Sunday, November 20, 2011

Guest Post ~ Jenna Gustafson & Giveaway

Today I have a new author to introduce to y'all. Jenna Gustafson is only 15 and already has her first book published! I asked her to tell us a little about her writing and road to publication.

My love for writing began with books.  I’m young enough to still remember going up to my mom, the same books as yesterday clutched in my pudgy arms, and demanding that she read to me.  Mom would give me a resigned smile and read me the stories that my brother, Jade, and I knew by heart.  I’m sure most parents out there can relate.

I loved spinning my own tales, too.  Jade and I went through a phase of putting on “plays and  musicals” for mom and dad in our basement.  When I was nine, I began using journaling as my  expressive outlet.  I’ve been writing ever since.

Another fun fact about me:  I have always loved creating challenges for myself, big or small. Could I ride a bike with no training wheels?  Could I be a ballerina?  Could I run over three miles?  And in seventh grade, could I publish a book successfully?

I suppose you could call my book, Saving Fort Smoky, Experiment A.   I began weaving my story in a small seventh grade English class, in a small school, in a small town.  I had a big imagination and a big, slightly crazy idea…
Of getting published.  Young.

Thus, I hurriedly banged out a story in three weeks time and edited it for the “A” in English class.  I didn’t stop there.  Curious about the publishing world to which I was very ignorant, I spent most of my summer on the computer.   Day after day I researched publishers until my eyes fell out of my head.  Slowly, I learned the loop holes and labyrinths of getting accepted by a publisher.  I learned what publishers were scams.   I eventually found Tate Publishing.

Another key trait I developed throughout this time of research was persuasion.  Just imagine, one day your kid strolls in and declares that they are going to publish their homework into a book.  You smile and nod, knowing that this newfound determination and interest in being an author will probably fade.  Except, three months later, the passion still hasn’t died, and they present to you some publishers.  In a spreadsheet they present to you the pros and cons of each company, and more importantly, how much money each are wanting for the publishing.  Money is not to be taken lightly in this economical age, and let me tell you, it took a lot of hard work and presentations to persuade mom and dad to part with four thousand dollars in honor of my dream.

At the time, that is all the published version of Saving Fort Smoky was; a dream.  Then I received a contract with Tate Publishing, a good Christian company.  We signed on with them.

Compared to most authors, I got lucky.  I was never rejected.  Not once.  But it was still a lot of work, especially for a kid.

The next couple of months were a blur of editing, layout, design, illustration, and web design.  I came out on the other side happy, with my new book in my hand.  It was wonderful.  I dove right into marketing with a determined and passionate mindset.

I sold, sold, sold, mainly around my community at craft shows.  Believe me, it isn’t glamorous  work, and readers didn’t beat a path to my table, but I was confident that writing, written by a kid, would be gobbled up by another kid.  The hard work is reaching your readers.

Eventually, I ran out of work in my area.  Now I’m relying on you guys to help me sell.  The Internet is a whole lot bigger than my small area in Montana, and I have no clue where to begin.  So thank you for helping me out. J

My experiment has almost worked, and I have almost broken even.  I hope to write a real, well- written novel by the time I’m a freshman in college.

Lastly, please remember this all came to be because I gave myself a challenge.  An experiment, to see if I could actually do what most adults only dream of.

Dear Adults,

QUIT DREAMING.  I did this “experiment” to not only prove something to myself, but to show people that accomplishments are not acquired by a magic potion,  gobs of money, or a major in persuasion.  All you have to do is try.  After all…

“The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized - and never knowing” ~ David Viscott

Good luck to fellow authors and writers!

Goodreads Blurb:

There's only one hope for Fort Smoky to survive. After a devastating fire ravages the homes of Fort Smoky, it's  up to young Ben Clearwater and his sister and friends to help the residents and get to Fort Futureland to save  the  people before the harsh, cold winter sets in. To get there, they will have to trek through unknown  mountains,  relying on Running Wind's compass and Big Jim's maps of the land while struggling against the  harsh forces of  Mother Nature.

Fort Futureland is a place of new and interesting contraptions, like cars and computers, the four children have  never seen, and they are captivated. But the children soon uncover a sinister plot to destroy their beloved  Fort  Smoky. Will they be able to stop the evil leaders of Fort Futureland? Will they ever make it home? Will  they be  heroes for Saving Fort Smoky?

* Jenna Gustafson lives happily in Montana with her parents and brother. While she has won local short story  contests, this is her first book. She hopes to inspire other children to chase their dreams and understand that  they are never too young to accomplish something.

To purchase click here: Amazon (e-book)

Thank you, Jenna, for stopping by today. You are a remarkable young woman! Best wishes in your future writing :)

Jenna has graciously agreed to give away one copy of her book. Leave an encouraging comment! Ends Dec 2nd.

This is US Only right now but I am checking with the author to see if we can extend an ebook international. I will update when I know!
Ok...Jenna says she will offer a paper copy to US participants (lower 48 states) and an e-book to all others! International readers get your name in the hat :)


  1. Hurray for Jenna great post! Thanks SO MUCH, Anne!!! :)

  2. Jenna, congrats on the book! My son would love to have this. Please enter me in the contest. Thank you! :)

  3. Hey Salena, So glad you came by and entered :) Isn't Jenna amazing?!

  4. Sounds like a book I would like to share with the children in my life. Thank you for the opportunity to enter this give away. :-)

  5. My grandson would love your story, Jenna! I think it is just great that you are using your writing talents, at your age, to earn a little income. Beats working at McDonald's any day, right?

  6. Hi Deanna! It does look good, doesn't it? Glad you came by and entered.

  7. Hey Sarah! So glad you stopped in and entered :) I think it's great that Jenna persevered and is realizing her dream!

  8. Would really like this for my grandson, thank you for the chance to win it.

  9. This looks like a very fun book that my grand kids would enjoy reading. Right now, the whole family is in the process of reading books together in the evenings. My son is constantly watching for what next book they are going to read. To think... my oldest granddaughter is just 3 years younger than you!! She just loves books and what fun to hear her read aloud, she puts emphasis on words, laughing as the characters laugh and such. We are going to their house for Christmas. If I win the book, I'd have it sent to their house in Georgia so we could all read it together while we are there. How fun would it be to tell Sony you are just 3 years older than her. Who knows what she will decide to do next...

  10. Hi Pam, I know you'll have a great time with them at Christmas :)

  11. Hi Wendy, It does look like something a little boy would enjoy reading!


I am so delighted that you've taken time to come by and comment. Blessings for a joy-filled day!

1 Corinthians 1:3 ~ Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.