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Where Are They Now? – The Dreamweavers (Class of 2014)

Welcome to Week Three of our eight week series: The Golden Heart Finalists, Where Are They Now?  Every year we interview the new Golden Heart class, but lately we’ve been wondering what they’ve been up to and so this series was born.  So far we’ve caught up with the Dragonflies and Unsinkables, and this week we’re shining a light on the Dreamweavers!

In 2014, the RWA National Conference was in San Antonio and in March of that year the Dreamweavers got the call to come to the Riverwalk for their chance to bring their dreams to reality. Now let’s see what’s happened to them in the three and a half years since!

(All of the information was voluntarily provided by the finalists themselves – and if you are a Golden Heart finalist from 2014 and you missed our call to arms, please post your own update in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!)

The Dreamweavers of 2014, Where Are They Now…

Fifteen of the Dreamweavers responded to our call and all of them described their Golden Heart class as still being active as a group.  Roughly half of those surveyed finaled in other years as well, but chose to be included as Dreamweavers.  All still writing in the genre they finaled in, though half are also writing in other genres.  Fourteen are currently published with a variety of publishers (just look at all these Dreamweaver books!) and the fifteenth is actively pursuing publication. 

Check Out These Dreamweaver Releases!

Also, don’t miss the

upcoming release

The Unseducible Earl

by Sheri Humphreys!

The Dreamweavers include multiple RITA finalists, a RITA winner and NYT bestselling YA author, a Christian fiction author, as well as several who have quit their day jobs.  Quite a list of accomplishments!

They’re dreaming big, and the Golden Heart brought them together, but don’t take it from me, let’s hear from the finalists themselves.

How did the Golden Heart impact your writing journey?

As two-time finalist (2013, 2014) Amy Patrick (also writing as Amy DeLuca) said, “There’s no measuring it! Becoming a finalist empowered me to attend my first RWA conference, connected me with some of my best friends and biggest supporters in my publishing endeavors, and made me feel like a “real writer” who could actually do this thing!”

Carrie Padgett said, “It was the needed boost to keep me persevering.”

Kristi Ann Hunter calls the Golden Heart’s impact “Huge. My Golden Heart final was what actually got the attention of my editor.”

Shelly Alexander agrees, “It’s the reason I got published.”

Sharon Wray (GH finalist 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014*, 2015) explains, “Having eight finals in six years helped me get an agent and helped me sell to Sourcebooks in a genre that wasn’t selling a lot of books traditionally. The GH kept me going when I wanted to quit and to this day my classes teach me what I still need to learn.”

“I think that the Golden Heart got me the notice of both my agent and my editor,” said two-time finalist (2014, 2015) Marnee Blake. “I had a deal within a year of finaling, with that same manuscript.”

Four-time finalist (2014, 2013, 2011, 2010) Nan Dixon said, “I think that the Golden Heart was my path to securing my agent, Laura Bradford, and my writing contract.”  But it wasn’t just the career advancement, it was the sisterhood.  She goes on, “I think my Golden Heart sisters, especially the Lucky 13s and Dreamweavers – are fabulous!”

“The Golden Heart was instrumental in my path to publication,” says RITA winner and two-time GH finalist (2012, 2014) Pintip Dunn.  “One of my editors was one of my Golden Heart judges, and she made an offer on my finaling manuscript. My other editor knew who I was because of this contest, and I believed she read my manuscript more quickly as a result.”

As Jessica Ruddick (also writing as Jessica Linden) said, “It helped me get my first contract, which led to signing with my agent.”

“The Golden Heart connected me with a core group of business-minded writers and helped me acquire an agent,” said two-time finalist (2014, 2016) McCall Hoyle, going on to explain, “Winning the Golden Heart will always rank as one of my greatest writing accomplishments. It was the springboard that moved me from amateur to professional writing.”

Sarah Andre said the Golden Heart gave her “Networking and name recognition.” And explained that “The 2014 Golden Heart nominated novel ended up being the 2017 RITA nominated novel (I changed titles before self pubbing.)”

For two time finalists (2012, 2014) Sheri Humphreys “The biggest impact has been my continuing association with the other finalists.”

“The connections made were priceless!!” agreed Laura Trentham.

Shelly Chalmers echoed the sentiment. “More than anything,” she said, “it gave me a writing community I cherish, true sisters who stand with each other, good and bad. They’ve kept me going as we cheer each other on, and the level of perseverance I’ve seen among GH finalists is incredible and inspiring.  The more GH finalists I’ve met (within and outside of my class) the more I’ve come to recognize what a unique group this is, and I’m very proud to be counted in that number.”

According to Sourcebooks author Asa Maria Bradley, “I wouldn’t be where I’m at without the Golden Heart final. My manuscript was already out on submission with agents and editors, and I’d had two “revise and resubmit” invites before I finaled. But once that announcement went out, the publishers and the agents moved super fast and I was contracted before that year’s RWA meeting. 🙂 And the Dreamweavers have provided my biggest support, inspiration, and shoulders to cry on during this crazy ride. One of the happiest moments during my writing career so far was when I was a 2016 RITA finalist together with 3 of my fellow Dreamweavers. There was so much joy for us from the whole group.” 

On the future of the Golden Heart, she adds, “I don’t think I would be where I am in my career without the support of my Golden Heart class and The Golden Heart network. There is something so amazing to have this large group of talented amazing writers to turn to whenever I have questions or need support or inspiration. I know that the contest has had lower submissions in the last few years and that RWA is discussing how to revitalize the contest and/or whether it should still be around. I really, really urge all past finalists to advocate for us to keep the contest. You have had such a huge impact on my writing successes and I want that for future writers too.”

I think many of the finalists would wholeheartedly agree, but regardless of what comes next for the Golden Heart contest, we want to know…

What’s next for the Dreamweavers?

Sarah Andre is “continuing with Indie.” 

While Marnee Blake says, “I’m still writing. :)” 

McCall Hoyle “hope[s] to continue publishing traditionally.”  And Sharon Wray plans to “Continue writing romantic suspense for sourcebooks and also sell my YA books.”

Nan Dixon says, “I have 2 more books in the contract. Then I will determine, with the help of my fabulous agent, what is next.”

Sheri Humphreys is looking to “Transition to traditional NY publisher.”

And Pintip Dunn says “I hope to continue writing and publishing for a very long time!”

Asa Maria Bradley is “finishing up the third book in the series that was launched by my Golden Heart finalist that then became a RITA double finalist. And I’m out on submission with a fantasy romance series. And I’m working on a joint project together with another writer from my publisher where we write in the same world, but separate connected novellas.”

Carrie Padgett says, “I’ll be indie publishing a trio of novellas this fall or winter. If my novel hasn’t sold by the time the last novella is out, I’ll go ahead and indie publish my series as well.”

And Kristi Ann Hunter “just signed two more contracts with my publisher. One for a second series and one for a novella collection.”

Shelly Alexander plans to “Continue with Montlake, continue self pubbing, I’d love to sign to NY eventually just to get it out of my system., but I’ve had to turn down interest from them due to my packed writing schedule. And I’d love to eventually do a project with other authors.”

Shelly Chalmers says, “My first book, independently published, comes out in October, and I’m working on that series while also still hoping to become a hybrid author with another series.”

“I plan to continue self-publishing (I’ll never stop– it’s too good!),” says Amy Patrick, who also writes as Amy DeLuca. “I also intend to publish traditionally at least once.”

Laura Trentham plans to “Hopefully, continue to write contemporary romances/women’s fiction for traditional pub, but self pub my historical romances and maybe some sexier contemporaries.”

And Jessica Ruddick, who also writes as Jessica Linden, wants “to make what I consider a living income.”

That is the dream.  To make a living doing what we love.  Thank you, Dreamweavers, for sharing your dreams with us today!  And remember, if you’re a Dreamweaver, we’d love to hear more about where you are now in the comments today!

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