Friday, September 9, 2011

My Personal Path to Publication - Kay Springsteen

I am personally jazzed that today's blog guest is the irrepressible Kay Springsteen.  A fellow author with me at up-and-coming, and making-some-big-noise new independent publishing house Astraea Press, Kay has become a personal friend, a mentor of sorts, and is seriously one of the most hilarious people I have ever met.  She has a rapacious wit, while at the same time serving up touching and heartwarming sweet romances, a hallmark of our publishing house.  Among her biggest books with Astraea, Heartsight, is already a runaway fan favorite and she plans to follow that up this October with Heartsent, which you'll learn more about at the bottom of her interview.  Please, then, enjoy the journey of my very special friend, Kay Springsteen.

1.   How long have you been writing?                                                    

    Since I could hold a pencil and knew what letters were, and I’ve been telling stories since long before that. My first stories were very self-serving. Whenever I did something wrong as a toddler and got caught, I would blame my faithful companion, a pink stuffed rabbit named Flopsy. I wrote short stories for fun throughout my growing up years, and then a couple of novels in the mid-1990s, which didn’t go anywhere. Then my kids hit teenagerhood, and since I have four kids who are still alive, that was a span of time I had little time for anything beyond working and staying one step ahead of my teens who were bent on self-destruction.

2.   Are you published and if so, how long have you been a published author? 
    If not, what’s your plan? I have had poetry published and have written Christian articles that were published on an E-zine. But my first fiction novel was published in February 2011.

3.   Which route did you choose for becoming published, the traditional route, with an agent, the “indie” route, going directly to the publishers yourself, or deciding to self-publish? Why did you choose that particular route? 

   I wasn’t really planning to be published but I saw a post from Stephanie Taylor on Facebook looking for subs and I figured I wouldn’t have anything to lose. I contacted her, got the specifics for what she was looking for in December and wrote Heartsight by mid-January and submitted to her and got the contract. She asked me if I had anything else and I told her I had two stories but they were inappropriate for her guidelines. She talked me into reworking them, and that’s how The Echoes of Orson’s Folly series came to be part of Astraea Press. So, I went Indie but only kind of by accident.

4.   How long did it take you to write your first novel?

    My first, published novel took one month from start to second draft. Second and third published works were actually the first and second novels I’d completed in 10 years. Lifeline Echoes took three months from start to submission, and Elusive Echoes was my NaNoWriMo project – 80K words in one month with another month to clean up the grammar.

5.   How many times did it get rejected before it got published? 

    Lifeline Echoes was sent back to me from Carina Press with a request for revise and resubmit, but I opted not to go with them because by then I had already seen the merit of cleaning up the work and building my name as a clean writer.

6.   Tell us about your worst rejection letter.

   This would be one I received in the mid-1990s.  Understand that I’ve learned much since then, but I’ve always made people cry with my writing. Well, an editor at Harlequin told me that while my writing was okay, it didn’t really tug on the emotions, and moreover the storyline was about an artist and in her opinion, people didn’t like to read about artists. A critique author at an RWA conference featuring Nora Roberts as the guest speaker told me she didn’t agree with what the editor had said, and advised me to keep trying. Unfortunately, life got in the way for 10+ years so I never took my writing any further until the past few years.

7.   What was the best news you ever got in your writing life and how did it make you feel? 

   Apparently, people like Heartsight. A lot. I’ve never had a low review with that novel and each review says something new that jazzes me.

8.   What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got? 

Probably from the editor who said don’t write about the arts. I’ve read lots of books since then that feature the arts and they got published.

9.   Now, tell us the best! 

Never give up and never stop trying to improve.

10.  What’s the one thing you would want an aspiring writer to take away from your personal path to publication? 

   If you want to write, write. But you also need to read within the genre you write, and you need to read with your editor’s hat in place so you can analyze what works for that writer and what you don’t think works so well. Know the field and keep up with all the changes. Mostly, though, have fun.

11.        Where can we read your blog?
12.        Buy your books? Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
14.        On Twitter? Look for Kay Springsteen

Upcoming latest release:

With her strict no-dating-within-the-department rule, Firefighter Lina Standish has a nickname in the Salem Hills Fire Department: Lina “Standoffish”. But Firefighter Kevin Daly has had his eye on Standoffish ever since a locker room incident nearly a year earlier, and now he plans to break all her rules. With the help of his niece and a hot-air balloon, he gets Lina’s attention and she agrees to “hang out” with Kevin as friends off duty, to take it slow and see where things go between them. Then Lina's life is turned upside down by a surprise miracle who doesn't even have a name. Kevin’s ready to step up, but is Lina? 

And a fun fact from Kay:  the cover models for the Heartsent cover are her daughter Mary and her granddaughter (son's daughter) Sadie.  How about that for keeping it all in the family?

Thank you, Kay for sharing your amazing journey with us here on the blog.  I know Kay loves to connect with fans and especially aspiring writers, so go ahead and reach out to her.  Comment here on the blog, friend her, follow her on Twitter or join her blog.  She writes some absolutely fantastic posts of her own.  And look for Heartsent coming soon!


  1. Kay, I"m already sold on your books but the kicker now is with the cover here. Nothing like having family on the cover to add a touch of reality to the story.

  2. I've heard of family support before, but that cover is a true advertisement for the real thing. Loved reading your interview and learned some good stuff. Thanks

  3. Thank you for such a fun interview, Samantha.And you're right. I love connecting with others.

  4. Wow, finishing a novel in one month. I am impressed. Enjoyed your interview.

  5. Great interview Kay. I enjoyed getting to know more about your background. Great idea to use family as models!