07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

So there I was, on vacation…

I never expected to be an author. It wasn't on my "bucket list" and I didn't hang out with people who wrote. In fact, my life was so busy I barely even read. I don't even have a library card.

Sure, I always made up little scenarios. Created characters in my head. Put them in precarious situations to see how they could survive. I even wrote short romantic stories in junior high… (Paul McCartney would see me in the crowd at a concert and true love would instantly smite us both.)

But write a novel? It never occurred to me.

Until July 2006 when I was on vacation. I was relaxed and just finished a particularly good book. On a whim I said to my husband, "I think I'll try writing a historical romance novel."

Hello, Life?

Make a sharp right, please.

I was a full-time high school teacher back then. (No, not English. Student Council, Art and Dance.) I bought a laptop, wrote my first 100,000-word manuscript in ten weeks, and wore out that laptop in three years. The day I knew it was failing, I drove to Costco, bought another one, and was back to writing in two hours.

Being an author has consumed my life.

But it's not only the writing, plotting, editing, and rewriting. It's taking classes online; attending conferences, and workshops to improve my craft. It's becoming involved in multiple legitimate author groups. It's submitting my work to editors and using their criticisms to improve. It's wooing an agent. It's designing my brand and promotional items. Blogging, speaking, learning, teaching. Traveling, networking, and researching. Creating an event to showcase romance authors.

It's applying myself every single day to some aspects of my career.

I retired from teaching in 2009. My first book hit print and e-book in September 2010 with numbers two in November and three in January. This September, books four and five will release. In 2012, three more will be published.

I write what I like to read: historical settings, heroes and heroines with real-life issues and believable problems, storylines long enough and deep enough for the reader to truly get to know and love the characters.

One of the most fun parts of my journey is introducing myself as a published romance author when I meet someone new. People get so excited! They ask all kinds of questions and want me to sign things. It's like being a small, little, very tiny, miniscule, sort of, well, celebrity.

Who knew?

If anyone reading this thinks they might like to try their hand at writing, be warned:

First, it will change your life. You'll start talking about your characters as if they are real and people will look at you funny. And you will have a whole set of new friends who are authors. And you'll be compelled to lock yourself away from everyone you love so you can write.

Second, it is horrifically hard work if you want to do it well enough to be published. Sure, you can short-cut the process and self-publish your work, but if it's not adequately edited and vetted, you will fail. There is no substitute for the hard work part. Not one.

But if you follow that call, the reward is that not one day of your life will ever be boring again. I promise.


Alyssia said...

Kris, this was lovely. Great insights. If an author's love for writing isn't recaptured by the time they're done with this post, something's wrong.

Judith Ashley said...

I never knew how you got 'started', Kris. Fascinating! I particularly like your statement about doing 'it' (writing) well. There isn't a guarantee even if you are traditionally published based on several books I've recently read.

ElaineCharton said...

Kris-I already knew your story but it was still fun to reread it again. Inspired me all over!

SamMarie Ashe said...

Wonderful post! Love how your life took a turn! :)

Sarah Raplee said...

All your warnings are so, SO TRUE!
Loved your post, Kris!