Just heard from my publisher that my first novel, Heart of Hythea, will be released on December 3rd. At the moment we are in the final stages of editing, and I have been busy designing a cover for it.
It has been a long road.
I began writing H of H in July 2005. At first I didn’t tell anyone, even in my own family, what I was attempting. “You? Write a whole novel?” they would have said in derision, knowing full well that I am the Queen of starting things with great enthusiasm without ever finishing one of them. So I kept writing, pushing myself, until I had about 60,000 words. Everyone was wondering why the house was so messy all the time, and my husband probably thought I was having an affair, so finally I had to confess. The reaction was much as I had expected (see above) but I kept going anyway.
When I had a finished manuscript, I had to do the hardest thing I have ever done–show it to someone else. My husband read it first. He was complimentary, but I knew it was awful. I showed it to a female friend of mine, who is a librarian. She said the story was good but I needed to work on the grammar. That was more helpful, so I took it to my sister, who is an ex-English teacher. That almost sank me, because she was very UN-complimentary, and I wondered if I ought to chuck the whole thing in the bin.
But I didn’t.
Instead I took an intensive novel writing class at the University of Otago. It was helpful, although the atmosphere was a little too “supportive.” I needed something between my sister (this is rubbish!) and my husband (This is great! When do we eat?) I found it in the form of Mike Goodwin, a classmate. Together we formed the Otago Writer’s Guild, and went through H of H chapter by chapter. He was honest about the bad stuff and complimentary about the good stuff. Slowly, I polished my work.
Then I sent it to a publisher.
It was, of course, rejected.
I did some more polishing and tried to get an agent.
I totally rewrote huge chunks and sent to another publisher.
It was rejected.
I dabbled with the idea of self-publishing through Book Surge. Mike talked me out of it.
Meanwhile I started work on Book II, Ketha’s Daughter.
I decided to try one more publisher. I searched on Google for small presses, and found Bladud Books. I sent them an e-mail, not expecting a response. I got one–an invitation to submit my novel for publication as an ebook. “Fine,” I thought. “What have I got to lose?” Especially since they were willing to read an electronic submission rather than a paper one. To my surprise and everlasting joy, they offered me a four book contract, through their ebook arm, Mushroom.
Seeing my book for sale on the Internet will be one hell of a kick!
(But now I have to worry about people buying it…)