Writing...A Serious Business

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I’m always flattered when I stumble across other writers who’ve read my work and they ask what has happened with this character or that one. It tells me I’ve created a memorable persona and that for me is one of the biggest compliments anyone can pay me.

In recent days, semi-dormant characters have been weighing on my mind and that raises the issue of self-publishing. In responding to questions posed by Michelle Fayard in an interview, I remembered that my first novel was about an eleven year old girl who found out that her mother is not the one she’d known all her life.  This super-intelligent child (despite some major odds) did not stop until she met her birth mother. 

I was sharing with Michelle (off the air) the fact that a year ago, a full read was requested by a prominent publisher with a Caribbean-wide reach. The novel in question won me a bronze medal in a literary competition. On editing it, I thought the organizers had been very kind to award me that medal. Since then, I’ve made tremendous improvement as a writer and with the publisher’s request, had visions of finally getting the book in front of the public.

On my last contact, the company’s representative was waiting for word from the Ministry of Education on some of the material in the novel and had no idea when she would get a response. I’d add here that the Ministry buys a LOT of books. 

So, there is a murder, which I looked at again last night.  My MC, Christine, witnessed her mother killing her father. I don’t want to gloss over that scene, but I also don’t want it to be too much for kids. In the Jamaican context, I don’t think the scene is extremely disturbing for the fact that my society is a violent one. People are shot and stabbed each day. Many die. Naturally, children are unwilling spectators. With this in mind, I’ll ask for feedback after the edit I’m planning.

If Christine’s Odyssey is to see the light of day anytime soon, I’ll have to publish it myself. It was the first book I queried with agents and I got nowhere. Fact is, these kids are 100% human and in a world of shape shifters et al, I didn’t think they’ll readily find a place. I can think of a publisher who would buy it, but I’m not ready to go that route again. It will feel like more of the same.

So, with this realization comes another. It’s not like I wasn’t acting in accordance, but my writing is a business. I have too many completed novels just sitting around with no plan of action for them. This means I’m going to have to put a schedule together for working on a half dozen sitting-here-in-limbo books.  

Unique women...diverse problems.
I’m giving my current WiP a tiny rest and will start reading it again on Monday, which is a national holiday (Heroes' Day) here.  The cover isn’t final, but I thought I’d show you how that’s progressing.  I’ve started editing the stand-alone sequel to Distraction. I already know what I want for the cover and have started looking at stock photos.  It would be nice if I also got the last few chapters finished.  

I estimate that I’ll have edited Christine’s Odyssey again by year end and will look at getting that published in the New Year. Of course, this means I’ll have to discipline myself and stay on schedule.

A word of advice here. In case this seems like slapping a book together for publication, it isn’t. That YA novel was written in 2005 and has gone through various edits and several postings on my writing network, as well as beta readings. I would never advocate someone flying the gate with a first effort. Writing is such that it takes a while for us to find our rhythm, voice and style. 

Final note, I’m over at Fabulosity Reads tomorrow for my regular WiP Feature.  Drop in for a sample of my writing.

So, what are you doing toward meeting your goal as a writer on the move? 

Had to share this bit of news. Heard from the publisher today and my novel, Hardware. will be out come November 1. The book page at Wild Child Publishing is here.  

Book Blurb

Camille Moyston has managed to put the nightmare of a violent attack behind her. Having forged a safe, predictable life, the last thing she needs is a cliché, oversexed Jamaican male expressing interest.

For Quinn Mayhew, life is too good to waste time chasing a haughty, irritable woman who is too cautious to accept him for the man he is, but somehow she symbolizes everything he desires in his future.

When Camille's inner fortress finally starts to crumble, Quinn is arrested for murder and everything changes...