Saturday, October 20, 2007
I'm over 50, married for 35 years this July, and have two wonderful children, Marnee and Steven. I'm active at our small church, serving on staff with my miisterial license and working with women in a counseling/ministering capacity. My husband and I are looking forward to full retirement soon and taking off for a few months at a time on our 51' sailboat, where my writing will take on an entirely new creativity. We have a horse, a dog and three cats that my daughter and her husband will inherit while we're gone. Thankfully, they live on the adjoining property and are animals lovers.
The Other Daughter—the story of David and Susanne Carson, a couple with an already fragile marriage that’s rocked to its foundation when a young teenaged girl appears at the door….
Here’s a brief summary:
The girl standing at the door took a deep breath, pulling her suitcase a little closer to her trembling legs. "My mama's dead. He's my daddy."
Susanne Carson knew that she could trust the love of her life—her husband, David—until she discovered a strange, unkempt young girl on their doorstep, claiming to be David's daughter.
Not that their marriage had ever been perfect—David's decision to embrace the Christian faith had strained their relationship. Susanne may not have agreed with his beliefs, but at least she trusted him. Had David been hiding this not-so-little secret from his past? He wanted Susanne to believe in his God, but believing hadn't done much to keep David out of another woman's arms.
As David confronts the truth of his past, Susanne must face her own moment of truth as her marriage is taken to the breaking point and the life of one young girl is left in her hands.
How long did it take from first word to sale? What were some of the steps along the journey?
It took me five weeks to write the first draft, then the next six months of revising, editing and polishing before it was presentable. This was such new territory for me. I’d written several non-fiction short stories that were published in magazines just prior to starting off in fiction, but I had no clue what I was doing when I began to write this novel. I’d never read a book on writing, had no teaching on structure, plot, POV, characterization, dialogue, or anything else. It wasn’t until three months before Kregel made their offer that I discovered ACFW and joined. My sister, who has done some professional editing, and a friend who is an editor and author, both helped tremendously, mentoring and supporting me through the first two drafts, or I wouldn’t have made it this far.
The Lord brought Tamela (my agent) into my life in a series of miraculous events that only He could have orchestrated, and seven months later I received the offer from Kregel. When the book is released, it will be two years since writing the first draft, and nine months since signing my contract. Kregel graciously put The Other Daughter on the fast track to publication, beating the usual 12-16 months for publication by quite a bit.
How did people help you along the journey?
There have been several people who influence and helped me this past two years. My husband has been unwavering in his support, even when he felt I was being unfairly treated, LOL---He didn’t like the initial rejections I was getting and couldn’t understand why publishers weren’t happy with it, after all the work I did. I’m so blessed that he believed in me and kept encouraging me.
I’ve mentioned my sister Jenny and my author friend Elizabeth earlier, but they were a tremendous help with initial editing and suggestions. They both taught me so much about POV and believability. Writing dialogue came very naturally to me, but I struggled at times with other aspects of plot structure, pacing and tension.
My pastor and small home group prayed and encouraged me, and my mom loved everything I wrote, of course…family and close friends are rarely a good source for reliable feedback, and I was so thrilled when I found ACFW a few months before my book came under contract, and joined a critique group a couple of months later. They brought another layer of accountability and learning to my writing that I hadn’t had before.
What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?
This is a hard one, as I’m still very early in my writing career, having only started writing seriously just over two years ago. I’m growing and learning constantly, and in all honesty, I haven’t had a lot of frustrating times since beginning this journey. I’d have to say that the issue of timing probably stands out more than most other things. I was in too big of a hurry, at first, to send my ‘baby’ out into the world when it wasn’t ready. Had I taken the advice of an author/editor friend on some of the changes she gave me that would have strengthened my book, and not been so sure it was fine the way it was, I probably wouldn’t have had some of my early rejections. Of course, rejections are part of the growing process, and I learned valuable lessons there, too.
How much marketing do you do? What have you found that particularly works well for you?
I’m one of those rarities in the writing world who actually enjoys the marketing part of writing. A lot of authors I know prefer to hole up in their office and write and not mess with promotion and marketing…not me. I love it. In fact, I probably spend too much time on it, and not enough on writing. Currently, I have a blog, web site, ShoutLife profile and moderate a marriage group there, as my book deals with marriage issues, a My Space site, a 60 second book trailer on God Tube and My Tube, an email campaign, free book drawings, and try to stay active on a couple different writer’s groups. I also keep in touch with about 300 people who’ve signed my guest book on my web site, and offered to help with marketing. Those people have been amazing in passing along the word to their friends. I decided I didn’t want to put out the money to have someone else put a blog tour together, so jumped in and made that happen, too. I can tell you one thing, there’s not enough hours in a day for writing, marketing, husbands, houses, animals, friends, church and all the other things I’m supposed to be doing…but thankfully, I’ve not been kicked out of church, my family and husband haven’t disowned me, and my house isn’t falling down around my ears… yet, LOL!
Any advice for those of us who are still dreaming of that first sale?
I know what I wish I would’ve had, when I started out. Critique partners…they are invaluable. I didn’t belong to a group until well into the writing of the second book in my series. Through ACFW I was able to get connected and our small group of four is a perfect fit for each of us.
Don’t be too shy to ask for help and don’t be too proud to take constructive criticism of your work, when it’s offered. You don’t have to change everything that’s suggested, but if more than one person points out something wrong, take it seriously and be willing to learn. And most of all, don’t give up. If you believe that God has given you the gift or desire to write, then be obedient, even if it’s never published. When I started out, I thought the best I’d attain would be publication in magazines….having a book published didn’t seem possible. The Lord gave me this story and it needed to be written, and the rest was up to Him. My responsibility was to write it, then keep moving forward in whatever direction He pointed out.
Miralee is on world wide tour stop by the other sites on her tour.
Oct. 20th, Karen Phillips---Sky-High View
LaShaunda Hoffman—See Ya On The Net
21st Angie Arndt---The Road I'm Traveling
22nd Deena Peterson---Deena's Books
22nd Teresa Morgan---Teresa Morgan's Blog
23rd Rose McCauley---Stories of Faith, Hope and Love
23rd Pattie Reitz----Fresh Brewed Writer
24th Cecelia Dowdy---New Christian Fiction Reviews
Tiffany Amber Stockton--A Fiction-Filled Life
25th Bonnie Way---The Koala Bear Writer
Stormi Johnson---Write Thoughts
26th Robin Grant---Queen Of Perseverance
27th Delia Latham---The Melody Within
28th Jennie McGhan---Jen's Life Journey
29th Susan Lohrer ---Inspirational Editor
30th Carla Stewart---Carla’s Writing Café
31st Christina Berry--- Posting with Purpose
1st Bonnie Leon---Bonnie's Blog
2nd Jan Parrish---Bold and Free
3rd Tina Helmuth---The Ink's Not Dry
4th Teresa Slack---ShoutLife Blog
5th Pam Meyers---A Writer’s Journey
6th Betsy St. Amant---Betsy Ann's Blog
7th Megan DiMaria---A Prisoner of Hope
8th Christa Allan---CBAllan WordPress
9th Susan Marlow---Suzy Scribbles---Homeschool Blogger
10th Jamie Driggers---Surviving the Chaos
11th Cindy Bauer----Christian Fiction Author & Speaker
12th Angie Breidenbach---God Uses Broken Vessels
13th Patricia Carroll---Patricia PacJac Carroll
14th Toni V. Lee---Spreading Truth Through Fiction
15th Camille Eide---Faith Inspiring Fiction
16th Lisa Jordan---Musings