Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Clare Austin - Another day…another blog.

Thank you for having me here today. I’ve got to admit this has been an overwhelming last two weeks. My novel Butterfly is now available. I knew this was coming but somehow it always loomed from far in the future.
I contracted Butterfly in March of 2008. That now feels like a very long time ago. But the year has sped by. I’ve since sold two other books…Angel’s Share, due to release March 2010 and Hot Flash, no release date yet.
As I think about it, the path to publication all moved at a very rapid pace for me…if I don’t count the decades when my stories waited, in my imagination, for me to sit down at put them to paper. (In my case “paper” is always virtual…I have never written more than notes and ideas on actual paper.)
Four year ago I decided I really could write a novel I bought myself a laptop, sat down, put the foot rest up on the recliner in my bedroom and started to write. I wrote for a month and came out with a book…from beginning to end about four hundred pages. It really did have a plot, a beginning, middle and an incredibly cheesy end.
Then I panicked. Was this my only story? So, I wrote three more that year. Butterfly was number four. The difference with Butterfly was that I wrote for a specific market…romance. I played by the rules. I had a definite goal—to be published. Still, Butterfly is unique, my voice, my style, my imagination. Notice I said I wrote to a goal, not a formula. If anyone tries to tell you they have a formula and if you just follow the simple rules and fill in the blanks you will have a novel…thank them but don’t write a check for their workshop. If writing were that easy everyone would be published. If your story doesn’t beg to be told, hammer on the insides of your cranium until you let it out, haunt you until you are talking to your characters out loud in public (well, this might not happen to all of us…I might just be a little crazy.) then, it won’t keep your reader up at night either.
One of the questions I am often asked by unpublished writers is something like…isn’t it a terrible feeling to have an editor tell you to change, cut or delete a scene in your book…your baby? My simple answer is “no.”
I’ll tell you why. The business of publishing is just that…a business. You may be the next James Joyce, but an agent or editor doesn’t care unless he or she can sell your work and make a profit. That, dreamers out there, is the bottom line. This fact does not have to stop you from being a great writer, a creative writer.
If you really want to be published: write the best you can, finish what you start, know your market and write to that market and, most important, do it because it is your heart’s desire.
Thank you for having me on your blog today.
Clare Austin

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