As part of her tour for the fantastic Lone Star Legend, Gwen Zepeda took the time to answer my query about her experience of going from blogger to published author and how that may have inspired her for Lone Star Legend.
Like a lot of you guys online, I was a failed author before I became a blogger. I had plenty of rejection slips under my belt for short stories and magazine articles I’d written, and I only started blogging as a hobby and to get stuff off my chest – not because I thought it might one day lead to a real writing career.
I started my personal blog, Gwenworld.com, in 1997. Back then, like a lot of bloggers, I learned the hard way that nothing is really anonymous or private online and that I had to be careful about what I posted. I set a rule for myself: Never say anything online that I wouldn’t want the whole world to see. But at the same time, I saw a lot of other bloggers write really personal stuff that I’d rather die than put online, and I watched the consequences. Like a lot of writers, I’ve been tempted to start an “anonymous” blog and really let loose with my negative feelings, so I wanted to explore, through Sandy S’s character in Lone Star Legend, what it feels like to do that. Obviously, though, since I’m still blogging, I found some good things about it, too, and I let Sandy experience those aspects, too.
One of the earliest benefits of starting my blog was that I got invited to become one of the first staff writers for TelevisionWithoutPity.com. They paid me to write long recaps that made fun of various television shows. I liked writing for the site, but I always felt bad about making fun of the TV actors because I’d constantly imagine how they’d feel if they read our site. Well, Television Without Pity got really popular, and suddenly the site’s owners and staff writers became (kind of) famous. (This was back in the Internet Medieval Age, in the early 2000s.) And then the readers started talking about us the way we talked about the celebrities – as if we weren’t human beings and would never get our feelings hurt by their comments. And that shocked me and made me think about my career in new ways. So it was fun to put my main character, Sandy, through the same experience and see how she’d deal with it.