You say it took six years of submissions (and rejections!) to sell your first novel. Why did you keep going?
Why not? I wish I had the “magic” formula for how long it takes to sell, to make a bestseller list, to write the best story ever. The answer is that it’s different for each and every writer. The venue, be it indie-pubbed, digital-first, paperback, etc–doesn’t matter. What matters is STORY. It will take the rest of my life to be able to make the words on the page accurately reflect the vision in my mind. That said, even if I decided to “leave” writing and enter corporate life, nothing would change–I’d still be a writer. Writers write.–
Today I keep going because it’s clear from the readers I meet and my reader mail that these stories about military characters and families are important and worth the extra effort to get them to the page. My gratitude to our vets will never be deep enough.
Where do your ideas come from?
I’ve asked my writer pals about this, and the answer is different for each of us. I have a friend who outlines her entire story before she even gets to know her hero or heroine. Another friend uses a cork board, and many make collages of their story before writing. My characters usually come to me first. They show up like snippets of films in different settings, and from there I start the hard work. Some stories find me writing like a mad woman, hour after hour, straight through the first draft. Others require months of research. My stories seem to be as varied as my friends!
To what do you credit your success?
Perseverance. Great mentors. Networking. Bottom line: having a saleable product. I’ve watched so many writers quit after receiving yet another rejection. This isn’t a business for anyone who needs instant gratification. My satisfaction has to come from the process of putting the story down on paper, or I’d never make it. That said, it’s sooo easy to get side-tracked by market trends, the latest way to get my story “out there,” and of course, the Goo Goo Dolls. Is that ‘Iris’ I hear?
What’s your favorite way to have fun?
Anything with my family–right now we enjoy watching “Modern Family” together, and sitting down at the same table for a meal. A family vacation is always great but with two college tuitions, we have to get creative. I knit during any television program and all vacations. Our dog and parrot bring a lot of fun to the mix, too. I often post about them via social media.