Posted by Julie at Jun 2, 2010 6:00 am
As you all know, I missed Saturday’s post of our ONE THING feature because I was in New York for the Book Expo. (Okay, I didn’t actually say WHERE I was…but that’s where I was!) So I’m giving today over to the wonderful, Tanya Michaels, whose brand new Harlequin American Romance is out next week!
For those of you who don’t read our Saturday feature, ONE THING is where a successful published author answers the question: What is the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known back when you first started? It’s a great way to get advice from people who living the dream! Also, Tanya is giving away a backlist book (US shipping only) to someone who comments–writer or reader!
So without further ado…welcome to the jungle, Tanya! Tell us…what is the one thing you know now that you WISH you knew when you were an aspiring writer?
That it doesn’t get easier–wait, wait, that’s actually a positive and not the negative it sounds like! See, when I first sold, I had a naive belief that once your foot was in the door, that was it. You’d arrived. Oh, I didn’t expect that my editor would think every idea I turned in from then on was solid gold, but I figured if she didn’t like it, we’d discuss revisions, ways that I could make it work for her. I wasn’t expecting to hear a flat-out “NO.” So after I’d sold a couple of books, when that happened, I figured the first two had been flukes. That was it, the tide had turned. Apparently, I was over. I honestly didn’t realize that successful authors who’ve been doing this longer than I am still occasionally get told NO. And it happens for a variety of reasons–maybe the idea rocks out loud, it’s just slightly too similar to another they just bought. Maybe they’re trying to brand the line in a new direction and your idea would have been just perfect for the old direction. Conversely, maybe it’s ahead of its time and you’ll have more luck with it next year. Maybe someone on the decision-making team was just feeling cranky that day. The point is, when you get told NO, you brush yourself off and try again.
And while I can’t speak for anyone else, for me at least the actual writing part has become more difficult. I’ve now sold almost thirty books and I’ve learned a lot in the process, which means I’m a bit more critical while drafting. On the other hand, it also means–quite happily–that my last few books, while more grueling to write, had far, far fewer revisions and rewrites. Plus, having survived enough “difficult” manuscripts, I don’t tend to panic as often. Okay, that’s not true. I totally panic. But my husband points out that the same time last year, I was panicking in the exact same spot on the book that has now finaled for an award, or I’ll comb through emails declaring that I’ll never be able to finish the book until I find the email heralding “Yay, I’ve finished!” I guess the point is, I’ve stopped expecting it to get easier. Maybe it’s right that stories worth telling are difficult, forcing you to reach deep emotionally and mentally, because readers deserve your best effort. I’ve made my peace with that–but sometimes I wish it hadn’t taken me so many books to do so!
It’s possible that in another thirty books, I will have come full circle and it really WILL have gotten easier. But I doubt it :-)
Tanya’s new book, The Best Man in Texas, is in stores now!
Brooke Nichols spent her entire childhood bouncing through states, school districts and more than a few of her parents’ ill-conceived “adventures.” Now, she’s finally found some stability. Engaged to a gorgeous, gainfully employed businessmanâ€”who always calls when he says he willâ€”Brooke is eager to settle down once and for all. No alarms, no surprises.
Certainly, she would never consider a relationship with someone like her fiancÃ©’s best friend, firefighter Jake McBride. With his frequent footloose jaunts and a career that involves leaping into dangerous situations, Jake is everything Brooke’s fiancÃ© is not: raw, spontaneous and passionate. But passion isn’t everythingâ€¦is it?
As Jake keeps pushing Brooke’s boundaries, and her buttons, the girl who hates surprises might just end up surprising everyone, especially herself.