Back in 2005 when my first Christian novel, Scent of Lilacs, was published, I decided to have a book launch party to celebrate. While that was my fourteenth published novel, it had been several years since my last young adult book was published and Scent of Lilacs represented a new beginning for me. I was stepping into a new market with a Christian publishing company, Revell Books, after a discouraging time of rejections.
Through my writing career, I’ve had ups and downs in the publishing realm. My first two published books were historical romances in the general market. Then when I had difficulty placing another book with editors in that market, I re-invented my writing self and wrote books for young adults and middle readers. I had some fun years writing for this market. I loved the interaction with the young people and I enjoyed writing the coming of age stories. In fact, I just released one of my middle reader books, Freak of the Week, in October last year. It’s a fun story with some serious issues about verbal bullying in school and accepting others as they are.
But alas, back then, after publishing eleven books in this market, I began getting nothing but rejections for the books I was writing. So I went back to writing for adults and eventually wrote a book about a preacher and his family that landed me in the Christian market. Right where I needed to be. I like writing stories where I can include the faith journeys of my characters. Then my editor happened to tell me she was interested in Shaker history, and I happened to remember I’d once written a book about Shakers.
To make a very long story short, I rewrote that book. My editor liked it. The publishing company decided to take a chance on it and when it proved popular, my editor convinced me to write more Shaker books. That first Shaker novel, The Outsider, which had received plenty of rejections in the general market and then had a long rest on my closet shelf before I rewrote it for the Christian market, actually was a finalist for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Fiction Book of the Year. Amazing!
Here I am smiling about that, all dressed up in my glad rags. Note, if you look closely at the picture, you’ll see I was even wearing earrings. Probably because my daughter told me I had to. They were those clip on kind that pinch your ears since I never had my ears pierced. I won’t guarantee I wore them the entire evening, but looks like I did wear them long enough to take the picture. Oh, and though you can’t see them, I’m wearing high heels. Might take more than a rewards dinner to get me to wear heels that high again. LOL.
But back to party time. I started something when I had that first party to celebrate the release of Scent of Lilacs. I’ve had a book party for every title since then except for Freak of the Week but I’ll celebrate that book along with my new Hidden Springs mystery, Murder Is No Accident, this Sunday here in my hometown with my 17th or 18th Hometown Book Party. Hard to believe I’ve had that many, but then again, I think that’s right. Every time I plan the party, I wonder if anyone will show up, and every time (so far) somebody, actually several somebodies, have come to my party. We talk books. I try to find ways to make them smile and I have chocolate and door prizes. But could be I need to think up something new to say. That shouldn’t be hard this time since the setting of my Hidden Springs mysteries borrows a lot from Lawrenceburg. If you’re in the area, come on out Sunday. You can check out the details on my News & Events Page.
My favorite part of any talk I give is the question and answer time. So if you’re coming, bring your questions. If you can’t come, what question would you like to ask me? Ask me in a comment here and I’ll answer on Sunday. That’ll give me time to think up good answers. You can eat some chocolate while you’re thinking up your questions, and we can have a virtual party.
As always, thanks for reading.