I’ll start at the beginning, a good place to start. The first question asked was: When did you decide to write this book, how long did it take you to get that final draft completed, and how did you meet your publisher?
Always a late bloomer it seemed, I didn’t begin my college career until I was twenty-nine. I’d had in mind since my senior year of high school that I wanted to be a psychotherapist. I loved my psychology classes and had always had a curiosity for how the brain functions and why people commit heinous crimes against other people. Unfortunately, I also discovered that becoming a psychotherapist wasn’t exactly what I expected.
During my college days, I also discovered my love for writing and for literature. As much as I enjoyed my psychology, sociology and criminal justice classes, I really loved to write and was darn good at it. Over the years, I have contemplated writing something—I knew there was a novel in me. Of course, a divorce and other life events kept that from the forefront of my mind. It wasn’t until I married my husband, Paul, and all my children were grown that I revisited this desire.
I quit my full-time job in October 2008 and took a year off to get started. It took me another three months to decide what genre to write. Mystery seemed to be the most comfortable and interesting for me. Writing mysteries would give me a chance to use the knowledge I gained in college, and researching criminal behavior simply fascinates me. At this point in time, a young wife named Stacy Peterson had disappeared, her cop husband claiming she’d run off with another man. This was the “germ” that sparked my creative juices to begin work on Perfidy.
It took me two years to complete my final draft. That’s fast compared to some other writers. Diane’s novel, No Less in Blood, was a fifteen-year adventure. During the second year while I was perfecting Perfidy, I took on a part-time job, and started working on books two and three of the series. I also started querying agents with no luck.
I found a class through McHenry County College’s online program on Getting Published where I was told to send my manuscript directly to the publisher unless they specified not to do so. I sent the manuscript to several publishers and then attended a conference called Love Is Murder held in the Chicago area. At this conference, they have what they call, Pitch-a-Palooza where you can speak with agents and publishers. This is where I met my publisher, Sue Eggerton owner of True Grit Publishing an Imprint of Weaving Dreams Publishing. By March 2011, Sue offered me a contract to publish Perfidy.
Perfidy was released in November 2012. This is four years, one month from the time I decided to get started writing to publication. I was very lucky, because it usually takes much longer for this to occur.
My advice to up and coming authors would be to have patience. If you don’t have patience, this process will be very painful. You must accept the fact that your first draft will not be perfect and will in no way be ready to publish. You must accept criticism gracefully, knowing that people are trying to help you, not hurt you. Use the critical advice you feel is pertinent and dismiss the rest. Be persistent in your quest, but always take another look if you have a hand full of rejections. Most agents and publishers won’t explain why they are rejecting you, so you must be vigilant in looking at your work to see where there may be flaws. Sometimes hiring a good editor will assist you in this quest.
Most of all don’t stop writing. Many bestselling authors will tell you their first novel is in a drawer or on a shelf somewhere unpublished. Some wait until they are well established before they push to have it published.
I hope this introduction to our panel discussion is helpful. Stay tuned for Monday’s Day Two entry when I will discuss the process of writing Perfidy in more detail. I will be sharing my writing process and how it has changed over the span of four books.
Until next time.