You remember why you felt such despair when the book contract got cancelled, when you were left sitting in the cold with only a pile of novels and you, metaphorically at least, considered lighting them aflame because the conflagration might just keep you warm enough to continue.
Each book is a journey, some journeys more scenic than others and some more fun. Some are long and arduous. This is the story of one such journey. The life and times of one book that I wrote a long time ago, a book that's been there and back again.
The book is called Dancing in the White Room. For marketing purposes, it has been called both women's fiction and contemporary romance.
It's the second book I ever wrote and one I did not set out to write on purpose. Let me explain. A long time ago, I wrote my first book. I polished it and polished it again. As I was revising, I took a writing workshop, the same kind of workshop I would later go on to teach. The workshop's focus was on first draft writing, and since the book I was polishing was past the first draft stage, I decided I'd write a few short stories. So I played with a few ideas.
I get ideas everywhere, and the idea for Dancing in the White Room came, as stories often do, from a coming together of a few different ideas from a few different places. First, I wanted to use my experience as kid--I grew up at a mom and pop ski area--which had a big influence in my young life. I spent some time doing ski patrol work and I've been a lifelong ski enthusiast. So this was sitting in my pocket, saying use me I'm kinda interesting. Problem was, I had an idea but I did not have a story. Until...I read Into Thin Air, a book about a tragic climb gone wrong in Everest in the 90's. I knew nothing about climbing or the climbing world, but it struck me that it was related to the ski world I did know about. And something had struck me--a short paragraph written somewhere mid-book about what lousy spouses climbers make. And I began to imagine the woman left behind. A character named Mallory who was in love with a man named PD Bell came along. I had my story idea.
I began writing. Short stories have pretty tight structures, beginnings, middles and ends built around a premise. After a while I released I wasn't working with just a premise. I was building a world. And building a world meant I was, gulp, writing another novel. I thought about scraping it as too much at the moment--I was still revising that first novel-- but I decided to keep on writing. And soon, I had two novels.
I was on a novel writing roll, so I wrote a few more novels. I'd send my manuscripts out, get some nibbles and ultimately get rejected. Until, one day, I found a publisher. A book got published, then another. I dusted off Dancing, revised it yet again and....got a contract!
It was edited and revised again. It was published. I got excited about the story and wrote a few more books to make a series. The second book was just about to go to the editor when the little publishing company closed it's doors. I got the rights back and the book was back on my computer's unpublished file. It was not a good time for me. Sigh.
But, fast forward, and another publisher has popped on to the scene. It's a really tiny enterprise and it consists of people I have worked with before. I published a rom. com under my pen name with them last December. And, in October, Dancing in the White Room will get a second chance at a book life. It's been a long journey, but I'm feeling pretty hopey right about now.