What can you tell readers about your early writing days?
Let me first say that I have always been a writer—even before middle school. Writing has always been something important to me, published or not. But, as an adult, I set my eye toward publication. When my children were young, I would go through periods of trying to become traditionally published. I’d had success (under another name) with poetry, short stories, academic writing, and journalism, but being published as a novelist continued to elude me. I would throw the feelers out there (query letters with synopses) every once in a while when I would finish writing and revising a book to my satisfaction. I got a lot of nice rejections. Then life would take over and the need to be published would go on the back burner. I never stopped writing, though, because it’s a compulsion. I would feel the burning desire to write and I’d get something done and start sending out queries again…and receiving rejections along with them. Some were form rejections, but many were personal, and one I remember in particular said I had a strong writing voice and a great story, but it wasn’t quite what they were looking for. I felt like, in the writing world, I was always the bridesmaid and never the bride. But I couldn’t and didn’t stop writing. I just stopped writing query letters. Then, in late 2012, a very close friend of mine (Stacy Gail, an author with Samhain and Carina Press who now also has a few indie publications under her belt) landed a publishing contract. If you think I write a lot, you should meet Stacy. She puts me to shame. She and I were chatting as we often do, and I felt the burning desire to submit to a publisher again. I was working on my most current compulsion (Tangled Web) and had no intention of doing anything with it; I just had to get it out of my head and onto paper. Talking to Stacy, though, I got the itch again. Sure, I had to write; it was in my blood, after all, but writers also want to be read. I could have gone my whole life with all those manuscripts in my trunk, but I wanted more. By early spring, I had my manuscript with beta readers and I was drafting another query letter (ugh! I seriously hate those damned things!). Then Stacy mentioned a successful woman by the name of Amanda Hocking (perhaps you’ve heard of her?), and the rest is history. After doing some research, I published Tangled Web on Amazon for the Kindle in April of 2011…and the rest, as they say, is history.
If you have any questions for me, just ask! I’ll answer them in a future Sunday Q&A!