I’ve been peeking in at Novel Spaces for years and I’m happy to say that, starting today, I have a regular slot on their schedule. Since this is my first presentation, I took the opportunity to talk about me; specifically, my writing, something I didn’t take seriously until fairly late in life. Something I didn’t begin until about eleven years ago with a decision that seemed to come out of nowhere.
There are all sorts of gray areas, thoughts and events that occurred throughout my lifetime that may have contributed to this sudden decision. The idea of writing novels could’ve been bubbling inside of me all along. I’ll never know for sure because I never consciously made the decision until the day I did. How that came about would be a post in itself, so if anyone wants to know more, check out my bio and my addendum, "How It Began," on my personal website at: http://www.lindathorne.com/bio/
My husband and I had lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for eight years when he was offered a job opportunity in the Central Valley of California. I quit my job and followed him to a little town called Hanford. It was some time during this period of unemployment from my usual career as a human resources manager that I'd decided to write a book. With the decision made, I drove to the nearest bookstore and bought a book on how to write a novel, read it, then proceeded to buy varying colors and sizes of index cards. I began.
I made it easy on myself by writing what I knew. I created my lead character to be, like me, a career human resources manager, and placed her in a manufacturing workplace similar to the one where I worked during nine of the fifteen years we lived in Denver. I set the book’s location at our prior home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My first character to be killed came from a fictionalized version of a true murder case that happened at my HR job in Denver. I was easily spinning off fiction from real life experiences, now I only had to transform my HR manager protagonist into a sleuth. I wrote the book as if trying to pass a college class, without needing to do the research. This was going to be a piece of cake!
Yeah, right. Several months later, I completed all 125,000 wordy words of my book. Good plot, great ending, but bor-ing. My novel did not sound like other books I’d read. It wasn’t good. In fact, it was awful. I had to face the fact that I didn’t know how to write and I needed a great deal more than one self-help book to solve the problem. My piece of cake had crumbled into pieces.
So I began the long process of beating myself over the head to get it, spending most of my spare time in those years after the book’s completion re-writing, studying self-help books, sharing my work with critique groups. Unnecessary characters and scenes were tossed, pacing improved, subplots thrown out. My book was getting shorter. I also began writing short stories that gave me writing projects I could complete quicker, hope for an award, a contest win, a publication, and they helped me learn to write. I started publishing short stories long before I published my book.
I entered contests too, my favorite being the Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, a free contest for anyone who had not already published a novel. Each year when I didn’t win, I’d do a critical review of my book before submitting it for the next year’s contest. In 2013, I knew I was making headway because my novel, Just Another Termination, made the finals. It made the finals again in 2014, but I couldn’t wait another year. I tweaked the book again and submitted it to Black Opal Books. By now, my 125,000 word book was down to 85,000.
To my surprise, Black Opal offered me a publishing contract for a 2015 release date. I was ecstatic. I’m currently writing the second book in my series, A Promotion to Die For. The journey has taken longer and been tougher than I ever imagined and it’s not over.
I am really glad to be here as a part of Novel Spaces. I hope the members and readers of this great blogspot will enjoy hearing from me from time to time. Your comments are more than welcome.