Jeanette Hubbard

Jeanette Hubbard


Author: Jeanette Hubbard

Genre(s): Humorous crime / suspense fiction

From: USA

Started writing her first book in her: teens

Published her first book at age: 61

Publisher: Promontory Press

Titles to date: 2

Where to find her:

Books available at: & Barnes & Noble

 What motivated you to write your first book?

Fear. I wanted to be a writer from my early teens. I would start stories, maybe only a chapter or two, and never finish.

When I hit the age of sixty, my life took a radical, 180 degree turn. During the recession I lost my job and my prospects were not rosy. I decided I could find a dead-end job or I could use my time to do what I’d always daydreamed about doing. I sat down and wrote a book.

How much planning do you do before you start a new book?

That first book? I started without much of a plan. I wrote about a hundred pages and decided that I didn’t like the direction I was going. I threw it out and made an outline. I re-wrote that outline about a dozen times. I finally finished it and put it in a drawer for about a year before I showed it to anyone. During that year I wrote another book and did that one mostly by the seat of my pants. The third book I wrote an outline and mostly followed it. I’m firmly convinced that for a mystery/suspense writer you need an outline if you don’t want to waste a lot of time re-writing.

How do you feel about that first book you finished?

I took that book out of the drawer this past year and gutted it. I’ve attended several writer’s conferences and workshops in the last few years and I’m beginning to get a feel for what the book needs. I’m nearly done with the first completed draft of this re-write and I feel like I might have a book, (it’s a thriller), that I will feel proud about.

Would you rather write only one book (that sells a million copies) or write until you’re out of stories?

First, I will never be out of stories. I wake up with stories in my head and until dementia takes me I think I always will.

Second, I’m 66 and there are so many things I want to do and not a lot of money to do them. I’d love to sell a million copies of just about anything. Maybe not ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, but who knows?

Your worst review?

Oh yeah. This guy, older I think, really didn’t like the first book, ‘Secrets, Lies and Champagne Highs’. And he went on for great lengths about it on Amazon. Paragraph after paragraph dissecting it. I’m amazed at his persistence. When I don’t like a book I put it down and move on. I don’t expect everybody who reads my books to like them. I’ve had enough positive feedback to feel good about my books and my writing. A really good review can wipe out a bad one.

What’s your best writing advice?

From Robert Dugoni in a workshop he did for either the Willamette Writers Conference or Left Coast Crime.

“There has to be something at stake.”

You can’t have just a series of scenes where this happens, then that happens, etc. You need to give the reader a reason to keep turning the pages.

Glenna Mageau

Glenna Mageau


Author: Glenna Mageau — writing as Maggie Thom

Genres: Suspense / thrillers

From: Canada

Started writing … at age nine but threw it out when I was about 21. I was too embarrassed that someone might find it and read it.

Published my first book at age: 49

Titles to date: 4 (self-published)

Learn more: about author Maggie Thom … about writing coach Glenna Mageau  Author Glenna Mageau

What do you do to overcome the fear of being published?

I have loved words and writing for most of my life. I really think that joining a writing group and a critique group and taking writing lessons made all the difference. I got good feedback about what I did well and I worked on those areas I needed to work on. As I got better and better, the stories just kept coming. I wrote many novels and stories before I ever made the leap to being published. Before I made the decision to publish, I had several people read my novel and give me honest feedback. Well, what I got was many saying they really liked my writing… so I made the leap. With fear darn near choking me and panic cloaking me in its cape, I hit the publish button. The best part… I survived. And am thrilled that I took that chance.

Describe your path to publication. What roadblocks did you encounter?

When I finally decided that I wanted to be published, I sent a query off to a traditional publisher. They asked for the manuscript. Yay. But then I waited… and waited… and waited… So I emailed them. Yes, they were still interested and would get to it soon. So I waited… and waited… and waited… By this point I had heard about many authors choosing to be self-published. And, I discovered that even if the traditional publisher did decide to publish me I was looking at two years before my book would be out. They weren’t ready to publish me but I was ready to be published. So I pulled my story and the rest they say is… published. 🙂

How much planning do you do before you start a new book?

I don’t. I know, gasp. I kind of do a panster–plotter thing. Really when I get an idea, if it excites me, I tend to sit down and start writing. I see what comes to me. Then I’ll go away from it and play ‘what if’ with it in my mind for a while. And then I’ll sit down and write.

I tend to jump in and start writing and then back away and do some thinking and looking at what’s possible and plausible. Then I write, letting it go where it needs to. Then I back away for a bit and play with it some more to see what really grabs me. Then I write again. Then when I’m finished writing the novel, I go back through it twenty or so times and make sure it all flows and makes sense.

How do you feel about the first book you finished? Is it published or is it still living ‘under the bed?’

Well, I actually have about ten living under my bed. I think it’s actually more than that but ten is enough to talk about. Every book I have written has been with a desire to share the stories of the characters in my mind. I love creating stories. Each one that I have written holds a special place. Each one was like a stepping stone to learning and creating. Each got better and better over time.

My very first book, which would have to be the one I wrote when I was nine, is very precious because I wrote it at a time when I had no one supporting me or telling me I could be a writer.

What’s the nicest thing a fan has ever said to you?

“I can’t sleep. I’m staying up half the night just so I can finish your book. I’ve tried to put it down but it won’t let me.”

Tell us about a review of your book that made you shake your head. How do you deal with negative reviews?

That there wasn’t enough romance in my novel.

Which is why I list my books as suspense/thrillers. Sometimes I mention that there is a hint of romance. I guess the hint got missed in this case.

There are a few reviews that have annoyed me but I look at them and remind myself that it is one person’s opinion and they are entitled to it. I do look to see if there is any constructive criticism that I could learn from. Then I decide, I can keep giving it power – because we often take the negative ones to heart and let them beat us up – or I can look at all the positive reviews I get and let it go. I have learned to let them go. They aren’t worth the energy and they keep me from doing what I love – writing and creating stories.

If anyone tells you, you’re not a really a writer

Tell them to kiss the pen you write with. Seriously, everyone is a writer and could do well at writing but most won’t pursue it. And that’s okay. Depending on who is telling you, you’re not a writer I’d ask them what a writer is to them. And I’d take the information and look at it as interesting but do NOT take it personally. Do NOT let someone else define who and what you are. Writing is a beautiful and positive thing. You are a writer.

Jennifer Deese

Jennifer Deese


Author: Jennifer Deese

Genre(s): Fantasy and horror

From: USA

Started writing her 1st book in her: 40s

Published her 1st book at age: 43

Titles to date: 3 (1 novella and 2 shorts in anthologies) Author Jennifer Deese

Best place to learn more about Jennifer: here

How do you feel about the first book you finished? 

I adore my first publication, The Orchid Keeper. It is, was, and always will be, my baby. Although, due to some needed edits and some needed tweaking I will be revising and rebranding it in the Summer of 2017 as a prequel novella instead of it being Book One. As my WIP progresses I have found my original intentions for the series has outgrown my outlines. As an author I do not see this as a bad thing. As we grow and learn as writers, our stories and ideas will, too. It’s growth and I am happy with it. I am not only surprised by the evolution of this storyline, I am also pleased.

How do you deal with the muddled middle, the part of the story when most authors have come to hate their story?

This question is so very appropriate for me right now. I have recently returned from the abyss of writer’s block and what I call being storyline stuck. A few months back I began to overanalyze the first draft of my WIP (in the middle of the story I stalled…) and in doing so I angered my muse mid-story. She packed her bags and walked right out of my head. I began to over dissect the story and doubt it’s quality.

While revisions, edits and rewrites are part of the process I have found that on the first draft it behooves the writer to simply just write the story…to let it flow from your mind to paper without the tedious interruptions of the technical parts; editing, formatting, punctuation errors etc. Fist drafting is just that — first drafting. Just get that story to paper: the beginning, that sometimes iffy muddled middle, and the end.

So, now I do not let the middle or any other part of the story get stalled while first drafting. I just write it through. Everything else — editing, grammar, repetitiveness, flat dialogue, plot holes and all else — can be dealt with after the first draft of the story has been freed from your head and put to paper.

When are you most inspired write?

Inspiration is a creature in and of itself. I have stopped being surprised by the odd moments it picks to hit me. I have been struck with inspiration while standing in a grocery store line, while cleaning the toilet, plucking my eyebrows and while shaving my legs, just to mention a few.

Would you rather write only one book (that sells a million copies) or write until you’re out of stories?

While the idea of a book going bestseller across the globe is both ego-pleasing and financially-pleasing, I can say I will write, with or without a million copies being sold, for the rest of my life.

When I just don’t have the motivation to sit down and write, I…

…simply just don’t write. To force the story, in my opinion, will only hurt you in the long run. If you force the story or push it when the creative juices refuse to flow, the readers will pick up on that. If the flow is stuffy or forced your end result will not read well. I would rather walk away and come back to it later when the motivation and inspiration are present.

Donna Barker

Donna Barker


Author: Donna Barker

Genre(s): Non-fiction; creative non-fiction; quirky women’s fiction

From: Canada

Started writing her 1st book in her: 40s

Published her 1st book at age: 49 years, 11 months

Titles to date: 1 Author Donna Barker

Best place to learn more about Donna: here



The perfect storm of revenge and love. I used anger and hurt and a good amount of shaking my head at myself as fuel to write the first book I wrote to the end. It’s not been published and the title of this creative non-fiction story may give you a hint as to why it should probably never seek a wide readership: Drinking Scotch with Strangers.

So, although the novel I self-published is the second manuscript I’ve written, it’s the first to become a book. And I drew my energy to write the book, again, on generally negative emotions like anger toward certain men in power and frustration with society’s attitudes towards women’s rights. That was one part. The other energy came from a place of love.

I started to write Mother Teresa’s Advice for Jilted Lovers at the same time my dad told us that he’d been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. He’d always wanted to write a book and so, knowing that he couldn’t put it off any longer, he started to write. Dad and I were accountability parters and we shared drafts. It was challenging but fun since both of our stories involved a lot creative ways to kill people. My story is dark humour, women’s fiction; his was a political thriller. And both had autobiographical elements, though we never explicitly admitted what parts of our stories we’d drawn from experience and what parts were fictional.


Getting fifty agent rejections was a bit of a downer. I shelved the story for a year at that milestone, deciding that my dream of being a published author had been a silly fantasy.


Luck. It turned out that in addition to submitting my manuscript to fifty agents, toward the end of my submission months I also sent the story to a contest. A contest that took over a year to adjudicate. I’d totally forgotten about it and one morning I had a tweet that mentioned me:

Congratulations to @donnabarker for winning the @ChantiReviews Chanticleer Award for best Mystery/Suspense in Women’s Fiction.

That win changed everything. Attending the writer’s conference that hosted the awards introduced me to dozens of self-published authors… I left with a plan.


Write for yourself. Don’t think about your readers when you’re writing. You can think about them when you’re editing.

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