Lou Honderich is a former teacher and life-long horsewoman. During her teaching career she taught Kindergarten, first grade and elementary PE. Her hearing loss as an adult led her to the deaf community, sign language, and a new direction in teaching. She began to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing students in self-contained classrooms, mainstream situations, in summer camps and therapeutic horseback riding programs. The author and her husband live on a small farm in northwest Arkansas with their horses, dogs, cats and chickens. They have five children and seven grandchildren. Lou Honderich continues to enjoy riding as well as writing, and is currently at work on her next book.
PJ: How long have you been writing?
LH: About 10 years
PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?
LH: When my book was accepted for publication
PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?
LH: My goal was to write the story which became RICKI, for readers to enjoy rather than attempt to earn an income. From my experience, the income does not exceed the outgo of money needed to promote the book.
PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?
LH: My focus is now on marketing the book and writing a second book.
PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?
LH: Five years, although only two of those were spent trying to get published. I tried for one year, let it ride for three, then re-wrote the book tried again. After the re-write it sold fairly quickly.
PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?
LH: I am not very clever at dividing the time, so I try to accomplish whatever tasks are the most pressing. I would far prefer to be writing!
PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?
LH: Seeing and holding my published book for the first time.
PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?
LH: Meeting a young reader who brought her book to be signed. She was in awe of being with the person who wrote her favorite story. It was such a humbling experience.
PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?
LH: RICKI is the only book available to children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing which has as its main character a deaf girl. Also, there are no books that incorporate deaf culture and sign language. In addition, there is the horse theme which has wide appeal.
PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?
LH: Believe in your work and never give up.
PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?
LH: I am still searching for the most effective tool.
PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?
LH: Finding the markets and reaching them.
PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?
LH: Trolley Line Book Shop, Rogers, Arkansas, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, Arkansas
PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:
Ricki, a ten-year-old deaf girl living in Oklahoma, is crazy about horses. Her dream is to win first place in a horse show. At her grandparents’ farm she works toward that goal, riding their Quarter Horse, Frosty. Then an unexpected event rocks her family’s comfortable life, bringing new challenges for everyone. Discover the fascinating world of deaf culture and sign language. Cheer for this spirited, determined girl on her quest for a blue ribbon.
Where can we buy it?
Also at Trolley Line Books, Rogers, AR, and through the publisher at Mockingbird Lane Press, who will give a discount to libraries. The author will mail autographed copies upon request and will also give a discount to libraries.
Make sure you check this out – I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised! You can visit Lou at http://www.louhonderich.com.