My motto is, “If I can do it, anyone can do it.” I wasn’t born to write. I didn’t aspire to be a writer from the time I could hold a Crayon. I could, however, draw, and make things take shape through form and color on paper and canvas, and that’s the path I traveled well into midlife. The artist’s life opened up my eyes and mind to expression and sometimes stories through composition on that blank eighteen by twenty-four inch stretched canvas. Then one day it changed.
As a voracious reader, I was content to read what others wrote. I admired those writers who had mastered the craft. I was happy to dwell in their world for 300 pages, to laugh, cry, and be enlightened and surprised. Until one day when I closed a book by my favorite author and felt something was missing. The novel was a mystery/suspense with elements of romance. The suspense was killer. The romance, however, was lacking, missing those subtleties that resonated with me. I wanted more. The promise of romance was there, but fizzled somewhere along the way. For me, it wasn’t about graphic sex. It was about sexual tension, passion, love. After searching unsuccessfully for novels to satisfy my romantic suspense fixation, looking for just the right balance, I realized I had to write the book myself.
Only I knew nothing about writing a novel, let alone a genre book with a sub-genre. So I went to the library and checked out a reference book titled, HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL. Easy enough, right? If dedication is easy, then it was easy because I was driven. My artist’s passion shifted to focus on the writer’s canvas. That canvas was structure, words, emotion, and truth. And the rest is history.
I burned up two electric typewriters before investing in a computer. I checked out every book on the “book writing” reference shelf, and many grammar and stylebooks, and two years later, my 800-page opus, Night Stalker, was finished—
I learned about the important shaping process, without which most stories would be unreadable. Editing. The passion and pain of cutting and revising. Finding the jewels that lie buried in too many, or misguided, words. Three years and a dozen revisions later, 400 pages lighter, it found a home with a traditional publisher. Within the first few months of release, it went into three printings and became the flagship for the sub-genre “Woman in Jeopardy/Romantic Suspense” at Kensington Publishing.
Where it started. . .
I left school at sixteen to marry my high school sweetheart. Six years later, as a housewife and mother, I channeled my artistic talent into sketching and painting, selling my work at a local art gallery. A quarter century later, I traded in my paints and brushes to hit the keyboard. Our three sons, not much for novel reading, are waiting for my books to be made into movies. That childhood sweetheart I married a lifetime ago is now my soul mate of 50 plus years. His encouragement fueled me, and his support allowed me to pursue my goals.
Going back to my motto of, “if I can do it, anyone can.” There has never been a more opportunistic time to try your hand at writing a book. Or taking the plunge and self-publishing. My decision to self-publish my upcoming suspense novels came about when I hit the proverbial brick wall after five published books. With a stalled career, I had a choice. Teach, or see my stories in print again. I chose the latter. My first self-published book is the short story trilogy, BROKEN JUSTICE, followed by my suspense novel, Night Widow.
Agents and editors think they know what readers want. They don’t always know. Readers know what readers want, and they’re expressing their wants by buying books written by indie authors. Give yourself a hardy pat on the back if you’ve completed a manuscript, but the big applause goes to our devoted fans and readers. Without them, we would be nothing.
This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories To read all of the stories, buy your copy today. Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!
Carol Davis Luce says
Cheryl, thank you for sharing my story on your blogsite. And a huge THANK YOU for inviting me to join the Indie Chicks. It’s an honor to be a part of this awesome group of women. I luv you guys (gals)!!!!!