My guest today is Laura DiSilverio, a Colorado writer I first knew as Lila Dare, author of a beauty shop mystery series. Because we both belong to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, I spotted Laura’s new release information and asked if she would be a guest here. She has graciously agreed to tell us about her writing experience.
This Wild Ride by Laura DiSilverio, Guest Blogger
Someone—probably Shakespeare, because he apparently said everything worth saying from the Triassic period through the new millennium—once said that the course of true love never did run smooth. I’m here to attest that the saying holds true for publication as well: “The path to publication never did run smooth.” Or straight. Many a pothole, bump, u-turn and tangent lay between the college-age me who completed her first manuscript waaaay long ago and the forty-mumble-mumble-something-age me whose first published book appeared in stores this year.
That first manuscript, a modern romance titled “Jeweled Torment” (gag if you want to), will never see the light of day. Nor will the next novel I wrote, a Regency romance, or the third one, a police procedural mystery that was completely unburdened by any semblance of research into police procedures. My second Regency romance finally landed me an agent, but when she was unable to sell the book, I “retired” from writing for a while.
By this time, I had joined the Air Force as an intelligence officer, been stationed at five or six different bases in three different countries, and gotten engaged. I essentially quit writing for a decade to get married, have two kids, and pursue my Air Force career all the way to getting selected for promotion to full colonel. (Those would be some of the u-turns and tangents I mentioned earlier.) Then, in 2003, I had a moment of epiphany in a Seattle bookstore and decided it was time to write again. I retired from the military in late 2004 and plunked myself down in front of my computer, confident I could produce a manuscript and have a publishing contract within two years.
Well, the universe took the opportunity to teach me a little something about hubris, humility, and perseverance. It was almost five years and more than eighty rejections later before I landed a publishing contract in early 2009 with Berkley Prime Crime for the Southern Beauty Shop series I write as Lila Dare. A couple months later, my agent (not the one who’d represented my Regency twenty years earlier) sold Swift Justice to St. Martin’s Minotaur and then my mall cop series to Berkley before the end of the year. (The first Mall Cop Mystery, Die Buying, comes out in August 2011. I’m writing the second one, All Sales Fatal, as we speak.)
The top three lessons I learned are 1) Persevere, 2) Keep working on your craft to become a better writer, and 3) Persevere.
Funny thing is, the post-publication road is also defined by bumps and potholes, detours and dead ends. The life of a full-time writer is filled with deadlines, decisions about what projects to take on, the need to promote and market published books while writing new books, social media obligations, and a dozen other things. I guess I’m just not a smooth road kind of person because I love this wild ride I’m on.
Thanks so much, Laura, for being my guest today. If you’re ever up here in Northern Colorado to do a book signing, we should connect for coffee or lunch.