Archive for May 29th, 2008

Hitting the road with a gang of geriatric biker witches

Or: How I sold my first novel

Sometimes in writing, like in life, you have to toss out what you know and just have fun. And boy did I learn that the hard way. I’ve always been an avid reader, so I thought I understood exactly what I needed to do to write a book of my own. I outlined, I planned, I made stacks of colored note cards. And I wrote three mysteries that didn’t sell.

Just as I was about to start on mystery number four, I realized something – I didn’t want to write another mystery. I wanted to write a funny paranormal. And worse, I hated outlining, and planning and I wanted to shove those cute, colored note cards into the wood chipper.

I opted for the compost heap instead. Then set out to build my own world where I could make up my own rules. I fell in love with the idea of a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and The Accidental Demon Slayer was born.

Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of ending my writing sessions thinking, “Is this good enough to impress an editor?” I ended them thinking, “No. I didn’t not just write that. I did not just make my character defend herself with a toilet brush and a can of Purple Prairie Clover air freshener.”

I giggled my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months. The book sold less than a week later. Who knew that by chucking my plan, I’d achieve my goal? And I think what I learned applies to more than just books. There’s something to be said for relaxing, having fun and following your instincts. Life is too short to do anything else.

The Accidental Demon Slayer is scheduled to be released from Dorchester on July 29. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can win an Advanced Reading Copy right here. One lucky commenter will win an ARC.

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