Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Feature: Journeys Toward Publication and Beyond: Terry Lynn Johnson is PUBLISHED

Okay, seriously, this is my favorite kind of Friday Feature. An update of the most impressive kind!  Terry Lynn Johnson's book, Dogsled Dreams, is out! Published, and awesome!

I've invited Terry back to tell us about how things are going for her, in her writing world. And, remember to leave her a question or comment here--not only will she be back to answer, but the best commenter will WIN A COPY OF DOGSLED DREAMS.  You know me--there's no such thing as a free lunch. You've got to do something to win something at Edited.

If you want to catch up on Terry's journey, here is her first Journeys Toward Publication interview, where she talks about getting her publishing deal, and here is an update, revealing that she snagged an agent. Click through--we'll wait.
Buy Dogsled Dreams

Welcome Terry! You have had a long and interesting journey to get to this point in publication. Why don't we pick up where we left off. You had landed your wonderful agent, and was in the publishing mix with Dogsled Dreams.

Tell us.  How is the process different for you, now that you have an agent?

So far, the process is a lot less stressful. My agent has ICE DOGS out right now. I can relax in the knowledge that she sends it to the best places for that story. And she knows the best TIME to send it, which I think is key. She is the advocate for the book, so I can let a professional worry about what to say about it. Also, if I have any questions, I have someone who knows the industry at my finger tips. It is very, very nice. What hasn't changed is the waiting. Well, the first couple of responses were quick. But now, we wait. And if we do get an offer, I can trust her to help with that. Really, the best part is not feeling alone in my journey.

That's the most convincing argument for having an agent that I've ever heard. Terry--what surprised you about the publication process?

I've learned from the debut group, The Elevensies, that this is true for most everyone - the fact that I'm the last to know about anything. I never knew what was going on behind the scenes. I learned some things through google alerts. It was a mysterious and murky industry before I got my book deal. And it still is. Even with an agent! Even trying to figure out Amazon sales ranking is beyond my comprehension!

Urgh. Frustrating. And great tip about google alerts. Now--about the BOOK. How much of Dogsled Dreams comes from your experiences with your own team?

Pretty much all of the adventures in the story actually happened to me. At family gatherings, I was usually the entertainment - acting out my latest misadventures with the dogs. My mother kept saying, "you should write this down!" And I finally did. The dogs in the book are all the same dogs that I owned, with the same names and personality quirks. They were very easy to write about!

It sounds inspiring. I was so exhilarated by the dogsledding passages in Dogsled Dreams, that I would love to try dogsledding. What a wonderful job you did painting that picture for your audience! Great job, Terry. What's next? What are you working on now?

I'm writng a YA canoe adventure, working title, WOLF RIDGE, that's a little slow going with all the excitement during the release of Dogsled Dreams. But I'm starting to really love it. It's just been brought to my attention - I hadn't even noticed this - that all three of my novels have beavers in them! The first one was a beaver attack (and a true story).The second one had a little about beaver trapping. The third has a few young beavers that are being cared for by a wildlife rehabilitator. I guess that's my Canadian signature.

Yay, inside scoop!  Now we know what secret stuff to watch for in your upcoming books. Terry--congrats on the wonderful book, and I can't wait to see Ice Dogs in print. I'm crossing my fingers for a quick offer!

Now, I would love it if everyone would take a moment to pop over to these three reviews of Terry's book, Dogsled Dreams, and here are some places to buy the book: in Canada, and in the U.S.

And, please make sure to leave a wonderful comment or question for Terry in the comment section, she'll be by to answer them, and the BEST comment or question will win a copy of Dogsled Dreams. Woo-hoo!! And let Terry's journey inspire you to FINISH that draft/those revisions/that query letter.  Thanks Terry, for the awesome interview, and wonderful book!


  1. Terry--Thanks so much for the great interview, and for the insights into your process.

    How exciting that you have a book published, another book that is being shopped around, and another in the works! How do you balance the different demands on your time?

    And, has your writing process changed since completing Dogsled Dreams? Have you learned things that you've incorporated into your process?

  2. Hi Terry! I already follow your blog but it's great to see you over here! And with SUCH an inspiring story! Right now I'm at a point where I JUST WANT AN AGENT. And many people - trying to be helpful - gently keep telling me that getting an agent doesn't mean instant book. The thing is, I know that, which is why I want the agent. I'm so glad to hear you say that having an agent made things less stressful. I can manage the waiting and the not knowing what's going on behind the scenes. What I want is to just know that one person is in my court and does know what's going on. It's great o know that my expectations of what having an agent are sound.

  3. Thanks to both of you! It is awesome to see the publication and beyond part of the FF! What I am so impressed with is that you have kept working through all of this and have several manuscripts under your belt. You said this last book has been slow going because of the excitement, but I wonder about publication changing the tension around writing. In my publication fantasies publication suddenly adds legitimacy. Has there been relief from publication? Or is there different stressors that I can't imagine yet?

    Congratulations, Terry!

  4. I just love Terry's vigor! Great questions, Heath. (long time no chat...hah)

    I knew about WOLF RIDGE, but only briefly. Not sure if she had a title back then, either. It's great to hear more about what she has in store.

    Best of luck!!

  5. Thanks for the great interview Heather & Terry. I mostly read fantasy but I can't wait to read Terry's book. And here's why: her blog. I follow it and really encourage everyone to. She shares her amazing adventures in the Canadian wilderness. It's all stuff I would never be brave enough to experience but it's wonderful to see her gorgeous pictures and read her stories. I know her book will be another way to experience the adventure.

    Good luck Terry. You answered my question about how you started out the dogsledding. And your experiences with your agent and publishing in general have been helpful. Good luck!

  6. Thanks for inviting me to your wonderful blog, Heather! I'm honoured to be here.

    Heather - I don't balance them very well, I'll tell you that! There has been lots to do (more than I expected) with my first book coming out. But I just try to find the valleys to write in.

    Heather - The more I write, the more I learn. I did learn quite a bit working with my editor. For example - I used "was" way too much. Then when I did revisions with my agent, I learned to identify some of my writing "ticks" as she called them. That was very helpful.
    And now, with my third, I've sent part of my third ms. to my crit partner Paul Greci, and I understand that my writing improves if I learn from what others can teach me.

  7. Terry, it feels good to have been your fan for almost a year now.

    My favorite post on your blog is still the celebratory kayak rolling. What a freeing experience. What do you have planned for your next victory lap?

  8. A.Grey - thanks for your comment. Yes, if you take the time to get an agent - it's so nice knowing someone is in your court. Good luck!

    Tina - I listened to the advice to write your second before your first comes out. That way, there is no stress or expectations yet. It's still too early for me to say if I'll feel that pressure now with a book out. So far, it doesn't feel much different. Each book is a big wad of hope wrapped up all over again.

    Sheri - thanks for the comment. I know some writers don't like to talk about their wip. I find the more I talk about it, the more alive it feels.

    Natalie - thank you so much! I never knew when I started the blog, that it would help me to meet such great new friends.

  9. Jonathon - I've been a fan of yours for a year too! I'm so glad you liked my awkward attempts at rolling my kayak! Stay tuned for a celebratory sled dog vlog. (next month)

  10. So cool to hear success stories. I remember reading about TerryLynn's book on a first pages blog fest last spring. So very cool to see it coming into print.
    Congrats TerryLynn! (and thanks, Heather, for the interview!)

  11. CONGRATS!!! It is so fun to hear a success story. Best of luck with your new release.

  12. Congrats Terry! It's been fun to watch your journey. I don't have any questions really, just really happy for you.

  13. Congrats to Terry! It's been fun watching her successful journey.
    I love that the dogs in Dreams are based on your own dogs. Write what you know has definitely worked for you. Do you bring any of your personal experiences into your other two manuscripts?

  14. Great interview, and sounds like a great book!

  15. Great interview Heather and Terry. Congrats, Terry! Can't wait to read it!

  16. Heather, what a great interview!! I found on you on the Comment Challenge 2011 site and I'm so glad to have had the chance to check out your site - I'll definitely be popping back in:)

  17. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Kelly - I have quite a few personal experiences of outdoor mis-adventure. Some of them did indeed make it into Ice Dogs. I also worked for 12 years as a Canoe Ranger so most of my current wip comes from that. I had originally wanted to write my memoirs of working as a Ranger. Many many stories that should be shared. Maybe one day!

  18. Were any dogs harmed in the process of writing this book?
    Canine Lobbyist

  19. 12 years as a canoe ranger?! That sounds like an amazing and insightful job.

  20. Congratulations on the published book, Terry! I have never been in the presence of dog sledding and have always been fascinated reading and hearing about it. I now know a new book to seek out to read about it more!

  21. Pen and Ink - love your question because it's one that's close to my heart. Personally, I am always fearful when I read a story about an amazing dog character. I grow way too attached to the character, and I worry about being completely crushed. Because a LOT of books kill off the dogs. And I know that's good writing when the reader cares enough and has so much invested in the characters that they sob at the ending. But I seriously hate that breaking-heart feeling. I'm not saying I won't ever do it - but for now - I'm really against it in my own writing.

  22. So excited for Terry! Great things happening in her life. Loved her answers. While it's unnerving that there's still so much to learn after a book deal, it's a relief to know how much an agent will help alleviate the angst. Great interview, Heather!

  23. I'm so happy for Terry! I first came in contact with her through SCBWI when my debut novel was being published and at that time she was looking for a publisher. It's great now that not only is her book out but that she has an agent! Way to go Terry!

  24. Thanks everyone, for all the great questions and comments! Yay!

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  26. I had no idea beavers could attack! Yikes! And they're so cute and helpful in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!