Every author remembers their first book or short story. The one they labored over. Cried over, and most times, shoved in the closet, under the bed, buried deep in computer files, or in the garbage. I’m no different.
Last week I signed my fifth contract with Soul Mate Publishing. Thank you Debbie Gilbert for taking another chance on me. I can tell you the fifth is every bit as exciting as the first. After jumping around the living room, squealing, fist pumping the air, and scaring my daughter’s dogs, I started calling friends and family. Except for my writer friends, I’m not sure the rest understood my excitement. A comment from a sibling was: “So this isn’t just a one-time, hobby thing.” Grrrr.
It was during a conversation with a fellow author that I realized I’d received a contract for the very first romance I’d ever written. After backtracking a few years (decades) I remembered this one was started as a short story for a contest twenty years ago!! It seems like yesterday. I’m not sure what made me decide to turn the story into a book back then, but I did.
You probably wonder why it took so long for me to get this thing published (or even send it in to a publisher). I not only write romance, but history and children’s books, too. Every time I’d start working on “Never With a Rich Man,” I’d get a request for a history book. I finally gave up on the book and permanently set aside – or so I thought. Two children’s books, three military books, and four local history books later, I took the manuscript back out – and cringed. Even though I loved writing, my skills were sorely lacking. Thank heavens my writing skills have improved over the years
Each time I get edits for a romance, I learn something new. One thing I learned was this book was BORING. To me it read like a simple romance. Even though it had a happy ending, there was no conflict, no mystery, no nothing. So in-between writing other short stories and books and getting them published, I re-wrote it. And re-wrote it. And re-wrote it, never satisfied with the end result. Then I thought to add some mystery and more conflict to it.
Re-working a story is not easy. Change one thing here, and it changes ten things there. Add a smoking gun, that gun had better be in a scene somewhere else. Change a character’s name, better make sure you change it everywhere. (Thank heavens for search and replace button.) Don’t mix up characters’ names from other books. Finally, twenty years later, I sent it in, hoping I’d made the right changes. I’m glad I did
Do you still have that first manuscript hiding somewhere? Have you taken it out and tried to brush it up? It’s not easy, but sometimes it pays off.
Tina’s book, “Riding for Love,” was published with SMP in May, 2013. Since then she has been part of three anthologies with other talented SMP authors. She can be found at:
Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author
Sizzle in the Snow: Amazon: http://amzn.com/B0186SCT74
Riding for Love: http://www.amazon.com/Riding-for-Love-ebook/dp/B00CLJD31Q
My Sexy Valentine: http://amzn.com/B00SSFM1OChttp://amzn.com/B00SSFM1OC
All I Want for Christmas is a Soul Mate: http://www.amazon.com/All-I-Want-Christmas-Soulmate-ebook/dp/B00GH2I458/