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Meet Shannon Vannatter

14 Feb Posted by in Member Interviews | 10 comments
Meet Shannon Vannatter
 

Today we are going to sit down and chat with Arkansas inspirational writer, Shannon Vannatter.  Shannon is the author of White Roses, White Doves and White Pearls.

Shannon as a pastor’s wife, stay-at-home mom, and a writer I’m sure you have your hands full and yet you still manage to make time to teach writing workshops and speak at church conferences. Do you have any words of advice on how to balance a busy schedule?
I’d say work out a schedule and stick to it.


My school year writing time is during the day. I rarely run errands or do anything else until evening. I do all my writing, revisions, interviews, and blogging during that time. After school, I’m mom. And when my husband gets home, we have family time.


In the summer, I’m mom. My writing time is in the evening after everyone else goes to bed.
Weekends are mostly family time. When I have signings, we always do something as a family afterward. Even if it’s just stay home and watch a movie and pop popcorn together. When I speak at conferences or churches, we make it a mini vacation whenever possible and my family goes with me.


I had to give up a few of my jobs at church and that bothered me, but it gave other people a chance to get more involved. I’m the pastor’s wife 24/7 year round and drop everything when needed.

Your series of books with Heartsong Presents all set in Romance and Rose Bud, Arkansas. Do you plan to keep all your stories centered on Arkansas towns?
I’d love to. I was born in Arkansas, but moved near Chicago, Illinois when I was a baby. Later, we ended up near Atlanta, Georgia. We moved back to Arkansas when I was twelve. At the time, I thought my life was over. Rural life was major culture shock. Now, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I live in a tiny community of maybe 100, if you count a few cows. The nearest town has 10,000 people and that would be way too big for me to live in.


But my current publisher publishes the Romancing America series, so I’ll need to move around. I do hope to do more Arkansas books in the future. I have another three book series on the back burner set in three different Arkansas towns.

Romance, Arkansas’ re-mailing program allows anyone to send their wedding invitations and Valentines cards to have them re-mailed with the Romance postmark. Are they aware that your book has brought new attention to their community?
The people of Romance and Rose Bud are very aware of the series and the attention. They’ve been very excited and supportive. The Weatherly’s who own The Romance Waterfalls have been so accommodating. The postmaster and postmaster relief were very helpful in getting all the postal details in book two. And Nick Stark who owns the Darden-Gifford house in Rose Bud gave me a tour, something I’d wanted to do since my first glimpse of it thirty years ago. Last summer, the community invited me to the 30th Annual Romance Reunion.


I’ve had book signings at the Romance Waterfalls and the Rambler Café in Rose Bud. In March, I’m having a signing at the Darden-Gifford house. In book three, the heroine is overseeing the restoration of the house into a bed and breakfast. The book started rumors about it really being turned into a B & B for a while.

The Arkansas Democrat Three Rivers Edition recently named you as one of their 20 to Watch in 2011. First off, congratulations! Do you mind telling us what you’ll be working on in 2011?
That was quite an honor. They had a nice luncheon for us at Harding University. My husband and parents got to go with me. I was humbled to be included with some of the other honorees, which made my contributions to my community and state look insignificant.


I have another series set in Texas in the works, but it’s not officially official yet. So that’s all I can say right now. My husband was born there and his dad lived in the San Antonio area until his passing a few years ago. We’ve visited several times and it’s my second favorite state.

On your blog, The Inkslinger, you share real life love stories as well as love stories of romantic fictional characters. It’s a very unique idea that is fun to read. Can you tell us a little bit about how you came up with this idea and how it works?
Linda Fulkerson kept telling me I needed a blog. My first instinct was to blog about writing or being a pastor’s wife. But there are a jillion blogs about writing by people who know a lot more than I do and half of ACFW are pastor’s wives. I wanted a unique blog with a unique topic that went along with my books. Linda suggested that I give romance advice and tips. A great idea, but it scared me to death. A counselor I am not and I could just see me giving advice and couples end up getting divorced. She told me to pray about it. I did and it still scared me.


Last Spring, ACFW had an online course on marketing and publicity by Rusty Shelton. I took the course and he mentioned blogs. He used the example, if you write books about mothers and daughters, ask readers to send in pictures for your blog of mothers and daughters. That got me thinking. At first, I was just going to do wedding pictures, but then I decided having stories to go along with the pictures would be really cool. I started out trying to get normals (Brandilyn Collins’ nickname for non-writers) to send me their stories. I soon realized normals don’t want to write anything or they don’t think they can, so I turned to writers.


I watch the ACFW loop for authors looking for influencers and contact them. And I also, put out a call for writers on the loop about every three months. Once an author has been on the blog, I ask them to contact me when they have future releases and have them back.


The blog has really grown and been a lot of fun. And several readers have thanked me for introducing them to Christian Fiction and authors new to them. So I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Today is Valentine’s Day! How fitting that we get to meet one of Arkansas most popular romance writers on the most romantic day of the year. I read that you and your husband go out to eat to celebrate. In the article you said that the two of you go to Outback Steakhouse and your husband said it was Chili’s, so which will it be?
Outback. He likes Chili’s better because it’s easier on the checkbook, but he really prefers Outback’s steaks. I’ve had several successful signings lately, so I’ll pay.

Thank you for taking time to sit down and share a little bit about yourself with us.
Thank you, Jamie. It was a fun and unique interview.

You can learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com, http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog.

  1. stvannatter02-14-11

    Hey Jamie,
    I really enjoyed the interview. Great job!

    • jamieadams02-15-11

      Thanks Shannon, although you did most of the work. I enjoyed our ‘chat’ and look forward to reading more of your work.

  2. Marianne02-15-11

    Thanks, Jamie for the interview. i am glad to get to know Shannon better

  3. Sheila Covey02-15-11

    Enjoyed reading the interview! Great job–both of you!

  4. stvannatter02-15-11

    Eventually I’ll make it to a meeting and meet everyone. Looking forward to it.

  5. Kathy Fuller02-15-11

    Nice getting to know you, Shannon! Lovely picture, too. 🙂

  6. Debbie Archer02-15-11

    It was nice getting to read about Shannon’s routine and I truly enjoyed your interview, Jamie.

  7. Shannon Taylor Vannatter02-15-11

    Hey Kathy,

    If you’re talking about the waterfall, it is gorgeous. Once I saw it, I had to use it in all three books. If you’re talking about the headshot, I don’t look that good on a daily basis. I love professional photographers talented enough to make you not look like you.

    Hey Debbie,
    I’m so out of my routine lately, but I’m working on it.

  8. Linda Fulkerson02-16-11

    First, I want to thank Jamie for taking the time to create such a great interview with Shannon! I’m looking forward to getting to know my fellow Arkansas writers better through your interviews, Jamie!

    I have to say how proud I am of Shannon. I met her through the Arkansas ACFW group, but really got to know her because she hates to drive. She asked me for some publicity advice, but she has come up with more ideas for book promotion than Rusty Shelton and I could have ever thought of. Watch this girl — she is a marketing machine! And we’re blessed, because she will be sharing her tips & ideas with us on this group blog.

  9. Lisa Collins02-18-11

    I liked this interview! It is nice to see some questions that aren’t just standard.

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