Please welcome our first female awesome author, Maggie Fechner!
Maggie and I are doing an author blog hop with fellow CFI authors Cheri Chesley and Michael Knudson where you--yes you!--can win. See the bottom of this interview for details.
But first things first...
She's a professional photographer, award-winning journalist, and her first book, Growing Up Gracie, is up for a Whitney award.
She's is Maggie Fechner!
You have a background as a reporter and were a Journalist of the Year in Wyoming. What kind of reporting did you do, and what was it like to win the award?
Before you get excited, you should know two things. First, I was the high school journalist of the year (not the grown-up version) and secondly it was in Wyoming. In case you haven't heard, it's the least populated state in the country, and humans are out numbered by cows in a big way.
Now, if you still think it's an impressive accomplishment, why, thank you!
Honestly though, I loved being a reporter. I worked for three community newspapers where I covered news and feature stories. I also was a columnist at a tiny little paper in a farming town. My favorite stories were a skydiving piece (where I met a crew who took me skydiving) and a big special feature on the prison system in Eastern Washington.
Did journalism help you become a better fiction writer? If so, how?
I think it mostly just got me used to being okay with people reading what I wrote. Even when I know things don't sound perfect, I am absolutely fine with handing them off to a reader and getting back their input.
Growing up Gracie is up for a Whitney Award. How did you find out you were nominated, and how does it feel to have your peers recognize your talent?
Cedar Fort emailed me to let me know my book was nominated. To be honest, the nomination is neat, but I am much more excited to hear who is a finalist! There are many wonderful books included in the competition. I would love to read so many of them.
Tell us a little about your book.
Growing Up Gracie is a young adult LDS fiction novel about Gracie Fremont. She is the fifth of six kids in a traditional Mormon family in Cody Wyoming. Gracie is searching to find what defines her and makes her unique. It's a coming of age novel and one that I hope helps people see we are all extraordinary in some way.
Describe your writing process.
I write from 5-6:30 in the morning five days a week until my novel is done. I don't stop to read ANYTHING I write. When I'm finished with that first draft, I start reading and am always appalled at my horrible manuscript. Then I really get to work rewriting and editing. In the end, I hope I come out with something that people will enjoy and I can be proud of.
You're also a professional photographer. Tell us a little about that.
I am a part-time portrait photographer. I mostly do family photography. I've been in photography for 10 years but have only been doing it as a business for two. I love being behind my lens and waiting for those perfect moments to unfold.
What's your advice for authors when choosing (or posing for) pics for their bio or other book promotion?
I would suggest having a pro do it. We all want to look great, right? We know a few tricks about softening skin, whitening teeth, and making eyes 'pop.' True, it might not be a realistic image of us, but for a photo that's going to be on a book jacket for the rest of time, I'd personally like to look great. :)
What have you learned about the publishing industry that you didn't know before you got a contract?
It's definitely about the love--and not about the money! Especially in a small niche market like the LDS publishing world. Having a real published book on the shelves has been a fantastic blessing and a dream come true. But, I'm glad I'm not feeding my family with the proceeds.
What are your goals for 2011?
Be a good wife. Be a good mom. Do my best in my church callings. Oh yeah, and submit a manuscript by April 1, and finish a rough draft on another by the end of the year.
I am currently in the rewriting stage of the mainstream family saga that I hope to submit this spring. And I have a very, very rough start on another book from the All-Mormerican Family the Fremonts.
Anything you'd like to add?
Readers, you have a pretty good chance at winning a prize (or two) if you follow our New Cedar Fort Author Blog Hop instructions. We haven't had too many entrants yet! Good luck.
Maggie is right, people. There are 4 $15 Amazon gift card up for grabs.
To be entered in the drawing for my gift card you must meet the
1) Follow my blog
2) "Like" my facebook author page on at
3) Head on over Maggie's blog and follow her at this link.
4) Leave a comment to me here saying that you have done these things.
The "Blog Hop" will end in February.
At that time, I'll do a random drawing for the prize. Don't forget that
my fellow authors Michael Knudson and Cheri Chesley will be giving away the same prize on their sites
too here and here.
That means you have 4 chances to win!