I’ve been a writer my whole life. I started in elementary school. I wrote and illustrated stories and read them in front of the class. Get the picture in front of you… bright red hair, reading tales like The Demon of Debra Devinski in dramatic tones to a classroom of fifth graders while our teacher rolls her eyes. I read them to my little sister by flashlight in the closet under the stairs and gave her nightmares. I was prolific and fascinated by demons, witches, aliens, and monsters.
In middle school I contributed stories to the student newspaper. In high school I was part of a writer’s club that published a literary magazine. People liked my dark stories. I submitted work for publication and had even a poem published in Young Author’s Magazine. I really had the bug then.
Surely, surely I was destined for great things as an author!
According to Stephen King, “What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
I wasn’t blessed with an abundance of raw talent, but I was blessed with bull-headedness. I am the energizer bunny, The Little Engine That Could, persistent, diligent, and unstoppable. “Never give up! Never surrender!”
Since the late nineties, I’ve written 12 novels. Some of these novels have been rewritten multiple times, so drastically that you could really count them as new novels. Some of them are very, very bad. It’s fortunate that they have not seen the light of day. I have a spreadsheet with 870 rows of rejections from agents over an 18-year period.
Some of the novels are literary fiction. One is a memoir. One is a quasi-biographical novel that closely follows my mother and grandmother’s lives. The last five have been young adult novels, four of which I self-published.
I’ve learned a lot. I keep learning. I love the writing. That’s what keeps me going. In the end that’s why I do it.
Someone who gets up at 3:00 AM every morning to write has to love it, right?
So here is the really, really awesome part. On row 871 of my spreadsheet, I finally have a green row that says “Accepted.” The Jennifer De Chiara agency has offered me literary representation for my latest YA novel, “Junior Missing.” I have a New York Agent. And she said she loves my book. This is not a trick or a dream It’s real! Jennifer represents children’s, middle-grade, and young adult literature, and as you can see from her website, the agency has been in business for a long time with many great authors in their client list. I am so excited I am vibrating with joy in my heart.
Now a new wait begins. And I guess I need to create a new spreadsheet for the publisher rejections. Let’s hope I don’t have to go through 870 rejections in that one before I get to an “Accepted” row.
Wish me luck!