Buried Treasure: secrets of a writer's life
This is the first blog I’ve ever written, so I’m more than a bit nervous about it. My first published novel, Where Your Treasure Is, a historical romance of late Victorian England, will be released by Bellastoria Press April 23, 2021, on Lovers' Day.
Publication of this novel is a dream come true. Bellastoria is run by a dedicated group of women who have a unique vision for writers, and I'm honored to be on their list of authors.
The history of publishing is one of the most amazing chapters in humankind's journey. No matter what means we use (digital, audio, print) we are participants in that story each time we read, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to a medium that has been one of the joys of my life.
I hope there will always be traditional publishing houses. The odyssey of bookmaking illustrates that the nimblest, as in all business ventures, survive. The publishing history of many well-known authors is full of surprises, set-backs, and left-turns. I took a chance in the evolving publishing environment with Bellastoria because they liked my story. It's long for a first-time novelist (180K+ words, almost as lengthy as one of my favorites, Great Expectations but not so long as another--Proust's Remembrance of Things Past--a whopping 9,609,000). From the bottom of my heart, I thank the women at Bellastoria for hearing my voice and letting me publish the book I wanted to write.
It takes so many hours to write a manuscript, wait for its initial readers to wade through the draft, sort through their critiques and revise, and then write another draft, and another, before the search for an editor begins, and perhaps the quest for a publisher.
Before any of that can happen, there has to be a story to tell (more about how that happened in an upcoming blog). There must be an audience--that's you! Even when I couldn't admit how much I wanted that, I needed you so much, Dear Reader!
In the Victorian era, writers submitted to magazines and book publishers. Imagine the moment. A bulky manuscript wrapped in brown paper and bound with string. A big breath. The lot is chunked in the mailbox, or hauled to the publisher in person. Fast-forward to now. You hang over your keyboard, skating between writing websites and bloggers' opinions, editors' and agents' astounding curriculum vitae. Your heart's in your throat. Suddenly, you attach the file, press the key--and fare thee well, little book!
In the old days, if the author's works were well-reviewed and accepted into periodicals, they had an instant list of subscribers. The really intrepid, like Dickens, started and edited their own publications, made public appearances, and gave readings. Not much has changed. It's work, but rewarding work!
Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll share some thoughts about Treasure and its characters, my writing life, and what’s next—for instance, the book cover “reveal” on Feb. 1. You’ll be the first to see it!
Last year was a difficult one for so many people, too many, but there are signs of hope. In Where Your Treasure Is, characters struggle to keep their dreams alive when every circumstance is against them, when all seems lost. For some, that means some deep soul-searching, reappraising long-cherished goals, and redefining them. Maybe 2020 was like that for you. Maybe 2021 still feels that way. We’re all adjusting. Sometimes it's hard to ask for help, or accept it, when we're not used to doing so. Even when we’re trying our best to stay positive, there are times when we feel caught inside a bad dream that won’t end.
When that happened to me some years ago, I wrote Where Your Treasure Is. I had no plan for Treasure. It was simply the book that I had to write and the one that I wanted to read—and never dreamed anyone else would. But wrestling through Treasure opened other doors in my heart and elsewhere. If you’re working on your own first book and wondering if you’ll ever finish it, or if anyone will care when you do, read on. If you’re struggling to keep some other sort of dream alive, take heart and keep working on it. It’s possible.*
*see early morning portrait of woman with book proof copy and dog. No makeup or coffee, just happiness!
Presales for Where Your Treasure Is begin March 23. Release: April 23, 2021.