Thursday, January 10, 2013

Writing Is A Journey

By Lauren Hunter

I can’t pinpoint any one experience when I look back to say that was the defining moment that changed everything, or set me on a course that took me to where I am now. But my teachers’ liking my stories was my first inkling they must be okay.

My first published work was my poetry–first in small, local booklets, and then in a number of anthologies in the US, UK and Holland where I received an International Poet of Merit and Editor’s Choice award.

I tried my hand at short stories and set them aside. I was in my twenties when I decided to write a novel. The desire just came to me one day and I figured why not. I worked on it off and on for a number of years, finally finished it, but never tried to get it published. 

One day I was standing in the kitchen and a scene came to me. It was so clear.  I felt an overwhelming need to go to the computer and start writing what I was seeing and hearing. A month later, I had a 120K science fiction novel. I had never done that before, written an entire novel with no outline and no thought as to what the story would be about, or since then for that matter.

I then wrote 120 K Regency, followed it with another—not as long—and then I looked for a publisher. I mailed out my sci-fi. Got a couple of rejection letters, but one letter in particular I felt was unnecessarily unkind. I had no problem being told they weren’t interested. Sure, I wasn’t thrilled, but it wasn’t devastating. What this particular publisher said got under my skin. So much so that the medieval fantasy I had just launched into writing came to a screeching halt.

My creative light was extinguished and a number of years passed before I started writing again, mostly at the repeated encouragement of my mother. I know we need to have a thick skin, and not take any of it personally, but when we put our heart and soul into something and we are told it’s worthless, that is going to be upsetting on some level. We cannot help but feel the disappointment and hurt, that’s human, but to survive in this business you have to try your best to ignore it.

I started sending off my romances. I made a list of romance publishers accepting submissions and I sent out my manuscripts. Almost immediately, I heard back from one telling me they wanted to send me a contract to sign. I sent the second regency in to them and within a day or two was offered another contract. I cannot tell you the shock and thrill I felt to think someone thought they were worth publishing. I decided to submit the sci-fi and it was accepted.

It was then my mom died very unexpectedly. To not think of my devastating loss I buried myself in writing and wrote a paranormal romance in nineteen days, then wrote another Regency right after in the following month. Both of those were accepted. I launched into a horror novel but got half way in when I had to stop to work on edits.

It was real. It was finally happening. But the one person, who never gave up on me, always encouraged me, was not here with me to see or experience my success. When I should be experiencing the most exciting and happy time of my life, I can’t help but feel her absence and miss her terribly…and wonder at all the many things she would be telling me now.

Lauren Hunter is a writer of paranormal romance and Regency paranormal romance novels, with plans to write in a variety of other genres, including time travel, angel, ghost, and contemporary romance. Her paranormal romance, The Coffee Shop, and her paranormal Regency, The Promise, are now available through Musa Publishing, with the second and third installment of a paranormal regency trilogy soon to be released. Blog: Web Page:!

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