I was ridiculously lucky when I first submitted my debut novel to book agents way back in 2003. And then I wasn’t. Or maybe I was just foolish. I’ll let you decide after reading the alternately cautionary and inspiring tale of my road to representation and publication.
When people ask me how I got the idea for my debut novel, Contrition, I can’t really explain it, but I think it started with my desire to find a great place to write. The challenge was, the place I had in mind is inaccessible by definition: a religious cloister where nuns intentionally separate themselves from the world to focus on prayer.
Which is worse– an impersonal rejection letter from an agent, or a personalized rejection letter with feedback that would require a massive rewrite of your book with no guarantee that the agent would revisit it? Both. Oh wait... I mean, it all depends...
Just as the Cypress College Art Gallery opened for business, the bell in a nearby tower tolled ten times. I hated that it reminded me of a death knell. I was there to see a retrospective show of the paintings of my friend, Christine Taber, who had lost her life in a bike accident fifteen years earlier. Shortly after she died, I wrote the descriptions of her abstract paintings that later became the inspiration for the realistic, religious paintings in my upcoming debut novel,Contrition.Read more
Oscar Wilde was spot on when he said that “life imitates art.” In my case, I wrote about adoption long before I knew I would become an adoptive parent. Having that writing published after I became an adoptive mother adds another layer of responsibility to my storytelling– one that I desperately hope I got right.Read more