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Spotlight on: Winnie Griggs

© Joanne Rock, 2000

This month's spotlight is a salute to our hard working NOLA Secretary, Winnie Griggs, who sold her first book to Leisure in May. For the last five years, Winnie has lent her quiet charm to our boisterous NOLA group, encouraging us in our writing and working tirelessly to keep our chapter organized. In appreciation for all the months she has kept NOLA running smoothly, why not remember to congratulate her again on her sale!

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading Winnie's writing yet, you're in for a treat this February when her book hits the shelves. Here's a quick preview:

To Lucy Ames, a fiercely proud Texan who's kept her chin firmly tilted up through years of small town gossip, what matters most is building a decent life for her son, Toby.
To Reed Wilder, the staid businessman son of a flamboyant sea captain, what matters most is completing his quest to bring home his long lost nephew, no matter what the cost.
But when these two are thrown together and must chose between their goals and their hearts, they learn that it's the heart that ultimately dictates WHAT MATTERS MOST.

According to Winnie, her sale news was a big surprise, and The Call was a little unorthodox. "The evening of May 24th I picked up a message from my agent, Carolyn Grayson, indicating she needed to speak to me. Carolyn did a great job of not giving anything away in her tone or message, so I assumed she only had a routine matter to discuss with me. It was the next day before I was able to contact her. When she gave me the news that Leisure had made an offer on WHAT MATTERS MOST it took me several heartbeats to realize what she'd said - in fact I had to ask whether or not I'd understood correctly. I haven't come down from the clouds since!"

WHAT MATTERS MOST is the second of Winnie's completed romance manuscripts, but she's been writing since girlhood. "I've always had stories inside me," Winnie says, "though they aren't all romances. But romances have always been my favorite reading material. The power and promise of a happily-ever-after ending is an irresistible lure."

The authors that Winnie credits for hooking her into romance during her high school years include Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Currently, her favorites include Patricia Potter, Pamela Morsi, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, Teresa Medeiros and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

In early 1993 Winnie bought a home computer and decided to take the plunge to write a romance novel. By the end of 1994 she had completed her first manuscript. Since then, she has completed two more books and has started a fourth, despite a full time job aside from writing. She ascribes her ability to produce pages to the "writerly instinct"-that call to create we've all experienced. "No matter how hectic the schedule," Winnie says, "a person will always find snatches of time to accomplish those things that are important to him or her. For myself, I find that time on airplanes, in hotels, on lunch hours, and at night after the house quiets down."

Luckily, Winnie doesn't need to invest much more time with the manuscript she just sold. Leisure has accepted it with no revisions other than an epilogue that Winnie has already added. Now she is preparing the bio and front matter for the book. The cover flat and galleys are scheduled to arrive in 1-1/2 to 2 months.

Of course, she is already knee deep in her next project. "I am currently nine chapters into my new manuscript," says Winnie. "It's tentatively titled COURTING TROUBLE and is set in the 1890's just outside of St. Louis. It's a twist on a marriage of convenience story - you might say it has more of an engagement of convenience story line. It has a slightly lighter tone than WHAT MATTERS MOST and I'm having lots of fun with it."


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