Let's Give Them Somebody To Talk About-Mindy Obenhaus

We all know people who have worked hard writing, who have finished manuscripts, who have taken classes, joined groups and have diligently pursued this publishing avenue. And we all know they are about 2 seconds away from getting that first contract otherwise known as 'The Call.'

Today our Somebody is---------------------------

1. What genre(s) do you write?

Romance. I just gotta have that happily ever after. My first story, a 2010 Genesis finalist, was romantic suspense, but I think my heart tends to lean more toward straight romance.

2. How long have you been writing?

I penned my first story in the fourth grade, complete with Polaroid pictures. J After high school, I took a really long hiatus. However, the story engine didn’t stop. I was continually making up stories in my head. I just never wrote them down. In 2004, shortly before my youngest child started school, I decided the only way I was going to find out if I could write was to actually do it. I spent the next nine months—LOL! I just realized the timing. And it really was like birthing a child—penning my first novel. Later, when I joined a writers’ group, I learned what I really had was a bad first draft. The good news was I had done it. I had written an entire book. Now I just had to learn the craft of writing and fix what I had written. You can’t do that with a blank page.

3. Do you have an agent?

I do not have an agent.

4. Do you enter contests-if no, why not. If yes, what is the most helpful aspect of entering contests?

I do enter contests, though I tend to target those where the final-round judge is someone I really want to see my material. Even if my entry doesn’t make it to the final round, the feedback I receive from the fresh eyes of unknown judges is incredibly valuable. That doesn’t mean it might not sting. There were times I felt like I’d tangled with a hornets nest. However, after I settled down, many of the judges’ comments began to resonate with me and I realized they were right. LOL! Most recently, I had a judge tell me my story didn’t start until page eight. I thought they were crazy. I rewrote and rewrote and, ultimately, cut those first seven pages before I sent it off to the editor. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never say never.

5. Do you attend writer’s conferences? If no, why not. If yes, why would you suggest conferences for authors who are seeking publication?

I am a huge fan of writer’s conferences. Aside from the learning, you get to mingle with like-minded folks. Those who don’t look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them what your character revealed to you in your most recent conversation. J

Conferences give you valuable insight into the industry. Also, you often have the opportunity to meet with editors and agents, to develop a rapport as opposed to a blind query letter. Besides, conferences are just plain fun.

6. What is your favorite aspect of creating a novel? Character development or learning the story?

Good question. Probably learning the story. Since I tend to be a seat-of-the-pants writer, I love to be typing along and suddenly think, “Wow! I had no idea that was going to happen.”

7. Tell us something fun about you!

I’m not sure this can really be classified as fun but…have you ever stepped on a snake? A poisonous one at that. We were at our ranch. I stepped off of the porch—wearing shorts and tennis shoes with no-show socks—and a few steps into my departure I realized I was standing on something that wasn’t the ground. I looked down to discover I was standing on a copperhead.

It’s interesting how quickly our brains can process things. In the timeframe of a nanosecond, I thought, “Copperhead. Poisonous. This thing could rear back and bite me.” With those thoughts screaming through my brain, I shot straight up in air.

My husband, who had killed another copperhead earlier in the day, was right behind me going, “There’s its mate. Watch it while I get the shovel.”

My first thought was, “You watch the snake while I get the shovel.” Second thought, “What do you mean mate?” I later learned that copperheads usually travel in pairs. Yeah. Apparently he didn’t feel the need to share that bit of information with me earlier.

Thanks, Mindy.

Hmmm.. You see why these people are authors? I ask them to tell something fun about themselves and so far we have sitting on a cactus and stepping on a copperhead while its mate watched!! Can you say conflict?

Mindy will be stopping by if you have any questions!!


Peggy Eddleman said...

Sometimes I think it's good not to get all the bits of information right up front. :) I LOVE conferences, too! I think it's one of the best things you can do as a writer.

Lindi said...

Peggy, Writing conferences are fun--and a great way to interact with other writers.
And I love stories where you find out bits through the story--until all needs to be revealed.

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Peggy, it definitely depends on the editor/publisher. Some want to be dropped right into the action, while others want to know a little about the characters' everyday world before that inciting incident. That's why it's important to know who we're targeting and what they're looking for.

Ciara said...

Mindy - I'm a huge fan of writing conferences. I can't wait for my first readers conference, though. RT!

Lydia Kang said...

Great interview, and I'm totally creeped out by the fact you had no idea you were stomping on a copperhead. Wow.

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Ciara, by RT, did you mean Romantic Times?

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Lydia, I was DEFINITELY creeped out. I loathe snakes. Yet my sixteen year old son wants to work with them!

Lindi said...

Ciara--I have heard great things about RT-but I have never been. I'll want to hear all about it. :)

Lindi said...

Lyida--right? Stomping on a copperhead!

Angela Breidenbach said...

That's our Mindy :-)
We love you.