"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"
The phrase "show me, don't tell me" regarding creative, descriptive writing was drilled into my brain by a wonderful college professor (and it obviously stuck). Also, do your research, make your characters believable, lovable, detestable, whatever, but make them believable-- you want, really, need the reader to become emotionally attached to your characters. The same goes for your scenes and settings, they need to be realistic.
Other thoughts I would share to encourage the aspiring writer is to write, write, and write. Don't stop writing. Also, become a serious student of your craft, read and review other people's work, get involved with other writers and writing groups and organizations. An excellent example of this kind of involvement is found in one of my favorite Harvest House authors, Brandt Dodson, a gentleman with an incredibly strong, seemingly tireless, work ethic.
--Dave Bartlett, Print & Internet publicist, Harvest House