Friday, August 18, 2006

How I Got Here—The “Category” Books

I’d known since that ill-fated first chapter that I wanted to write, but I also knew I hated longhand. So I waited until we bought our first computer in 1992. It had 100 MB of memory and Windows 3.1.

I'll wait while you finish laughing.

I took a fiction-writing class via Writer's Digest, bought lots of how-to books, joined Pennwriters, went to some workshops, and started my first book. I wrote 50,000 pages before I decided it would be better off as three category books instead of a single title.

The first completed book took me three years. Why? Because I liked King's Quest better. Jim and I spent our bonding years hunched over the keyboard, puzzling out the clues and watching the animation that was cutting edge then.

Papa Potential
It boggles my mind how little writing I did back then, Before Babies. This is the book that started as a Big Book, then got modified into a Silhouette Special Edition style story. It was about a kindergarten teacher who wanted to have a baby and enlisted her best friend’s brother to do it. I queried SSE. They requested the full. I had my first taste of excitement and, not long after, my first rejection. I’m not sure if I submitted it anywhere else. But I did start book two.

Hunter’s Song
Inspired by my experiences nursing my daughter, I wrote about a woman who was a single mother on purpose (this time by anonymous sperm donor), and the man who convinced her that being a family did not compromise her independence. Rejected by SSE, Superromance, a few larger publishers and several smaller, it was published in 2000 by Avid Press.

Against the Rules and Second Chance at Forever
I was in a dry spell for a while. Then I went with the women I worked with and my mother to a male dance revue, which sparked ALL manner of ideas. :) ATR and SCAF are about the reasons straight men might choose to strip for a living. ATR is a bit on the lighter side. SCAF deals with despair and loss and clawing your way back to a happy life. These were both rejected by Superromance. ATR was also rejected by Five Star. Both were published by Echelon Press, in 2001 and 2003.

Kira’s Best Friend, Sophie’s Playboy, and Brianna’s Navy SEAL
These are my best regular long contemporaries, about a trio of sisters and the men who are meant for them. They contain full casts of characters and complex stories with twists on frequent stereotypes. KBF and SP were both declined by Superromance, and though they politely asked to see anything else I wanted to submit, I knew I was done. I sold the trilogy to Amber Quill Press. BNS was a difficult book to write, both because so much time had passed and because I’d moved on, to other types of stories. But I’m proud of these, thrilled with their covers, and pleased they found a home.

Note: Brianna's Navy SEAL is in production and will be released soon.

Tomorrow…How I Got Here—Short Fiction


Anonymous said...


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You sure are! :)