Going Gypsy: A Conversation With Veronica James
This month, we’re interviewing talented women authors from all over the world and asking them about their writing process. We had the privilege of speaking with Veronica James about her memoir Going Gypsy. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation.
Have you written a book? What is it about?
Yes! It’s called Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All. Filled with a sense of adventure and humor, Going Gypsy is the story of a life after raising kids that is a celebration of new experiences. Pulling the ripcord on the daily grind, David and Veronica throw caution to the wind, quit their jobs, put on their vagabond shoes, and go gypsy in a beat-up old RV found on eBay.
What gave you the courage/motivation to start?
In 2008, when my husband, David, and I launched our youngest of three children off to college, we had what we call our “now what?” moment. There was a big empty nest looming over our heads. We chose to look at our next phase of life as a beginning instead of an ending. Rather than staying put and facing the constant reminders of empty bedrooms and backseats, we sold the nest and hit the highway.
Did you encounter any problems such as writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome them?
I don’t get writer’s block, but I do have “groove” problems. Touring the world full time, writing for our website, writing our next book–it sometimes jangles my brain. I’ve found that writing lists help me keep my focus and priorities (semi)straight. I’m not sure why it works for me, but it really clears my head.
How did you go about finding a publisher/getting the book self-published?
We are really blessed to have a great editor/mentor who just “got me” from the beginning of our relationship. She helped us put a great proposal together and, after a lot of research, we pitched it directly to publishers. We made certain that our book’s topic was a good fit; most publishers are very specific about what they want. When we pitched, we followed their guidelines to the letter. I know that this method rarely works–and I realize how lucky I was to be “plucked from obscurity.”
Did anything surprise you about the whole process?
The whole thing was surprising–but the journey has been incredible. I never thought I’d start writing at this point in my life and, blissfully, started in without any knowledge of what takes to write a book and get it published. Frankly, if I did, I probably would have chickened out (but I’m not the bravest of women, so take that with a grain of salt). So at the risk of sounding like an idiot, everything surprised me. I have to thank Skyhorse Publishing for some serious hand holding along the way.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book, or starting to write one?
I don’t respond to self-help very well, generally I need a kick in the butt. So let me be your kick in the butt. If you have a story to tell, then write it. Make that decision and stick with it. Write it all out. Then do your rewrites, and then edit it again. If you still don’t think it’s up to par, take some classes, find an editor, do what you need to get it there.