MY LONG AND WINDING PATH TO PUBLISHING FICTION by Rolynn Anderson
1. I have always been a voracious reader of fiction;
2. I earned bachelor, masters and education administration degrees, but never wrote fiction;
3. I taught English to junior high and high school kids, but never wrote fiction;
4. I was an adjunct professor at the U of W for seven years, but never wrote fiction;
5. I was a high school assistant principal for three years and a high school principal for four years, but never wrote fiction.
6. I wrote and published (copyrighted) two manuals that help teachers coach each other to improve instruction. No fiction here.
Yet, in 2000, when I said goodbye to a satisfying career as an educator, I decided my life’s goal was to write/publish fiction.
I can hear your brain-wheels turning and a deductive statement forming:
“She’s the kind of person who has to find out if she can do the thing she’s never done before.”
Yup. That’s me.
In the year 2000, I started writing fiction, spending about three hours every morning at my computer. My pace (happily interrupted by travel, gardening, golfing, and more reading of fiction) was a novel and ¼ a year. By 2002, I was attending conferences, sending in queries, entering contests, and learning that getting published was as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest.
Writing (and the work connected to it) edged up to four hours a day. The rejections started coming in.
Four books later, my first request for a full MS came in 2004. Rejected.
I wrote a vision/voice statement to guide my writing: I write about people who have the heart, vision and nascent ability to inspire, persuade and deftly lead others to improve the world. They accomplish this by learning to love well and by learning to work together for the good of a family/community.
In 2005, nobody wanted my suspense novel about a woman who was a golfer (BAD LIES), but everybody liked my idea about a boutique funeral planner with a fainting disorder, so I started writing FADEOUT.
More conferences, pitches, queries, synopses, contests, on-line coursework, critiques from strangers as well as friends and families. (Money going out…none coming in)
Got a domain, developed a website and blog, with a little help from professionals. By 2008, I’d added LAST RESORT to my growing list of ‘polished’ novels.
An aside: About this time, I heard a statistic, oddly helpful and shattering to me: “Writers of fiction are likely to publish after eight years of writing and/or after writing their eight polished book (assuming they’d done all the hard work required in trying to get published).” I plodded on, convinced that the more I wrote, the better I’d get.
In 2009, I got a mentor…one of her publishers was Wild Rose Press. I sent LAST RESORT to Wild Rose Press. On September 29, 2010, I GOT THE CALL!
Add it up: I’m writing three hours a day and doing the business supporting writing another three hours a day!
In 2011 Wild Rose published FADEOUT, the first in the boutique funeral planner suspense series.
In 2012, I tried my hand at self-publishing, when Wild Rose wouldn’t take my novel, SWOON, the 2nd in the funeral planner series…because the heroine sticks with the hero. (Wild Rose accepts that kind of plot these days)
In 2013, Wild Rose published LIE CATCHERS.
In 2014 I will self-publish a book already in the hands of my editor.
I’ve proven to myself I can write fiction that readers enjoy and I’ve learned that I’m not a one trick pony…my writing continues to improve. What I haven’t proven to myself is that I can get my books in to the hands of lots of readers. My name should get out there with five books published; statistics tell me I’ll need twenty of my books published to reach a big audience. Heavy sigh, here.
I’ll be talking to you again fifteen books into the future. Happy writing! Rolynn
Two unsolved murders will tear apart an Alaska fishing town unless a writer and a government agent reveal their secret obsessions.
Treasury agent Parker Browne is working undercover in Petersburg, Alaska to investigate a money scam and a murder. His prime suspect, Liv Hanson, is a freelance writer struggling to save her family’s business. Free spirited, full of life, and with a talent for catching liars, she fascinates Parker.
Trying to prove she’s a legitimate writer who cares about Petersburg’s issues, Liv pens a series of newspaper articles about an old, unsolved murder. When her cold case ties in with Parker’s investigation, bullets start to fly.
Parker understands money trails, and Liv knows the town residents. But he gave up on love two years ago, and she trusts no one, especially with her carefully guarded secret. If they mesh their skills to find the killers, will they survive the fallout?
Parker touched her shoulder. “May I have this dance?”Liv twirled to find him so close to her she could smell a hint of cologne and beer on his breath. Had he shaved before he came to the bar? Smiling at the thought he might have done that for her, she gave him her right hand and rested her left hand on his shirt collar, intent on finding a way to touch his chin to answer the shaving question.But the shave-or-not dilemma was a minor one. She’d already screwed up with one man tonight, would she make a wrong move with Parker, too?She drew her thumb along his chin and sighed at the silky smoothness. Forget the man’s mouthful of queries and his intense gaze. Just dance.While the singer’s lamented over loosing her mind, Liv’s body disappeared into into Parker’s. Soothed, she was and aroused at the same time, stunned that Parker knew not to use words. A close shave and a close dance spoke volumes. She was the silent one, afraid to say the one word that might start an avalanche of sentences, lowering her guard, exposing too much to the wrong person at the worst time. This man who held her or who she was holding—she didn’t know which—was a detective and she was on a list of murder suspects. Even if Parker was unorthodox as an investigator, he still held the power of his profession. The reason for his offer to dance wasn’t clear, was it?The strumming ended, emptying the room of the singer’s piercing ballad.“Good night, Liv. And thank you for the dance.”He kissed her on the forehead, walked out the door and closed it quietly, taking with him all the unasked questions she would never answer.
Available for purchase at Amazon.
Scandinavian, Army Brat, English Teacher, High School Principal, Golfer, Boater, World Traveler, Author. With her experiences, Rolynn Anderson is fairly bursting with stories about extraordinary people and amazing settings, real and contrived. Now add her competitive nature and her love of ‘the makeover.’ As a principal, she and the staff she hired, opened a cutting-edge high school; as co-captain with her husband on INTREPID, she cruises from Washington State to Alaska and back. As a writer, she delights in creating imperfect characters faced with extraordinary, transforming challenges. Her hope: You'll devour her ‘makeover’ suspense novels in the wee hours of the morning, because her stories, settings and characters, capture your imagination and your heart.
Connect with Rolynn: