So, as I was saying yesterday, things changed in my leisure and writing life at the end of 2003. That’s when I signed up for a novel-writing class at our Senior Center. The instructor was Brian Kaufman, a local author traditionally published by a small Northern Colorado press. After the class was over, several of us formed a critique group which is still in existence today. One original member has left us to work on a nonfiction book, and the person who joined us was…tada…Brian Kaufman.
About that same time, I hurt my knee while bowling. That sidelined me for many months. What to do with the time? I had started writing a mystery novel for the class, so I wrote the rest of The Prairie Grass Murders in about six months. After a couple of revisions, I went to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference in 2004 and pitched the book to a New York agent.
She shot me down.
I did two things after I recovered from that little humiliation. First, I wrote a new novel called Wishing Caswell Dead, which is historical fiction about a thirteen-year-old girl who survives in spite of the evil that threatens her future. Then I went back and polished The Prairie Grass Murders so I could take it back to Colorado Gold in 2005. I signed up for a workshop with an editor and author, Denise Dietz, the angel who is my editor today.
Once in a while we make random choices for random reasons and magic happens.
After following Deni’s suggestions to improve my novel, I submitted the manuscript and Five Star bought it. There’s a lot more to the submission, acceptance, contract, editing, copy-editing, and marketing process, but we’ll save that for another day.
The point is this: You can’t ever give up. If you want it sooner rather than later, you’ll set different priorities, you’ll work harder, you’ll give up more sleep. But you can’t ever give up.