I’ve been very lucky to have attended a lot of writer’s conferences since I started writing thirteen years ago, and I’ve sat in on my share of workshops addressing the one issue I think beginning, intermediate, and advanced writer’s struggle with: ‘Finding Your Writing Voice’.
For years I tossed and turned: do I try to write the kind of story certain houses want, or do I write the stories that comes naturally to me, which are women’s fiction rather than true romance? Even if women’s fiction is a hard sell for an unknown author? I was torn because the bottom line is, I am a writer and this is a business, and when push comes to shove, I want to make a living writing.
So, I tired to write both kinds of books. I wrote what certain houses were asking for, trying to fit a round peg into a square hole some might say. And I also wrote the stories that beckoned my psyche begging me to put them down on paper.
Here’s the result: the stories I wrote trying to ‘fit’ certain houses requirements, never sold, and the stories I wrote because I simply had to, did sell. I know, you’re probably shaking your head saying what the heck were you thinking?
And I agree with you. I can only blame my hesitation and cloudy thinking process on one thing. Menopause. The big M came to visit one day and settled in for eight long years. Yup. You read that right. She slowly sucked my ability to think clearly and remember simple things such as a good friend’s name or a recipe I’d been preparing for years. Thank God I have friends who are experiencing the same symptoms because for most of us life is hard enough. But I regress.
My clarifying moment pertaining to my writing career came with the realization that the stories I wrote because I felt compelled to were fun, the characters made me feel something, the hooks made me turn the pages, the plots were fast-paced and more importantly, real. The sales that followed of those manuscripts helped reinforce my gut instinct. The stories from my heart, the stories I couldn’t be more delighted with, were ones editors want to read/buy.
My first book, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, available through Astraea Press and Amazon, is a sweet romance dedicated to the little dog that lit up my family’s life for nine wonderful years. A very real story of how people relate to animals and how their animals can guide them through some of life’s enlightening moments.
My first novella, MARRYING MR. RIGHT, available through Amazon and The Wild Rose Press, is a reunion story about a middle- aged couple that’s legally separated and contemplating divorce. Through the planning of their only daughter’s impromptu wedding, the hero and heroine come to realize they never fell out of love with each other.
My next full-length book, TRAINING TRAVIS, available this spring from The Wild Rose Press, is a story about a divorced father who receives full custody of his fifteen-year-old daughter upon the untimely death of her mother. The quiet lifestyle he has come to enjoy quickly changes when his daughter moves in. Renovations on his new home and his heart begin when he hires a local Interior Designer, who was also his high-school sweetheart. Keeping distance between himself and the heroine is hard; especially since she’s all he’s ever wanted.
So, this year I’ve made a resolution: I will write the stories that come naturally to me and build my author voice in women’s fiction by staying true to myself. WOW. Not only does that feel good to say, but it feels fabulous to type : ) Happy New Year to you and may you find your true writing voice in 2013.