How long have you been writing, Mindy?I have been writing professionally for eight years. But, I’ve been making up stories since I was little. I used to be a seventh grade teacher and I would take some of my students to a Young Author’s Conference. I always felt like I’d found my home when I heard the authors speak. But, it took earning an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College before I had the courage to call myself a children’s writer.
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Stained Glass Summer?
An artist friend of mine gave me a couple pieces of broken glass that she found in a dumpster at the back of an art supply store. That night, a teenage girl character popped into my blue and white striped chair in the bedroom and said, “Hello, my name is Jasmine. It’s time to tell my story.” A few weeks before STAINED GLASS SUMMER was released, I attended a teen art glass workshop held at a hot glass shop. During the workshop, broken pieces of glass ended up on the floor from the teen’s projects. They looked exactly like the broken glass pieces my friend had given me all those years ago. There are pictures of the teens and the hot glass workshop on the STAINED GLASS SUMMER Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/stainedglasssummer
As an author, Mindy, what is your writing process?
Long! I write many, many, many drafts. During my Vermont College work, I was told by Sharon Darrow that the writing is in the revision. That’s exactly right! The story I set out to tell is often very different than the story that emerges on paper. STAINED GLASS SUMMER was originally an edgy YA novel called Jewels from the Dumpster! During the many, many revisions the story changed to be a middle grade story with a tough girl character who has been deeply hurt when her Father leaves. I’m always glad for the many versions of a story because I think it does take quite a bit of writing to get to the heart of a novel.
Very true! How long did it take for you to start and finish Stained Glass Summer?
It took ten years from the time I started writing STAINED GLASS SUMMER to the acceptance e-mail from Musa—almost to the day! But, I wasn’t working on the novel the entire time. I also write and publish articles and short stories, and I think doing so, keeps my momentum going for my novels which seem to take much longer.
Do you have any advice for other writers, Mindy?
Persistence and patience. Sometimes it just takes a long time for a story to move out into the world. As writers, we work on a story and think everyone needs to read it now. But, I believe there is a time for stories, and sometimes now is just not the time. Then, we need to set the story aside and go work on other things. Sometimes it’s us, the authors, that aren’t ready to carry the story forward into publication with all that entails, and sometimes it is just not time for the story to be in the world. I came close to selling STAINED GLASS SUMMER a couple times, and it didn’t happen. In the last couple years, some of those publishers who I “almost” sold the story to have gone out of business. Sometimes there are forces at work that are beyond us, and we have to believe in the story enough to hold on. I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of e-publishing with Musa! It was the exact right home for this story.
I believe there’s a time for everything too. What’s next for Mindy Harwick the author?
I will be working on revisions and getting another book ready to release. This one is called WEAVING MAGIC and is a contemporary romance for teens. WEAVING MAGIC will release on April 27, 2012 from MuseItUP Publishing. You can read an excerpt here.
Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?
That’s easy! I have always felt very connected to the early 1900’s in upstate New York. I think, in another life, I was one of the women who worked with Susan B. Anthony to fight for Women’s Voting Rights. One day, I’d like to write a historical fiction story about that time in history.If readers would like to contact me, you can find me here: