Friday, February 28, 2014

Lingering Echoes

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Lingering Echoes author Erica Kiefer. 

I really enjoyed Lingering Echoes. Where did you get the idea for your story from?

The first scene came to mind years ago when I was in college. It was a crisp, fall day and as I
walked to class, the wind and swirling leaves at my feet created a scenario in my head. When I became bored during my humanities class, instead of taking notes, I started writing a descriptive scene that was intended to simply end as a piece of poetry. Instead, I couldn’t stop thinking about this girl who I envisioned in my head, grieving beside a river on a cloudy, cold day. (I even kept thinking about it while on a rugby road trip, of all things!) I didn’t know until a couple years later when I picked up that piece of writing again that this poetic scene would transform into chapter two of Lingering Echoes.

What was your road to publication like?

Trying to get published turned out so much harder than I anticipated! I had a lot of belief in
my book when I first started going through the publication process in April, 2010. I started off by attending my first writer’s conference in Provo, Utah with LDStorymakers, and pitched my manuscript to an editor at Covenant Communications. It was a thrilling and positive experience, and I walked out of the doors with a request for my full manuscript. I couldn’t even believe it!

However, after my manuscript had been in their hands for less than a month, after following
advice from my writer’s group, I withdrew my manuscript in hopes to find a publisher who could carry my book to a mainstream audience (rather than specifically LDS).

I spent the summer researching and educating myself on how to improve my query letter, write a synopsis, and how to find and submit to literary agents. While I received a few close inquiries over the next year, I was surprised how difficult and discouraging the process turned out to be!

While I will never know if Covenant Communications would have published my novel, I felt
truly regretful that I had turned them down and hadn’t followed someone else’s advice to “take who I could get” as a first-time author.

Fortunately, stubbornness and perseverance paid off! After three years of failing to find a literary agent and glumly eyeing my email folder full of hundreds of rejection letters, I heard about a newer publishing company called Clean Teen Publishing. I decided to take one last shot at this, thinking that if they said no, at some point I would just need to accept that sometimes that first book just doesn’t get published. I submitted and didn’t hear back for five weeks, even though the website had said they would get back to me in two. I checked in with Clean Teen and due to an error with their system at the time, they hadn’t even received my submission. So I submitted . . .and a couple weeks later, I had an offer! Six weeks later, Lingering Echoes was published and available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.

Long story short: My road to publication was long, often discouraging and full of rejection . . .
making the success that much sweeter. Thank goodness for encouragement from family and
friends who kept my hope alive!

Tell me a little about your writing process. 
I write best when I feel emotional, so I often pull from my own life—not necessarily true events, but emotions I have felt from life experiences. I’ll be honest: I’m not one of those writers who has a million different ideas flowing. I feel confident once I start writing, but coming up with new material can be difficult for me. I often brainstorm with my husband and sisters when I get stuck.

I am definitely a mix of being a plotter/pantser. I like having a general idea of the story, but
as I found with Lingering Echoes, sometimes I didn’t know the details of the storyline or the
full relationship between characters until the scene just happened! It was fun to experience that unexpected excitement with my characters, especially between Allie, Damien and Aaron.

As far as a critique group: Before I moved to Provo, I belonged to a writer’s group that met
once a week and we would do writing exercises together. Since moving to Vegas, I joined The
Author’s Think Tank through Facebook after receiving an invite from a local author. I heard
about Clean Teen Publishing through this group, actually, so I am so grateful for networking! I use Facebook a ton now to interact with fellow authors and bloggers and enjoy letting people I know read my work for proof reading and feedback.

What are you working on now?

Just before Christmas 2013, I released Rumors, a Lingering Echoes Novella. This is a fast read that is a prequel to Lingering Echoes and is bonus material. It takes a look at Allie Collin’s life the year before Lingering Echoes takes place, and explores the pressures she fell into during her senior year after her cousin dies. Readers have requested a sequel for Lingering Echoes though at the moment, I am still undecided what the next project will be.

Right now, I am focusing on the upcoming release of my nonfiction book called Borrowed
Angel: Coping with the Loss of a Child. This book comes from an extremely personal part of
my heart as it discusses the birth and death of my almost five-month-old son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This will be published through Walnut Springs in Utah and distributed through Deseret Book in February or March. As you can imagine, the idea of sharing my son with the world is emotional, but I’m hoping that the things I learned through this experience will help others who are struggling with loss or other discouraging challenges.

Next up: It will be a surprise to you and me both!

Thank you so much, Erica for sharing this with us. If you'd like to connect with Erica or learn more about her or her books check out:

1 comment:

  1. Great interview. Erica, I can't imagine how hard that loss must have been, but I think this sort of thing is important to talk about (and write about!) Congrats on the upcoming release.


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