By the time I sold my first book, I’d already had it critiqued many times and few editorial changes were needed. With my second book, I had one person critique the first chapter and the publisher/editor made the other changes. I think we went back and forth six times before it was ready for a contract. I’ve heard this happens to authors when the second submission isn’t as finely tuned as the first and the agent or editor likes the story enough to spend time making the story work. I was lucky.
The first sale was surreal. The second had so many changes that over time I realized that it would sell and I was prepared for the good news. The third contract was offered by email about three weeks after I’d submitted it. She didn’t say please change blah, add blah. Take out blah, blah. It was just, “I want to offer you a contract…” I was caught off guard and squealed with delight.
I immediately wondered if perhaps my first attempt at another genre besides contemporary (a historical novella) was my fit, what I should have been writing all along. Just maybe I’d finally found my true calling. Why yes, of course. But when I told my brother-in-law about my new revelation, he said something perhaps more realistic. He said that he’s been a carpenter for many years. His first attempt at building wasn’t remarkable compared to what he could do now. “I imagine it is the same for you,” he said. He’s right you know; practice makes perfect.
I know for sure that I’ve written 6 1/2 manuscripts and I should get better along the way. I’ve learned from critique partners, conferences, blogs, books on the craft, reading how others put words on the page. Time, plus all of this, makes me a better writer. I suppose it is more “romantic” to think that I’m only better because I’m called to do a particular work.
All but one of the stories I write take place in the mountains of Northeast Oregon, an area rich in gold mining history. My third book, I mentioned above, is called WANTING MOORE and it goes like this:
Independent beyond what’s good for her, Isabella Moore leaves her brothers and parents in Prairie City in search of her true calling. Traveling to Haines, Oregon, by way of the historic Bourne-Haines Stage Road, she runs across the type of people from whom she’d been sheltered, leading to an accident and a man she’d only dreamed about.
Blacksmith Gabriel Stone saw enough of death during the Civil War to last him a lifetime. To him, Isabella is a broken wildflower in need of his care-but caring for her may bring back unwanted memories of this former life as a doctor. And dare he entrust his heart to a woman filled with ideas of gold mining and adventure?
They were lost until love put them back on the right path.