We are thrilled to have Robin W. Pearson visiting today. Her new book, Walking in Tall Weeds, will be released July 19.
Congratulations Robin on this new book. I am looking forward to reading it.
I want to ask you what you do when you are writing and you get stumped?
If I’m having trouble making progress in a story, I start over from the beginning and reread. Editing helps me write new material and if necessary, go in a different direction altogether. I compare it to driving a car with a manual transmission: sometimes when you’re on a hill, you back up and then move forward.
Did you choose your genre, or do you feel it choose you?
I suppose I chose my genre when I ate my first helping of collard greens on a Sunday afternoon. My faith and my Southern culture shape my thoughts, my relationships, my parenting—how I see the world in general—so they certainly affect my writing.
Did you feel you had to make sacrifices to be a writer?
When my seven little people were younger, I regularly sacrificed sleep. I have several full-time roles, including parenting and homeschooling, so my daylight hours were full of caring for my family, teaching, and running my peeps around to various and sundry places. Actually, not much has changed!
I am sure like most authors you have been given writing advice. What is the best writing advice you have received so far?
Write daily. It’s like drinking water and exercising regularly. When I skip days working on my book, my creativity dries up and my connection to the story weakens; I lack the stamina and the will to write. Also, I have to spend valuable time reacquainting myself with my characters rather than making progress.
What advice have you been given you thought was bad?
Quit. When it seemed to take me forever to connect with a publisher for my first novel, A Long Time Comin’, a friend suggested that perhaps it wasn’t “meant to be.” I considered that idea for a hot second and prayed about it and realized that wait doesn’t mean no.
Between plotting, character development, dialogue, and scenes, which is easiest for you, and which takes a lot of effort?
Developing characters comes more naturally to me. I write what I hear and see, and as a mama of seven who spends lots of time with extended family and friends, I hear and see a lot. Plotting takes more time to develop. I’m a pantser by nature, so I often flesh out the story as I write. I’ll discover the “why” a hundred pages in and have to edit to make sure all the dots connect.
Do you have a schedule for writing?
I keep my computer with me, and I make the most of every opportunity to write, whether it’s fifteen minutes or two hours. Is that considered a schedule?
What is the best way you found to market your book?
Since I specialize in being me, not a salesperson, I focus on building authentic relationships within the writing and reading community. By sharing about my faith and my family, readers get to know the truth behind the fiction and learn more about my day-to-day inspiration. I think they connect to the way I share about my everyday struggles—from finding gray chin hair to “parenting” adult children—and they want to read more. They connect to me and to my work.
Did you actively build a network of readers and if so, how?
The main way I grow my readership is by consistently writing stories that address real issues that people can relate to. Also, I appear on podcasts, write articles, and participate in book-related events such as attending conferences and doing signings. I try to go where the readers are, whether that’s virtually or in person. Though I’m an introvert deep, deep down, I love connecting with others and discussing our family histories, writing journeys, and our favorite books (besides mine!).
Are you on the social media highway and if so, do you schedule times to post?
You can find @robinwpearson on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and on Pinterest, for recipes. I also have a website, robinwpearson.com, where readers can subscribe to my monthly newsletter, the Robin’s Nest. This summer my more organized family members have promised to give me a tutorial on scheduling posts.
What point in your writing career did you feel like you had gone from amateur to pro?
Even after more than two decades in the publishing industry, three books under my belt, and a Christy Award on my shelf, I’m still working on that! There’s lots to learn.
What advice would you like to give new authors that would help them?
Based on my own bad habits, I advise new authors to be true to who they are and answer the call God gave them. They shouldn’t measure their success or their struggle with other authors. When I’m tempted to peek over the fence at greener grass, I remind myself, “Only I can write my story.”
Robin W. Pearson’s writing sprouts from her Southern roots, her faith in Jesus Christ, and her love of her husband and seven children. All lend authenticity to her novels. After graduating from Wake Forest University, she has corrected grammar up and down the East Coast in her career as an editor and writer that started with Houghton Mifflin Company more than twenty-five years ago. Both her Christy Award–winning debut, A Long Time Comin’, and her second novel, ’Til I Want No More, have earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Follow her on her blog, Mommy, Concentrated, where she shares her adventures in faith, family, and freelancing.