Sittin’ On The Porch With Kelly – Author Sylvia Villalobos – My Writing Journey

Good Morning To All!

It is gorgeous on the porch this morning. Not too hot yet, but it will be later. It’s hot enough for my famous sweet tea and Author Sylvia Villalobos and I are sippin’ away. It is so great to have Sylvia with me today and she will be talking about her writing journey. New writers, pay attention, she has some great information to share. Let’s listen…

The road to publication is full of bends, climbs, and descents — a sinuous path of joy and heartbreak. Mine was no different. Now that my mystery novel, Stranger or Friend, is out in the world (well, on amazon, thanks to Solstice Publishing), I can sit back for a moment, share the story behind the story, and reflect on what I’ve learned along the way. 

The Story Behind Stranger or Friend

Inspiration rushes at us like a storm of jagged images when a story must be told.  Such was the case in the writing of this mystery novel — the culmination of two lives at a confluence of cultures: an Eastern European immigrant — the author — married to a California native of Hispanic descent. The result is a highly fictionalized story, an observation, of intersecting cultures, of newcomers and locals, the bumps along the way, discovery, rejection, and acceptance. This is the story of a woman going back home, only to find that home is no longer the place she remembers, or maybe never really knew.

My Writing Process

I usually start with two elements: setting and character. I give the character goals, motivations and conflicts (internal and external). The external conflict is particularly complicated by the world she lives in, hence setting is important.

I had somewhat of an outline for Stranger or Friend — mostly names, events, and a timeline. As I put chapters through my critique group, the characters expanded, especially the villain, whom I had well defined in my mind’s eye, but needed to make certain this also came across well for the reader.   

Before Publication

Learning from rejections is part of the process. Working on one’s art and craft every day is not only rewarding, but crucial. Reading, in and out of preferred genre, and joining a critique group is essential, because writing is one thing and writing well is something else entirely.  


This part will make your head spin, but with organization, it can be done.

Build your name brand (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Put together a Media Kit or Press Kit. This includes your bio, bibliography, cover art, photo(s) and links, all in one document. More on this below.

Do you have a blog? If you’re reading this, the answer is probably yes. A writer without a blog cuts herself way short. Post interesting articles, stay active within the blogging community. This will come in handy for blog tours. Look into organizing signing events in your area. What about the local radio and newspapers? Many outlets love to support local authors. I know because I have a radio interview scheduled with my local station. This is when you will need a Press Kit. Editorial sites and radio stations expect a Press Kit. Get creative. Marketing is not only a way of doing, but a way of thinking in our service-driven society, as marketing books will tell you. 

Why do we keep submitting ourselves to this endless struggle, one might ask?

Because the story matters. Because there is little that comes close to the satisfaction we feel while in the creative process.

Sylvia, I couldn’t agree more. If you’re writing for anything other than the pure joy of the story, then you’re in for some frustrating times. Getting published and growing your readership is hard and takes time. Seems like you’ve learned some very valuable lessons along your journey. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. For more information about Sylvia please visit my Porch Guests Page.

About Kelly Abell

I am a writer, blogger, and graphic artist. My aim for you is to utilize this blog to help you improve your writing skills, and to educate you on the publishing business. If you need help with writing, want to self-publish a book and need advice, or just want to kick a story idea around to see what works best, that's what I'm here for. As I gain knowledge from editors and publishers, I will share that knowledge with you. As writers we should always strive to improve our craft and grow. A day should not pass where you haven't learned or tried something new with your writing. Many thanks to my Night Owl Friend, Lea Ellen Borg for editing my posts! Best to you and all your characters and stories. Write on, my friends...Write on.
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