Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Tenacity Interviews - Deborah Vogts

This is the last of the Tenacity Interviews on Fiction Matters. Thanks to all the authors who have shared their strengths, their challenges, and ultimately, their success with us. I'd like to welcome our last Tenacity blogger, Deborah Vogts.
Deborah Vogts and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas where they raise and train American Quarter Horses. In writing the Seasons of the Tallgrass, a contemporary romance series for Zondervan, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there. The first book in the series, Snow Melts in Spring, is set to release June 2009.

1. How long were you writing before landing a contract with a publisher?

First, thank you Bonnie for having me as a guest on your blog. I began writing my first book as a sophomore in high school, so if we go back that far . . . you don’t want to know how many years it took. However, in 2002, I began taking my writing seriously and joined the online writing group ACFW. From there I had my first agent in 2006 and contracted with Zondervan in 2008, with a lot of up and down moments in between.

2. You were able to find an agent. How difficult was that search? Did things go smoothly once you found an agent?

I met my first agent at the ACFW Nashville Conference. We hit it off at our meeting, and she gave me some tips on making my book series “bigger.” I did that and submitted my idea to her and she took me on. We shopped my “Seasons of the Tallgrass” series for a year and had a few bites but no sale. In the end, she released me, which was a real heart breaker for me. However, we don’t always see the big picture like God does, and six months later I signed with agent, Rachelle Gardner with WordServe Literary, and we signed with Zondervan three months after that.

3.What were the top three obstacles you encountered on the road to being published?

Finding an agent, finding a publisher, and trusting God to take care of everything!

4. Why didn’t you just throw your hands in the air and say “forget it!”

Oh, but I did. Several times. LOL. The year my series was being shopped around was especially difficult. We would get a bite and then nothing . . . and then a little interest and then nothing. I believed God had placed me on this journey, and things were going so well. Then, all of a sudden, everything stopped! That can really mess with a person’s mind. So, for me, that period between shopping my manuscript and finally getting the sale with Zondervan was a time of learning for me. I had to learn to trust God and put everything in His hands. Not easy.

5. Did you have a motto/saying/scripture/mantra that helped you through the tough times?
Yes, I had a couple, actually. And I bathed myself in prayer, read Bible scriptures that reassured me of God’s promises (no matter whether I became published or not), and I sang many hymns. The verse I leaned on most was “Be still and know that I am God,” as well as Philippians 4:13, Proverbs 3:5-6, and Isaiah 41:13.

6. What does your support system look like? Friends, family, pastor, etc.
My family has been very supportive of my writing from the very beginning with my parents in high school, and then my husband. In fact, when we married, I told my husband that I wanted to stay home with the children so that I could pursue a writing career. It took me a while, but it finally happened. My girls are all very encouraging, even though they have to endure “Mom’s crazy writing habits.”

7. What encouragement do you have for a writer who just received a “no”?
Cry and scream if you need to but don’t give up. Keep dreaming and studying the craft, and reading. Stay tuned to what God wants for you and let scripture keep you afloat. Learn to depend on God for everything—every step of the journey. Just knowing that He is in charge and knows what is best for you, helps to alleviate the pressure so that you’re able to ENJOY the journey AND life.

Thanks for having me, Bonnie!


Thanks for being here, Deborah! You were a wonderful conclusion to a wonderful series of interviews here on Fiction Matters. Thanks for ending us off with great advice and hope for the future!

I bid you good writing.


Serendipity said...

thank you so much! that was amazingly encouraging.

Deborah Vogts said...

Thanks for visiting, Serendipity. ;) Best wishes to you!