Today I have a guest post from the wonderful S.P. Sipal all about the writing process of her new book, Southern Fried Wiccan. I hope you enjoy it, and keep on reading to find out all about Southern Fried Wiccan and where you can buy it!
It Takes a Village to Write a Story
By S.P. Sipal
Authors get asked all the time where they get their ideas and how they transform these wisps of thought into a written book. For me, each idea, each story is unique, and I receive and process each one differently. But one of the key aspects that remain the same, story after story, is that I never do it alone.
Southern Fried Wiccan is one of those rare ideas that came to me in a dream. You know that limbo state you get in when you’re starting to wake up but not fully awake? It was in such a state that I saw this girl, a teen, hanging out on the back porch steps of an old, rambling farmhouse and arguing with her stubborn grandmother, who was a Southern Baptist, about her desire to pursue Wicca.
This intriguing conflict woke me up with the title Southern Baptist Wiccan in my mind, and I knew I had to write it. (Fortunately, a good friend and critique partner, Christina Dendulk, twisted the title to Southern FRIED Wiccan…much catchier, don’t you think?)
Usually, when a new idea hits me, I spend quite a bit of time developing it before I start writing. Fleshing out characters, drafting plot points, building an engaging world. Not so with Southern Fried Wiccan. I just started writing, and within two weeks, I had what I called a “complete” novel. Of course, complete is used very loosely in this case. For what took me two weeks to draft took several months to edit, and then another couple of years to go back to and polish until it was marketable.
Whoever said “writing is rewriting” spoke directly to me and my experience. For me, writing is all about the layers. And my first layer is always pure crap. It takes me many, many revisions before I can get to something that doesn’t bear the look and smell of vomit.
Fortunately, somewhere along this journey, after the odor cleared a bit, I found a publisher who could see past the last few bits of dredge and was willing to help with the final spit-shine. The heart-stopping notification of a contract offer came from Tammy Mckee of BookFish Books. Finally! Someone saw the potential that had hit me upon waking from that initial dream!
Mary Waibel, my content editor, was wonderful at cutting through my spasms of awkward wordings and helped me get to what I was actually trying to say. She stuck with it, revision after revision (and there were many) until the book sparkled as brightly as it always had in my head.
Then Ellie Sipila took the fine sandpaper and applied that final scraping that makes a finished product look truly professional. I was thrilled to learn some detailed stuff from her that will make me a better writer going forward.
And then it was on to the marketing. Anita Carroll provided a cover to die for. I mean serious kinds of awesome. Then, Erin Rhew set up this fabulous blog tour that allows me to finally get the word out and share this book that has lived inside me all these years now with readers whom I’ve never met before.
See, a book is never written in a vacuum. From that first dream, I was tapping into the universal subconscious, a collection of the people I’d encountered and discussions I’d heard that worked their way through my dreams into a concrete idea that woke me up. From there, I drew from people I knew personally and strangers I’d watched out in public to weave in the real-world details that brought my characters and their actions to life. Then, many critique partners showed me where the thoughts in my head had skipped the writing on the paper, or where I wrote something stupid. And ending with the team of publishing professionals who took an outpouring of the heart and transformed it into a marketable product.
A story, even if written by one person, is almost always a product of a team the size of a village. And that’s really cool because nothing can transform lives quite as powerfully as Story. People touching people through story, that’s what it’s all about. For the end goal of this journey is you…the reader…and where you will take it from here.
Southern Fried Wiccan
By S.P. Sipal
Cilla Swaney is thrilled to return stateside, where she can hang up her military-brat boots for good. Finally, she’ll be free to explore her own interests—magick and Wicca. But when she arrives at her grandma’s farm, Cilla discovers that life in the South isn’t quite what she expected. At least while country hopping, she never had to drink G-ma’s crazy fermented concoctions, attend church youth group, make co-op deliveries…or share her locker with a snake-loving, fire-lighting, grimoire-stealing Goth girl…
…Who later invites her to a coven that Cilla’s not sure she has the guts to attend. But then Emilio, the dark-haired hottie from her charter school, shows up and awakens her inner goddess. Finally, Cilla starts believing in her ability to conjure magick. Until…
…All Hades breaks loose. A prank goes wrong during their high school production of Macbeth, and although it seems Emilio is to blame, Cilla and Goth may pay the price. Will Cilla be able to keep the boy, her coven, and the trust of her family? Or will this Southern Wiccan get battered and fried?