Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18thAnnual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.
Her nine titles are with Heartsong Presents and she’s contracted for six more. Her books are available at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, harlequin.com, and barbourbooks.com. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/.
Changing Careers — in Real Life and in Fiction
by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
When I was in my thirties, I had a mid-life crisis. Not the kind where I did anything crazy. But after working as a hairdresser for ten years, a loan clerk at a bank for two years, and various corporate office positions at a fragrance company for five years, I wondered if this was it. Had I fulfilled my potential? Would I always work in some office for someone else?
During this time, it hit me, I wanted to be an interior decorator. I’ve enjoyed decorating my house for years and several visitors have told me I should go professional. But I didn’t want to move. I live in a tiny community. Ten miles away is a city of 7,000, but this is rural Arkansas. Interior decorators aren’t in high demand.
Around that time, my friend moved to Memphis to be closer to family and started her own interior decorating business. She racked up clients fast and did pretty well. I envied her. But then we talked and she told me what hard work it is and that she was halfway doing construction projects. She didn’t stick with it long, but it helped me realize that interior decorating was probably a lot like being a hairdresser. It seems glamorous, but it’s really a lot of hard work.
Over the next several months, I realized what I really wanted to be was a writer. And a stay at home mom. Over the next two years, I wrote five books and got over two hundred rejections. In 2001, my dream came true, I had our son, quit my job, and concentrated on writing. I only completed two more books in the next three years as my son was my main focus, but once he started pre-school part time, my window of writing opportunity expanded.
Finally, after 9 1/2 years, I got published. And I realized, I can try whatever career I want to through my heroines. I’ve been:
An apartment manager who dabbled in interior decorating
An advertising exec
A stay at home mom/horse trainer
A rodeo queen/blingy western clothing store owner
The heroine in my latest release, Rodeo Song is an interior decorator who owns a decor store in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
I had so much fun as my heroine redecorated the hero’s house—picking paint swatches, tile, and fabrics was right up my alley. I googled Texas themed decor and took pictures of tile at Lowe’s. I giggled when the Lowe’s employee asked if he could help me—imagining what he’d say if I told him I’m trying to figure what kind of tile to put my hero’s house.
As my heroine railed against having to decorate with deer antler curtain rods and animal hide, longing for silks and satins, I was right there with her since our house is half and half. My son’s room, his bathroom, and my husband’s office have rustic decor with antlers, fishing lures, and log furniture. The rest of the house is flowery with moire curtains, pastels, and wingback chairs. My husband is constantly wanting to redo the whole house rustic style.
My next heroine works in the interior decorating store, but she gets to fulfill her dream of being a clothing designer. Then I get to be a school nurse, a veterinarian, own a jewelry store, be a wedding planner, and own a bed & breakfast.
This writing thing is perfect for me. If I get tired of one career, I just hop into the next one.
ME: Thank you for a great post, Shannon. I’d never thought of the possibilities of changing careers via fiction, most of my heroines are forced into marriage early on due to circumstances, but I will have to look into giving a few of my new ones great careers. BTW, you can come decorate my house any time you like. It could use all the help it could get because I am far from gifted in the decorating field. 🙂
More about Shannon’s book, Rodeo Song:
JENNA WENTWORTH FOUND THE MAN OF HER DREAMS
But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna’s life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer.
Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he’d be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he’s found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.
Rodeo Song is available at Amazon and other fine retailers.
Shannon has graciously agreed to do a giveaway of one print copy of Rodeo Song. One winner will be drawn using Random Name Picker next Tuesday, announced on next Wednesday’s Writer Wednesday. To enter this giveaway answer the following question in the comments. What career would you choose if money/time were no obstacle?