course, read a book, do some writing exercises, or subscribe to a writer’s blog. Challenge yourself. Just like an athlete, your writing muscles only get stronger with resistance.
2. Don’t take criticism personally. Most people offer suggestions out of a desire to help improve your writing. If they’re tearing your work apart out of spite or jealousy, they don’t matter. Don’t listen. If they mean well but know nothing about good writing, they don’t matter. Thank them politely and disregard. But if an expert on writing offers you constructive criticism, accept it gladly and do whatever you can to put it into practice. This is a gift!
3. Be brave. Write out of your deepest places. Dig into those shadowy corners of your soul and bring them to light. This is what breathes life and meaning into your writing.
4. Write your passion. There’s a place for making a buck from writing something you’re not interested in. But if that’s all you do, if you never write out of your creative bent, you’ll stifle your creativity and quench your fire. Write what you love. Write what moves you. Because it will show in your writing. And chances are, there’s a reader out there who shares that passion.
5. Use a method that works for you. There are all kinds of writing methods out there, ranging from the hyper-organized plot planner to the “pantser” who writes without a map. Whether you write in a straight line from start to finish or jump around your storyline, whether you write at the same time every day or whenever inspiration strikes, whether you have files of background material or just a dream in your head, it doesn’t matter in the long run. Try different writing styles and use the ones that work.
About this Contributor:
Erin E.M. Hatton is the author of Otherworld and Across the Deep, winner of the 2014 Free Publishing Contest for Fiction. She has also authored several short stories and novellas. She graduated from Redeemer University College and lives in Barrie, Ontario with her husband Kevin and four children.
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