I met sweet Keli Gwyn when I first started blogging. She was the first person who ever interviewed me about writing.
Publication can happen to you!
Here she is:
1. How many manuscripts have you written, and did the one that sold feel different?
I’ve completed six historical romance manuscripts and part of a contemporary. The latter is a sorry excuse of a story that proved my “old” voice lends itself to the historicals that were my first love. I get a kick out of using words like addlepated, gewgaws, and smitten.
After I’d been writing for two years and had five completed manuscripts, I spent a year studying craft. Armed with my newfound knowledge, I took a look at my stories to see which of them showed the most promise. I loved them all, but Miles and Elenora told me theirs was the story I should pick, and I listened. I’d rewritten it once, but I knew it needed more work, so I got busy.
That rewrite proved my characters were right. Miles and Ellie’s story won several contests, earned me requests from some editors and agents, and led to my offer of representation from Rachelle Gardner. I love the story and the characters and hope readers do, too.
2. How many years have you been writing?
I’d dreamed of being a writer since I was seven, but it wasn’t until 40 years later that I dusted off that dream. In January 2006 I plopped myself down in front of my computer, full of ideas but knowing next to nothing about fiction writing. My degree is in mass communication/journalism, but creative writing is much different, as I soon learned.
3. Tell us a little about the events leading up to your first sale.
I’d love to tell you I accepted Rachelle’s offer of representation and that she sold my story right away, but I still had more to learn. Rachelle made her offer on the eve of Christmas Eve in 2009. Talk about an amazing Christmas present! I soared in the stratosphere for six glorious weeks.
And then reality returned. Rachelle called to prepare me for my first set of Revision Notes and the shocking news they contained. While she loved the beginning of the story, I’d let out the tension a quarter of the way into it. In order to fix the story, I needed to delete the final three-quarters and start over.
I spent six months rewriting the story and sent it to my critique partners, who told me the beginning and end were good but the middle was slow. Two more months of work netted me a new middle that no longer sagged. I sent the story to Rachelle and held my breath. To my surprise and delight, she said she liked it and was ready to submit it, which she did. Six weeks later we had two offers, and I got a contract for Christmas.
4. What is your biggest piece of advice to writers wanting to get published?
If I were to offer a new writer advice, I’d say three things.
• Have fun writing your first story. There will be time to learn the rules later. A realistic goal when you’re getting starting is to reach The End.
• Realize that it takes time to learn craft. Just as a doctor spends years before practicing medicine, writers need to learn how to craft a marketable story.
• Be willing to rewrite and revise. First drafts are called rough drafts for a reason. In many cases they aren’t pretty, but with work, we can transform them into beautiful stories readers will enjoy.
Encouraging advice! Keli mentioned she started writing in 2006, just as I did. And now we both have our debuts releasing within months of each other. Do you remember when you started writing for publication? How long has it been? How long do you think it will take to see your book published? And if you don't know, since Keli loves unique words, what kind of words do you like to play with?