The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 1, 2013

Local writer seeing success with books

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Jamie McGuire has been writing since 2009, and her new book is expected to debut on the New York Times bestseller list when it comes out today.

McGuire’s latest book, “Walking Disaster,” is not a sequel, but a companion novel to her previous work “Beautiful Disaster,” which also was on the New York Times bestseller list.

“Walking Disaster” is the same story as “Beautiful Disaster,” but told from the male point of view. McGuire said she does not seem to have trouble writing from the male point of view because she has never been “girlie.”

McGuire was an X-ray technology student at Autry Technology Center. Her friend was writing a blog when she told a friend about an idea for a book. The friend said, “Write it.”

Her first book, “Providence,” was self-published. While writing “Providence," she had the idea for “Beautiful Disaster," which was written for her friends to read.

She is having a launch party for “Walking Disaster” at 6 tonight at Hastings in Sunset Plaza. She will leave on a national book tour the next day, starting in Houston, to be followed by an international book tour in June. Her books have been translated into 30 languages.

McGuire said writing has become a lucrative profession for her.

The family lives in a new custom home in Enid, which was built from the proceeds of her books. McGuire, whose full name is Jamie McGuire-Washburn, is married to Jeff Washburn, a native of Waukomis.

McGuire said he encouraged her to write and showed interest in it, while some others — including her advisers — told her to concentrate on her studies, because she would never make any money as a writer.

McGuire did, though, signing a two-book deal with Atria, a division of Simon and Schuster.

McGuire said self-publishing eventually would make more money than traditional publishing, but the difference is traditional publishing puts books on shelves — and with traditional publishing, an author receives an advance.

Self-publishing has become respectable in the past few years, McGuire said. When she began, there were only a few self-publishing authors. An author uploads his or her book to a selected company and receives 70 percent of the book sales. The leading market is Amazon, but Target is the leading seller of her paperback books.

She wrote “Providence” in 11 weeks, edited by her high school English teacher. “Beautiful Disaster” took seven weeks to write, and “Walking Disaster” took seven months. She had graduated X-ray school and was working part time.

She is currently working on a book titled “Red Hill.” She began in December and is nearly finished.

“Providence” is classified as young adult, for audiences 12 and above. It is a paranormal romance. She classified the “Disaster” books as new adult: too old for a 15-year-old, but aimed more at the 17 and older category. The “Disaster” books contain some adult content, details of sexual encounters and harsher language.

McGuire described her books as character-driven, but said all have an element of romance. McGuire’s favorite author is Stephanie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series. McGuire can’t imagine doing anything else.

“I can’t imagine it. I listen to music and start typing,” she said.

McGuire now has three children, the youngest of which is 6 months old. She promised her husband and herself she would take a year off after the baby was born. However, within three months, she felt she had to return to writing. She does not write every day, but when she does, it is usually late at night, when everyone else is asleep and she is at her most creative.

McGuire said she never pictured herself as a writer.

“I thought writers were people who lived in New York City and (were) Ivy League graduates,” she said.

McGuire said writing has done well for her family, who get to do everything they dreamed about, but she admits timing and luck had a lot to do with her success.

She enjoys writing and being a good storyteller.

"Readers come from all walks of life,” she said.

She said her writing has grown, and it is a learning process that requires practice.

McGuire has had some help along the way. She said Dr. Ross Vanhooser was encouraging to her and believed in her, and offered to pay for the first book to be published.

She said one of her best moments was writing him the check to pay him back.