"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"
Write. Write what you love to read. Read. Read what you love to write. It's that simple. How will you ever know if you've written a great sentence if you've never read one? Read for pleasure. Read for inspiration. Read for learning. Writers are life-long learners.
Too many aspiring writers are in love with the idea of being a writer. You have to know that you know that you know you are a writer. If you're a wannabe writer, you attend conferences, buy new pens and stationery, and talk about writing. Here's a sure-fire way to know whether you're a writer. Think about not writing. Think about how you'd feel if you never put another word down on paper. Ready to throw yourself off a bridge? Then you're a writer. Writers need to write like NASCAR drivers have a need for speed. Once you're convinced of your calling, never let anyone talk you out of it, no matter how tough it gets or how long it takes. You may not publish your first novel for twenty-five years. Can you wait that long? As others have said more eloquently, write for an audience of one. God knows the desires of your heart. He put them there.
--Barbara Scott, Senior fiction acquisitions editor, Abingdon Press