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Weirdie Spotlight – Author Dawn Hosmer

One of the best parts of this blog is meeting absolutely stellar individuals.

This interview is equal parts enlightening, encouraging, and engaging. It is no mystery why this awesome writer has had so much success. 

ISO: HI, WHAT IS YOUR NAME?

DH: Dawn Hosmer

ISO: Tell us a little about yourself.

DH: I am a wife and mother of four, although three of my kids are now adults. I am the author of Psychological Thrillers and Suspense. I’m a lifelong Ohioan but suffer from a severe case of wanderlust and love to travel. I am a book junkie and when I’m not writing one, you can always find me with my nose buried in a book. I also love true crime TV and podcasts, and I’m a sucker for board games. I spent my career in social work and have a passion for helping people. Unfortunately, I had to quit working due to Crohn’s disease which has been a blessing in disguise because I now have more time to focus on writing. But, I miss people.

ISO: What is your favorite beverage?

DH: Coffee is life! I’m one of those people that can drink it up until I go to bed so you can usually find me with a mug in my hand. When I’m not drinking coffee, it’s water for me.

ISO: What is your favorite food?

DH: Oh my, this is a hard question. I think I could eat tacos or burritos, along with chips and quac or homemade salsa every night of the week.

ISO: What is your favorite sweet?

DH: My absolute favorite is a cookie made by a local pizza shop. It’s a cookie called the Frisco. It is two peanut butter cookies sandwiched together with peanut butter in between and chocolate drizzled on top. Oh my gosh! It is to die for. The place has good pizza too but those cookies are what keep me coming back!

ISO: What do you love about what you are doing?

DH: Writing for me is a release. It’s a place to dump all of the crazy thoughts and ideas that swarm around in my head. I suffer from anxiety, so I think that writing about things that scare me, helps me cope with some of my irrational fears.

ISO: What is the most difficult thing for you about what you do?

DH: The most difficult thing about writing is editing for me. I don’t mind the first couple of passes of edits to make the story better. But, when I have read or listened to my own book for what seems like 100 times, I want to pull my hair out or throw it in a dumpster because it all starts to sound like blah, blah, blah. It’s usually at about that point that I know I’m done with it and need to get it out in the world.

Marketing and advertising for indie authors is also difficult. Trying to find the audience for my books is quite time consuming and a bit mind-boggling.

ISO: Who are your support team members?

DH: My husband has always been one of my biggest supporters. He’s always believed in my crazy dreams, whether it be writing or something else. He’s always one of my first readers which is helpful because then I can bounce ideas off of him and discuss plot point where I’m stuck.

Of course, my kids and my mom are also huge supports for me, in addition to a couple of my friends who beta read for me and help keep me motivated.

I also have found my tribe in the Writing Community on Twitter. Fellow writers there never fail to encourage me, lift me up, kick me in the butt when I need it, and support me by reading and reviewing my work. I’ve made lifelong friends on Twitter who mean the world to me. Many of my connections there serve as alpha or beta readers or help me perfect my back cover blurb. I have a crew of about 20 ladies who are my lifeline – thank you Inappropriate Acres friends.

ISO: What are your go to snacks/drinks as you work?

DH: As I write, I usually only drink water and coffee and don’t snack. My fingers are moving too quickly to eat. Now, editing is a different story. I need lots and lots of candy for edits. During my last round, I survived on Hi-Chews, Reeses covered pretzels (yummy), and Starburst. Those sugary rushes help me listen to Word read my book to me in its monotone voice.

ISO: When did you start writing?

DH: I’ve written in some form for as long as I remember. I recently found my first “book” that I wrote in the second grade called The Lame Girl and The White Steed. It was such a sad little book – basically everyone died. So, not much has changed with my story-telling I guess. (😊)

During high school, I wrote tons of teenage angsty poetry that’s still hiding in a folder somewhere in my crawl space. Throughout college and high school, I always enjoyed writing papers, whether fiction or non-fiction. My original plan in college was to pursue my PhD in Sociology and do research/write books. That plan got derailed by marriage but I did end up spending my career in social work.

When my children were younger, I wrote several children’s books and queried them. I got a few requests but they never went any further. Those too are somewhere in my crawl space with layers of dust on them.

I wrote my first novel in 2006, The End of Echoes, which just released last August 2019. Even though it was the first book I wrote, it was the second one published. My first book, Bits & Pieces, released in November 2018.

ISO: Why did you decide to pursue writing?

DH: I’ve always believed that each of us has a story to tell – be it our own or a fictional one. Writing is a way for me to make sense of a world that often makes no sense. It’s a way for me to calm my fears and quiet my anxieties. I am able to take bits and pieces of my life and other people’s stories and try to turn them into a story that can help someone else, even if only by giving them a brief escape from this crazy world.

ISO: What types of writing do you do?

DH: I write Psychological Thrillers, Suspense and Contemporary Fiction. I also write micro-fiction and dabble in poetry from time to time.

ISO: Who are some authors you look up to?

DH: There are so many! A few of my favorites are:

  • Jodi Picoult – She is a master storyteller and I will read every single book she ever writes. Her writing makes me think and question some of my long-held beliefs. I am usually a really fast reader but I read her work as slowly as possible to savor every word.
  • Ruth Ware – I love her work because she is a master of writing a book that I can’t predict the ending. Her twists are phenomenal and she writes such vivid settings that I feel like I’m there with the characters.
  • Wally Lamb – I’ve read every single one of his books and will be first in line to buy any new ones he releases. Somehow, he maintains my interest in a 500 page novel as though it’s only 20 pages. He crafts compelling characters and the themes in his writing touch my soul.

There are several Indie writers that inspire me daily:

  • Carol Beth Anderson: Author of The Sun-Blessed Trilogy and The Frost Eater
  • Ryen Lesli: Author of RIVER
  • Jason Stokes: Author of Ghost Story and Watcher
  • Barlow Adams
  • Craytus Jones
  • Deborah Wynne: Author of Opening Act

And so many other wonderful writers that I’ve met through Twitter

ISO: What are your favorite books?

DH: There are far too many to list but a few of my favorites are:

  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • The Turn of The Key by Ruth Ware
  • I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Defending Jacob by William Landay
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
  • Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

I seriously could go on and on but I’ll force myself to stop here.

ISO: Are you traditional, independent, or hybrid published?

DH: I am with a small, independent publisher, Gestalt Media.

ISO: Why did you choose that publishing path?

DH: When I first began writing novels, I wanted to pursue traditional publishing – that was my dream. I queried The End of Echoes for years, well over 100 agents. I got rejection after rejection. I finally put it aside to write Bits & Pieces. Again, I was clinging to the hope that I could be traditionally published. Again, I queried and received countless rejections.

The rejections really got to me. So much so, that I couldn’t write a word for almost 2 years.

Then, a friend convinced me to join Twitter because of the amazing writing community there. I wasn’t thrilled about adding yet another social media account, I did it. I decided that I was going to go all in once I joined and form a community, follow agents and publisher, participate in Pitch contests – the whole shebang. And, I did.

A few months after joining Twitter, I participated in several pitch contests with Bits & Pieces. For those who don’t know what that means – you post a brief synopsis of your book, of 240 characters or less. Agents & Publishers then search for manuscripts they are interested in reviewing. If they like your pitch, that means they want to see more of your book. I received more interest from agents and publishers in those pitch contests than I had in the previous 10 years of querying.

I had an agent with a very reputable literary agency offer me the chance to revise and resubmit my manuscript with a major change to my plot. At the same time, I had a small independent publisher who wanted to work with me. I decided I wanted to maintain creative control of my work and I wanted a guarantee that it would be published relatively quickly. I had read and heard too many horror stories about finding an agent and then the manuscript not being picked up by a publisher or it taking years for it to be published. I physically couldn’t handle the stress of that process at that point in my life. I just wanted to get my book(s) into the world and into readers’ hands.

Going with a small press was exactly the right decision for me. As soon as I signed the contract, my words returned and I could write again.

ISO: What is your creative process?

DH: I am entirely a pantser, meaning I have no outline when I write. I usually start with one plot idea and one character and then sit down and let them tell me their story through my fingers. I love this process because it is amazing to see an entire novel spring forth out of just those two minor things.

ISO: What do you love about writing?

DH: I absolutely love writing first drafts which is essentially me telling myself the story. I love getting to know my characters and seeing them take on a life of their own. I even enjoy re-writing – taking that messy first draft and turning it into something spectacular. Now, editing is a different beast. I’m usually okay the first several rounds but once I’ve read my book about 100 times, I want to pull all of my hair out and catch the book on fire. It’s usually then that I know it’s done.

ISO: Where do you get your inspiration for your writing?

DH: All of my stories have real-life events that have inspired them. Those real-life events, coupled with the question What If, is what lies at the heart of my novels.

ISO: What are some lessons you have learned about being an author?

DH: Perseverance is key.

I wanted to give up so many times after receiving so many rejections. I know writers aren’t supposed to take them personally, but I did. And, they hurt. I learned to allow myself to feel the pain but to keep on pursuing my dream despite it. Any time I’d receive a rejection, I’d send out five more queries. I’m so glad I didn’t allow my pain and insecurities to make me quit.

Writing is the easy part of being an author.

I often see writers complain about how difficult it is to write. And yes, there are some difficult parts of the writing process. The real hard work begins though AFTER your book is out in the world. That’s when you have to figure out marketing and advertising – how to get your book in readers’ hands. People have so many choices nowadays about what to read. It’s difficult to figure out how to find people that will love your work. Finding an audience is time-consuming because it means staying involved and engaged on social media, participating in interviews & podcasts, doing book signings/events. I would love to be able to just sit back and write and have readers come to me but, at this point, that’s not realistic.

It is also quite difficult to make money as an author. Making money was never my primary goal but, now that I spend more than full time on this career, a steady stream of income from it sure would be helpful.

Trust the process.

When I started writing my third book, I had been quite involved with the Writing Community on Twitter for a while and had been exposed to other people’s writing methods. I decided that I should try to plot my 3rd book because so many people seemed to find success writing that way. That was a huge mistake because that’s not how my brain works! Thankfully, I figured it out quickly and returned to my pantsing ways. Whenever I find myself trying to plot now, I remind myself that I have to trust my process and let the story come to me. I have to quiet my mind and calm my panic by reminding myself that it has worked for three books and it WILL work again.

ISO: What is the most difficult thing for you about writing?

DH: As I mentioned earlier, the hardest part is the marketing/advertising aspect and finding readers or ways to get my book noticed when there are so many to choose from.

ISO: What is something you wish beginning authors knew?

DH: First drafts are supposed to be a hot mess. Sit down and get the first draft written. You can go back and fix it later. I don’t ever re-read my work until I’ve finished the first draft because otherwise I’d get so stuck in edit mode that I’d never complete a book.

ISO: What tips or tricks do you have for other authors?

DH: Find beta readers who will give you honest feedback on your work. I tend to use fellow authors because they can be brutal with their feedback, which is what I need to deliver the best book I can to readers.

Sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be everyday but don’t wait for inspiration to hit you. Just sit down and let the words come out. Relieve yourself of expectations that the words will be perfect, or even make it into the final product. Just get the story told.

If you are self-published and it is at all possible, find an editor and a professional cover designer. Readers do often judge a book by its cover, unfortunately. To give yourself the best chance at having a product that will sell, have a cover that is attractive and fits with other books in your genre. Also, make sure to have your book as edited/free of mistakes as possible before you put it out into the world and charge money for it. Many readers are able to overlook a few mistakes but if your book is riddled with errors, chance are people will not pick up a second book by you. Many people can’t afford an editor – in that case make use of beta readers and look up tips and tricks on self-editing.

ISO: What projects are you working on?

DH: My 3rd book, Somewhere In Between, releases in June 2020 so I’m preparing for that by doing cover reveals, interviews, pre-orders, etc. I’m also writing the sequel to Bits & Pieces which will be released in December 2020.

ISO: You mentioned that you had to quit your lifetime career due to a serious health issue. How did that encourage you to pursue your writing passion?

DH: It allowed me to spend more time and energy to focus on writing. One of the debilitating side effects of my chronic illness is that I have very limited energy. When I was working outside of the home, I usually didn’t have the mental clarity or energy to write after work. Now, I do. And, best thing, I can do it in my jammies if I want to.

ISO: How has your life experience informed your writing?

DH: Because I spent my career in social work, I have witnessed many things I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to. I’ve worked with people who have lost absolutely everything because of addiction. I’ve comforted women who have suffered abuse at the hands of their husbands. I’ve counseled sexual abuse survivors. I’ve walked alongside families who went from homelessness to homeownership. I’ve helped inner-city kids realize that their destiny isn’t defined by society or their parents by matching them with mentors to help them see their options. I’ve welcomed refugees to our country and listened to their stories of heartbreak and loss.

All of these stories have not only informed my writing, they’ve made me who I am. They’ve made me see how resilient people are. They’ve also taught me how much one tiny kindness can have a huge impact in someone’s life. Most importantly, the people I’ve encountered on my life journey have made me cling to hope, even when things feel hopeless. I am so blessed to have been able to meet such strong, brave, and wonderful people through my career.

ISO: Where can we get your books?

DH: Both of my books are available on Amazon through eBook/Kindle Unlimited, Audible, paperback and hardcover.

Bits & Pieces

The End of Echoes

https://www.gestalt-media.com/books

They are also available online through Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Target, Books A Million and other retailers as well as in several library systems in the United States.

ISO: Where can people find your writing/find you online?

DH: I’m on:

Bookbub

Goodreads

Twitter @dawnhosmer7

Instagram @dawnh71

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

www.dawnhosmer.com

Please remember I do not own any of these pictures and the opinions in this survey belong to the interviewee.

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