Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interview with Terry Lynn Johnson, author of DOGSLED DREAMS

Today we have the very nice Terry Lynn Johnson visiting on my blog. Welcome, Terry, and thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about the writing and publishing of Dogsled Dreams. And at the end is the summary of Terry's promotional campaign so don't miss that.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing magazine articles a few years ago. I have several non-fiction articles published in outdoor magazines such as Adventure Kayak, as well as being a regular contributor to Dogs In Canada Magazine. Two years ago, I tackled my first novel and was lucky to find a publisher quite quickly--4RV Publishing.

Lucky you! Or should I say "talented you"!! Is Dogsled Dreams your first published book?
Yes, Dogsled Dreams is my debut novel. My second one is on sub right now with my agent, Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. It is also a dogsledding adventure story.

How do you fit writing into your routine of work, family, book promotion, etc?
Sometimes, this is difficult. I work full time, but I have a very supportive family. I don't write every day, but when I get on a roll, I tend to write for long periods of time. Unfortunately, my dog doesn't like that too much since our hiking time is greatly reduced.

Well, you must make time for hiking with your dog, as clearly he gives you story ideas! What was the time frame like, from editing to publication?
The turn around time was speedy in publishing terms. It took me a month to write my first draft of Dogsled Dreams, then another month to finish polishing. I submitted it to twelve small presses, but received rejections or no responses. I then took another look at it, and revised my first chapter again. The next round of submissions I got a contract within six weeks. It took another year from that time to the release date - three months of that time spent working with the editor. 

Thanks Terry, this is really interesting. I am wondering a few more things if you don't mind. When did you get your agent?
After I got my contract for Dogsled Dreams, I wrote my second book, ICE DOGS, and really fell in love with it. I submitted it to a handful of agents, and received three responses within an hour of submitting! I signed with my agent four weeks later.

Wow, that is incredible! So maybe dogsledding stories are the new vampires? What kinds of marketing are you and your publisher doing for Dogsled Dreams? (Pay attention to this list, people)
My publicist, Kirsten Cappy of Curious City, has been very creative in her marketing ideas. So far, this is our list:
1. developed a booklet with the first chapter of Dogsled Dreams, jr. musher contest announcement, and a few reviews, and sent 1500 to many dogsled races throughout Canada and the States for distribution.
2. librarian listserve giveaway of Dogsled Dreams

3. junior musher video contest to be revealed on my website February 1, 2011. Winner will be voted on by teachers and readers. Hope to generate much interest!
4. press release distribution, sell-sheet distribution to bookstores and libraries
5. facebook ad campaign
6. other  - blog tour, goodreads giveaway, book signing events at dogsled races, school visits, library readings, book trailer, bookmarks, Skype visits with classrooms via the Iditarod Education Department

You can learn more about Terry and her books at  and you can purchase DOGSLED DREAMS through the following links:


Barnes and Noble (for Canadians)

Thanks for stopping by, Terry! I wish you much success and may all your dogsled dreams come true.


  1. A lively interview, Karen! Probably because you and Terry are both lively people/writers. I told Terry her book was on my list. I now have the money to buy it, so I'm heading over to
    Ann Best, Author

  2. It sounds very interesting! Because it's about a subject I know nothing about, I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks to both of you...

  3. Great interview! Man, she is a fast writer. That's awesome.

  4. Amazing interview. Learning so much about agents and publishing houses. I love Terry Lynn and I'm glad that others found love for her as well!!! Can't wait to purchase her book!

  5. Karen, wonderful interview, and a great subject.

  6. This was a great interview! It was especially interesting to see that you got a contract so quickly after revising the first chapter...that just goes to show us (once again) how important those first pages are. The list of marketing techniques was fun to read too--looks like you've got a lot of fun things to look forward to (watching the Junior Musher videos will be a blast).

    Thanks Terry and Karen!

  7. Wow, things happened lightning fast for Terry! I love the variety in the marketing campaign, and yet it all ties together beautifully. Thanks for this great interview!

  8. Sounds AWESOME! It's in my TBR pile! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Terry, that was fast! cool that you got an agent after the first book was already contracted. Think that helped?

  10. Great interview.
    Great ideas about promotion.
    Thanks Terry and Karen.

  11. Cool interview! I'm going to keep in mind some of those unique ideas for marketing. I have in mind of my own.

  12. thank you so much, everyone for you awesome comments! Thanks for having me, Karen. I'm honoured to be on your blog!
    Alex - I actually don't think it helped to have a conract already before I got my agent. For one thing, she was mostly interested in the project I sent her, and two, unless you're on the NY Times best seller list, it's not that big a deal to already be published. In fact, I've heard editors like it better if you're a debut author.

  13. Wonderful interview, thank you KarenG and Terry Lynn Johnson! I love that Terry is obviously writing about her passion for dogs and dogsleding!! I wish her all the best with ther books!! Take care

  14. Great interview. I'm amazed at the writing and revising in two months. That's awesome. Also, I want to pet those puppies in your picture. So cute.

  15. Congratulations Terry Lynn! Thanks for sharing your story.

  16. okay - since everyone is commenting on how fast I write, I feel the need to say, I spend many many days percolating. I don't write for long stretches, then, suddenly, I'm seized with it and sit down for marathon periods of time. Once, I spent 23 straight hours writing. Slept for 6, then back for another 19 straight hours. I would NOT recommend this technique! Heh heh!

  17. Thanks for sharing that with us. I was wondering, is Dogsled dreams available in the UK? It's the sort of book my daughter would love.

  18. You had me at "dogsled." Will definitely be adding to my goodreads TBR. Best of luck with the promo! Sounds like a very intriguing book.

  19. Kate, I don't think it will be in bookstores in the UK. But it's available on Amazon. Can you order from there?

  20. Great interview Karen! I'm getting Terry's book (I'm actually going to use it in my ya book class for one of my picks)! So excited to read it!

  21. Good interview, Karen. You're a natural. I'm interested in dog sledding. Lots of mushers in Montana. It takes soooo much work to train a sled team. I've watched those dogs work and boy, do they want to work. Just like my Cody who is a herding dog.... she could work all day and never get distracted. I love working dogs. I'll look up Terry's book. Thanks

  22. Go Terry go!
    Those are some great marketing ideas, too.

  23. "Coming Down The Mountain" has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope you like the image I featured, and I hope this helps to attract many new visitors here.

  24. That's great you found succcess so quickly for ICE DOGS. Congrats! and wishing you the best success.!