Cami Checketts is a wife, mother of four boys, exercise scientist, and author. When she isn't refereeing wrestling matches or cleaning up magic potions, she enjoys reading, running, and strength training.
Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Cami: After my second baby I was dealing with postpartum depression and sleeping a lot. My mom woke me up from a nap and told me, "You need a hobby. You should write a book." I started writing that afternoon. Haven't had time for a nap since.
Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?
Cami: I graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. Not much connection to writing, but it's worked well as I write health and fitness articles for a few online magazines. As far as writing education, I learned the basics at college, but really learned how to write through workshops, conferences, critique groups, books on writing, and years and years of trying to improve.
Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?
Cami: When I first have a nightmare about a new character I fall in love with that character and just have to write their story. For me the characters really tell their own stories, I just get to experience it with them.
Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Cami: Long and very boring. I cried through many rejection letters then got toughened and decided I didn't care what they thought, I was going to make it. Haven't really made it yet, but I have enjoyed a few book releases.
Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Cami: At first the rejection was really tough, my poor husband didn't know how to deal with it! I deal with it by focusing on what matters most - my husband and four boys. I love to write but if I never get another book out I still have my beautiful family and that's all I really need.
Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?
Cami: (Laughing) I used to write in the morning when all the boys were at school but you throw a new baby in and let's just say I have rock hard biceps from toting my 20lb 5mo around all day. Right now I just fit writing in whenever my husband or 12yo can help me, but the baby will grow up someday and then I'll be productive (and crying about him growing up).
Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Cami: I have wonderful nightmares. If they scare me and make a little bit of sense, I write about them.
Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book The Sister Pact.
The Sister Pact
Savannah Compton is devastated when her sister and best friend, Allison, falls into a coma after a tragic accident. Or was it an accident? Even with a charming and handsome detective at her side, it seems Savannah may never discover the truth. But if she doesn’t her family could be in even more danger. And Savannah’s past holds its own secrets that could change everything.
Deirdra: I noticed that you are also a exercise scientist. How does physical fitness and nutrition affect writing?
Cami: Good nutrition and fitness optimize your brain's learning capacity, concentration, and mood. Plus it's been proven that being fit increases your chance of success in whatever career your working in. For me, when I exercise my imagination goes crazy and I get wonderful ideas.
Deirdra: What is your favorite physical fitness activity?
Cami: Strength training, best results for time invested and I have to be strong to keep up with my boys.
Deirdra: What advice would you have for authors who don’t think physical fitness is important to them because their job is relatively stationary and not physically demanding?
Cami: Not only will fitness help your brain function better it will also prevent a myraid of diseases that can cause dementia or take you away from your writing in other ways. I think most writers are short on time and that's why they don't fit in fitness, but you don't have to hit the gym for an hour to be fit. Lift weights or use resistance tubing while you watch television, dance around the house with your children, when you get stuck on a manuscript go for a walk, you'll be amazed at how your brain will open up.
Deirdra: How many beta readers do you have review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?
Cami: At least three read the entire manuscript and then I do sections with my critique group.
Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
Cami: Entertained, of course, but also I hope they'll see the heroine rising above her challenges and be encouraged that they even though we all go through tough things we can succeed if we have faith.
Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Cami: I just write. I love seeing what happens as the story unfolds.
Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Cami: I usually don't have time for writer's block. I've got all these ideas and scenes in my head so when I get a minute it's a relief to get them down before I forget them (I'm getting old!).
Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Cami: I have four cute boys wrestling and hurling insults at each other in the background. Really stimulates the brain cells.
Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Cami: My mom. She's always believed in me.
Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Cami: Knowing them personally (at least in my head). I keep expecting to meet one of my characters at the grocery store.
Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?
Cami: Davis Bunn, Susan May Warren, Richard Paul Evans, Eva Ibbotson. I just love the way they use words and their characters always touch me.
Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Cami: Ice cream, but I had to stop that because I was mindlessly pounding calories. Now I go with Extra Gum, watermelon's a favorite.
Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Cami: Being a Mom, running, strength training, swimming.
Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Cami: Just the usual - don't give up!
Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Cami: A story about a free-love colony hidden in the Wasatch Mountains. A young mom discovers the colony and has to fight to save her children.
Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Deseret Book - http://deseretbook.com/Sister-Pact-Cami-Checketts/i/5030214
Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Cami: Thank you, Deirdra for interviewing me on your blog and thank you to the readers for taking the time to read this interview. I know everyone is crazy busy these days and it means a lot when someone invests time in finding out about a new author. I wish you all much happiness and success in achieving your dreams.