The Birth of a Novel

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Many times over the past few years I have been asked the question: How long does it take to write a novel? There is no cut and dry answer. It depends on how many other projects I have going on.


The novel I recently finished, The River Keeper took me only a year to pen. It is now being edited and I’m hoping for a 2013 release. You might think an entire year is a long time, but for me it’s not because it took me thirteen years to finish my first novel, In The Coal Mine Shadows. Which by the way has never been published.


The Color of My Heart’s cover has just been finalized and should launch by the end of this month. I started writing this book in June of 2009. By the end of August all the characters had revealed their personalities and I was ready to really put the ink to paper.


The first draft of, The Color of My Heart was soon finished in October of 2010, only seventeen months in the making. By March of 2011 I had finished several re-writes and it was ready for my editor. She and I worked on the manuscript from March until December. Since its conception in the summer of 2009 it was finally ready to start submitting to publishing companies by the end of 2011.


Confident that the manuscript was in the best possible shape I created a cover letter, query, and synopsis and started submitting to Christian Publishing Companies. I used the 2011 Christian Writers’ Market Guide by Sally E. Stuart as a reference to find publishers to send my work to. My previous publisher had gone out of business so I was starting all over again. Not a fun process.


Three months and nineteen queries later on April 4, 2012 I received an email from publisher, Sam Lowry at Ambassador International. He thanked me for the opportunity to review my work. Then went on to say he thought I bring serious talent and empathy to our Southern canvas. And, that they, Ambassador International would very much like to explore this further.


Almost three weeks later after contract negotiations I signed the legal papers and The Color of My Heart was well on it’s way to becoming a living, breathing novel. It was no longer a figment of my imagination.


Since April the novel has been through another round of edits and now has a beautiful cover and is at press stage. I want to thank the team at Ambassador International for putting up with all my little quirks. Even though this is my second published novel the process has been much different this time. Thankfully both experiences have been positive.


So, with all this being said, The Color of My Heart is due to be released by the end of this month. Only three years and four months in the making. Now that’s a long gestation period, but most good things never come fast, or easy.


I’d love to hear the story of your publishing experience.

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An excerpt from, The Color of My Heart.


“Me-maw, you didn’t answer me this morning. May I stay here with you?”

“Let’s sit down.” Lakin held onto Inesta’s arm, settling her down in the porch chair. Inesta spoke. “You are welcome here. This is your home. But being here with an old woman like me will become a misery to you. You need to be in school and make something out of yourself. You’ve got to be the kind of mother a youngster will be proud of. You’ll need a good job to support this baby, and to get one, you’ll need an education.”

“I can’t go back to college in Raleigh. I don’t belong there. The dreams I had three months ago are not the same ones I have today. I want to stay here.”

“You can’t disappear here, Lakin. You can’t hide away from what’s happening to you. There’s no use to try. The truth is the truth, and the sooner you tell everyone and face it, the quicker you’ll be able to move forward. You’re young and beautiful. You have your whole life ahead of you. You can’t tuck yourself away in the folds of this old woman’s skirt and be happy.”


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