Are you an aspiring author? When you were a child, did you dream of writing a book? Well, that was Christene Houston’s dream and on November 10, 2012, it will become a reality. Christene loved to write since the time she first started forming her letters and considers her writing talent a gift from God. Growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada, there certainly were a lot of distractions but deep down, she always knew that one day, she would be an author. First, she had to finish her non-traditional high school experience (she was home schooled). Then there was some college, marriage, and motherhood, raising her family of four children. As her children became more self sufficient, Christene was able to finally put her long held ideas to paper. Those ideas became strands of thought, and those thoughts came together for her first novel, A Heart So Broken. I recently met Christene at a blogging conference and was naturally drawn to her warmth and friendly ways. Her persistence in following and achieving her dream was an inspiration to me. I know she will inspire you as well.
Describe your venture: I am an author. My debut novel in YA Fiction was recently published. It’s the beautiful story of a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers deeply following the loss of her father. Her downward spiral lands her in small-town West Junction where a vivid dream sets her on the path to healing. Soon, she’s falling for Cooper, a football hero with a secret that could devastate his chances with Jenna. When she discovers it, her heart is shattered all over again and she must choose between the comfort of bitterness or the hope that only comes from forgiveness. With so much at stake, can she ever heal a heart so broken?
What set you on your path to your venture? Since childhood, writing has been both a passion and an escape, a place for my creativity to run wild with my imagination. I wrote a lot as a young person, from imaginative stories, to songs for the holidays and then on to drippy romantic poems for my first boyfriends. A lot of that faded away during the first exciting years of marriage and having babies, and I soon realized that I needed an outlet, no matter how fulfilling my life was as a wife and mother. The itch to write returned. After some research into method, my husband asked, “So when are you going to stop talking about writing and do it?” That was enough to get me moving! I wrote my first book in 2008 and published it this year! One other book has been submitted to an agent and there are a half dozen more in different phases of revision.
What skills/talents do you have that compliment your venture? I’m a voracious reader. That may not seem like a necessary skill, but I have learned a lot about what I enjoy as a reader and what I don’t like. Observing people is another talent. I enjoy watching people and noticing their special talents and quirks. Everyone has a story and I find that fact fascinating. And words have always been toys for me. I love spinning them together to tell a story that will touch people.
What fears did you have getting started? First, that I wasn’t trained or educated enough to be a real writer. I’m a self learner and often feel like I’m a fraud because I haven’t taken a course or learned from someone else. I am learning to embrace that process as an innate gift in some areas. Another fear I had was that of rejection. Don’t we all get that desperate feeling for approval from those around us, especially when offering up something so precious as our own works? I’ve faced some rejection, I’ve had some delays and some crazy circumstances that made me stop and think – do I laugh or do I cry. Invariably, choosing to laugh has been so much more fun and enjoyable than allowing myself to be broken down. There is so much fun and adventure in real life and I like being a part of it.
What was involved in getting started? Well, now this is a process. Writing is pretty solitary. It involves putting children to bed, turning out lights and writing until your eyes feel like sandpaper. Ha ha! But then there is a community of editors and a process of fine tuning this perfect gem, shining it up until it shines and all the dirt has been cast aside. I chose to self publish and that is such a huge undertaking. There are so many little pockets of expense and attention. Finding a reputable self publishing company is challenging, and I’m not completely satisfied with the one I went through. What I would recommend to anyone choosing to self publish is to do your research and ask many, many questions. That’s how I saved hundreds of dollars. There is always a better way to do something and sometimes just asking the question will get you the information you need.
What were your start up costs? What are your ongoing costs? My initial investment was $5k.