LET’S TALK WRITING #4
with Author of BEHIND THE CLOUDS
Why do I write? I’ve always wanted to write, and I thank my parents and my schoolteachers for drilling literature and history into my head. At twenty- one years of age I travelled to the UK for the obligatory two years working holiday and there in front of me was the history I’d learned from books. I was hooked. However, the love of writing was put on the back-burner for years because of career, marriage and children.
Five years ago I sat down to write my historical romance/adventure stories and I confidently sent my masterpieces off to various agents and publishers. Some never responded, the others sent rejection letters. I still remember receiving one rejection without the courtesy of a salutation and one line, “Don’t think so, thanks, I have plenty of World War One stories,” no signature.
Rejections by silence or by letter hurt and they are very discouraging, but eventually their messages sunk in. I was writing the same type of predictable historical romantic stories with different names and different backgrounds. A real amateur and, I was to learn later, my writing needed a lot more polish.
After a life change in 2014, I began rewriting that story set in the early days of World War One. The idea had come from my ancestor’s WW1 diary and an article on how people react when faced with fear and extreme danger. Example, a tough he-man turns to water and runs, the insignificant man or the quiet, unassuming woman show immense courage.
I spent many hours researching to ensure the story portrayed that era correctly, and I think I speak for all authors when I say I was immersed in the characters and their changing lives during that turbulent time in history. It didn’t matter that my fancy writing studio was, and still is, the small dining room table with the stray, now live in cat on my lap. I was with my characters all the way. Quite a few times I became stuck, I knew what I wanted but for the life of me I couldn’t find the right words or right scenes to get them there. I’d sit staring at my computer monitor, telling myself in in bad language I was dumb and to get on with it. Then, like all stories, it found its own feet and direction and I tagged along.
I submitted Behind the Clouds to a couple of publishers and was a bit stunned when Richard Savage, owner and publisher of Black Velvet Seductions, emailed. He liked my story. When the editing process began, Ric pushed me to do better and hammered me mercilessly on writing from the character’s Point Of View. I learned why I’d received rejection letters.
I was thrilled with the finished product, published in November, 2015.
As we all know, writing our story is a pleasure, it’s our creation. Promoting it is tough and can be very discouraging. I’m very aware that ‘one man’s meat is another’s poison’ goes for choices in books. So far, Behind The Clouds has received encouraging feedback and reviews. I hope I can accept negative feedback and criticism as a learning curve. My fingers are crossed!
I’m moving away from the historical romance genre and tackling a story of betrayal, deception and intrigue and of course the two main characters will fall in love, eventually.
Thank you again and I’m looking forward to saying hello to the writers submitting their stories to Let’s Talk Writing.
What did Viga Boland think of BEHIND THE CLOUDS?
Thank you Jan for sharing your reasons for writing with us. For all of you who have read Jan’s thoughts here, I hope you’ll take the time to leave her your comments below.
Remember, we want to hear YOUR thoughts on writing. Please submit your own article to LET’S TALK WRITING. Click that link to see what we’re looking for. Hope to hear from you soon.
And Jan, please come back and share more of your ideas on writing with us in the future. I, for one, would love to hear more about your experience of working with a publisher.