How Did I Get Here? – Part 1

Originally posted: Tuesday, 1 May 2007

I’ve always wanted to be a murder mystery writer. From the age of 12, since I realized one day that people wrote the books I was enthralled with, and maybe I could, too, it has been my dream, my most fervent desire.

And so, at a certain point – I waited too long considering how much I wanted to do it, but that’s just me – I wrote. And wrote. And wrote some more, and then submitted, and submitted, and got rejected. Many times. I wrote another mystery, and it was rejected too. And then I wrote another mystery and got… guess what? Rejected!

What a waste of time! Or… no, not at all a waste of time. I learned a lot with every book I wrote, and got better. I began to understand the basics of constructing a plot, and I voraciously read writing books. I took the Writer’s Market out of the library so many times I may as well have kept it at home.

And then one day I bought a book at a UBS, a Regency romance, probably something by Mary Balogh or Carla Kelly. I’ve always loved Jane Austen and knew I’d like the setting, but what I didn’t realize then was, I would fall in loooove with romance novels! And I read more, hundreds more. I absorbed them like a sponge soaking up water.

One day – duh! – it struck me: maybe I could write one!

And so I started. Oddly enough – okay, not so oddly – it started out as a Regency romance-slash-murder mystery. But then I realized the murder mystery part was just getting in the way of the story I really wanted to tell, the love story of two unlikely people thrown together (an Irish lord – I had just read Maria Edgeworth’s The Absentee – and a plain spinster) who find love against all odds. Isn’t that the essence of most romances?

It so happened that in the Writer’s Digest Magazine was an ad from a small publisher in New York looking for manuscripts with plus-sized heroines. Well, my manuscript didn’t have a plus-sized heroine, but I knew I could rewrite it with that slant, and that’s what I did. I sent it to her, held my breath, and got a letter back offering me a contract.

A contract! From a New York publisher! Okay, so she was in Tarrytown, New York, not Manhattan, but still… New York! And so then…

But no… that’s enough, for now. I will tell you what happened next, my misadventures finding an agent, the comical story of my first little toddler (novel) and what happened from there. Some of it is funny, and some frustrating. I’m long-winded, and have an acute case of Verbal Diarrhea or Editor’s Complaint, but I’ll try to be brief!

‘Til then… keep on reading!

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