07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Saturday, June 23, 2012

14 Years From Idea to Published Book

Rebecca J. Clark
My third book, Deliver the Moon, released yesterday from The Wild Rose Press. It only took 14 years or so to get from idea to published. Yes, I’m being sarcastic with the “only.”

I should explain.

First, you’ll need to know the backstory of this book. You’ve probably heard the statistic, that a high percentage of marriages in which a child dies ends in divorce. One tragedy is compounded by another. But it’s easy to see how it happens. Faced with overwhelming grief, all the little problems become huge, daunting problems. This is what happened to Gabe and Louisa, the couple in my story, after their infant son was killed in a car accident.

The problem for me? My own son was the age of the child in the story when I first started writing this book. That was a good and bad thing. Good, in that I could “easily” imagine the emotions my characters faced, even though I’d never experienced such a tragedy myself (thank God). Bad, in that it made the story too hard to write. Authors need to get so deep into our characters’ heads, that their stories become our stories. Their experiences become our experiences. By immersing myself into characters who had lost their toddler...it was just too real for me. I couldn’t do it. I got about halfway into the story and had to put it aside for a while, until my son grew up a bit and was no longer the age of the fictional child.

Finally, many boxes of tissues later, I did finish the book. It made the finals in some big contests, and made it all the way to marketing with Harlequin Superromance before being rejected.

That was 1999. So...why the long delay in publishing this? The first reason was my naivety. I was still fairly new to the writing industry, and not very active in any writing groups at the time. So when my book was rejected, I was rejected. I took it personally, because I didn’t know any different. If they didn’t like that book, they didn’t like me. If they didn’t like me, they wouldn’t like anything else I submitted to them.
Sigh. If only we could press a “do-over” button in life, eh?

The second reason for the delay was lack of options. Back then, if you wrote an 80,000-word book meant for the category romance market, there was really only one place to submit it. Harlequin. If they rejected it, that story went under the proverbial bed, never to be seen or heard from again.

But now it’s 2012 and we authors have many more options for our books. I’d always loved this story, so I pulled it out, updated it and rewrote many parts (I’m a stronger writer now...I think. I hope.), and sent it to my publisher, The Wild Rose Press. They loved it, offered me a contract for it, and it is now available for everyone to read.
Follow me on Twitter @RebeccaJClark


Paty Jager said...

Rebecca, Welcome to Romancing the Genres! That is what is so wonderful about where publishing is right now so many more good books are available for readers. Those of us who write good books that don't fit the cookie cutter image the big publishers want can now get published. Congrats!

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks for sharing your publishing story. It is so true some of our really great stories have to wait until we are in the right place to write them. So glad you persevered which is a must if you are going to be a successful published author. I can only imagine the joy you feel seeing "Deliver the Moon" published!

Diana Mcc. said...


What a hard story to write! Congrats on finishing and getting it published.

Sarah Raplee said...

I can totally relate to your situation! When my daughter was a newborn, I tried to read one of Michner's books that involved child sacrifice (thousands of years ago) and I just couldn't read it. Trying to write a story like yours while having a child that age would be impossible for me!

I'm so glad you found a home for your story, It sounds like one that needs to be told.

Thank you for guesting with us,


Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Rebecca! This sounds like a very moving story. I can understand why it was so hard to write, but glad the time was finally right for you to finish this. Congratulations on its publication!

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Thanks for having me here, you guys. I tried to comment on Saturday but couldn't get in. I was on really wonky wi-fi though--maybe that was the problem.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Thanks, Paty. Yes, it's such a great time right now for authors AND readers. More options for both.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Judith, I think I'm more excited to have DELIVER THE MOON published than my two previous books. Probably because it was such a long struggle for this story.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Thanks, Diana! And thanks for coming by today.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Thanks, Sarah. I think I remember that Michener book. I tried reading it before I had kids. No way.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Thanks so much Genene. :)