Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour - Double Vision

Greetings, blog readers!

The photo shows Randy Ingermanson (on the right) signing some of his books at Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference with co-author John Olson.

Each month that I participate in the CSFF blog tour, I try to think of a unique slant to bring to my post. I was delighted to see that Randy Ingermanson and Double Vision were to be featured this month.

You see, Randy was a key part of my writing journey.

Several years ago, when I began writing The Restorer, I was discouraged by chatter on writer’s loops. One woman told me emphatically that a new author can’t break in with fiction – (that was before I found the ACFW loop! LOL!) and that I should create a nonfiction speaking platform before trying to publish a nonfiction book (that’s what worked for her). Others said that really stellar fiction by a new author MIGHT find some interest, but certainly not if it’s speculative fiction - I should write a historical romance instead.

Bill, a member of my local writer’s group, had recommended some great spec-fic titles for me to read, including Transgression and Oxygen. When I shared at writer’s group about the input I had heard about the futility of the book I was writing, Bill said, “You know, I’ve exchanged some emails with the author, Randy Ingermanson. He seems very approachable and helpful. Maybe you could email and ask him about this.”

It took me a while to get up the nerve, and in the meantime, I finished writing my novel and found Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference and made plans to attend.

Somewhere in there, I finally sent a rather shy, stammering email to Dr. Ingermanson.

I’ll never forget the power of his email response. He addressed what I’d been told about needing to do nonfiction with an emphatic, “no.” He assured me that it might take time and effort, but if I was called to write fiction, I should write fiction. He gave me terrific advice, and since he was on the faculty of Mt. Hermon, his encouragement was what helped me take the huge risk of bringing my proposal and submitting it. I think without his coaxing and direction, I would have chickened out on showing anyone my work.

He didn’t stop there. At the conference (where I knew absolutely NO ONE) he took time to introduce me to people, and each time he saw me he’d ask how things were going. He celebrated with me when an agent offered to represent me (fighting back his laughter when I asked, “don’t they just say that to everyone?” Um… no.) He interpreted a culture and language of CBA publishing that I was clueless about how to navigate.

He offered to read my first draft of the Restorer – and coached me to dig out my copy of Dwight Swain, clean up my MRUs (Motivation/Reaction Units), and analyze the scene/sequel flow of the story.

A few years later when I got my first contract offer, he emailed his congratulations, but added, “Don’t be surprised if in a few days you suddenly feel panic. Feel free to call if you need to talk it through.” What wisdom! He was absolutely right. My normal writer angst escalated to crazy levels as I thought about the road ahead.

I’m about to head to my fifth Mt. Hermon writer’s conference. Four years have passed since I met Randy at my first conference with my sweaty palms gripping that first manuscript, and I continue to be grateful for the support he offered at a crucial time in my writing journey.

What does this have to do with his awesome novel, Double Vision?

1. Randy has found a great way to mentor LOTS of writers at once. He produces a monthly ezine for writers – visit his website for details.

2. If you’re a writer and want to pick up some “Randy wisdom,” Double Vision is a great novel to read. First time through for the pleasure of it. Second time through to analyze the deft way he creates a character, sets a pace, and pulls us into the story world.

I’ve read every one of Randy’s novels and admired them all. Double Vision is one of my favorites. Every person who struggles to figure out the rules for “living like a normal person” while feeling like the normal world is a strange planet, will deeply engage with his character, Dillon. Other Christian Sci-fi Fantasy bloggers will be giving great reviews and descriptions about the book, so be sure to check those out for more details about the book (see the column on the right side of my blog for links).

Randy, thanks for your contribution to the world of Christian fiction – both through your novels and your generous support to new writers!


Mary DeMuth said...

Two things:

MOUNT HERMON????? Yesssss, we'll be there together.

And, can I use this post to send to the Writers View 2? We're talking about mentors this week, and your story fits perfectly.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Hey, Sharon, great post. Thank you for coming through when I botched this tour up. I hope others step up too. Randy has been so generous with his time and wisdom. I'd like to honor him the way he deserves! You've certainly done that. :-)


Sharon Hinck said...

Hi, Mary!
Yes and yes!

Becky, I meant to email you over the weekend to ask about the links and stuff for this month's tour, but figured I had gotten the dates confused. I should have checked in.

But no worries. Even if we start a day later, we can still do lots of buzzing about Double Vision this week! :-)

Rachel A. Marks said...

What a perfect post to honor Randy and all his wonderful efforts to help writers!

This tour will be fun!

And hey, see you at Mount Hermon! Becky will have to introduce us. :)

April Erwin said...

Great post, Sharon! Randy truly is a great inspiration. I haven't had the pleasure of working with him in person yet (just saw him from a distance at conference) but I've listened to his classes on cd and read his newsletter faithfully. I love his ability to blend humor into everything. He gives great advice. And Double Vision? FANTASTIC read. Can't wait to read the rest of his books.

Cheryl said...

Great post Sharon! Have a great time at Mt. Hermon. :-)

Randy Ingermanson said...

HI Sharon:

Thanks for your comments. They brought tears to my eyes, but don't tell anyone, because then they'd come and revoke my Guy Card.

I remember way back four years ago when you so humbly emailed me about Mount Hermon. And I remember how delighted I was to see that you could actually write! It's been a thrill to see you walk through all the hoops that all of us published writers have gone through. And now you've got multiple books out or on the way. I just recently read THE RESTORER for endorsement and it's better than ever.

Sharon, you've suceeded because you had talent, you worked hard, and you didn't listen to the nay-sayers. I'm glad I had a tiny little part in steering you through the thickets. You made it, and I know there are many other writers who'll decide, after reading your story, that they can make it too.

Big hug,

Nicole said...

Neat post, Sharon. It's always fun to hear about the author behind the book, especially when you like the book in question.


Sharon Hinck said...

Pixydust, can't wait to meet you!

April, I agree, Randy's humor is endearing in his novels AND his teaching.

Cheryl, thanks for stopping by!

Randy, it'll be so great to catch up next week!

Nicole - I love your blog! Thanks for stopping by.

Unknown said...

Great post and comments :)