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Monday, November 08, 2010

Finding Homes for Stories - Donna Alward

Every now and then a story won't leave you alone. Every now and then, it takes a few tries to get it right. Sometimes it doesn't quite meet the needs of an editor. At that point you have a few questions to ask yourself: What is wrong with the story? And Is it worth reworking? In other words, how much do you believe in the story? And how far are you willing to go to revise it into the story it is meant to be?

I've had a couple of those books. Like my Harlequin Romance debut. I had written that story in an earlier ms. The Marriage of Convenience/pregnant heroine hook began oh, four books or so before I sold. I had a different hero, a different setting, and a lot to learn about writing. In short, it just didn't work. I believe I titled it The Reluctant Husband as a working title. I wrote it, I submitted it, it was rejected, I moved on.

But the idea wouldn't leave me alone. The heroine wouldn't either. So several books later I went back. I wrote the same story in a completely different way and it became Hired By The Cowboy. I believed in the story. I believed in it so much that I was willing to go back to square one and start from scratch.

Believing in it doesn't mean it's perfect the way it is. It just means you feel in your bones that it's worth pursuing - even if it means ripping it apart and rewriting.

I've only done that one other time and that's my current release, BREATHE. This was a very different story in its first form. My characters have altered backstories, different names, different perspectives. They are not from the same place they were when I wrote it the first time and that changed everything. It changed who they were and how they spoke and how they looked at things. But the core story remained the same, and so did the setting. I believed in it. I wanted to find this story a home. And in order to do that, massive revisions were in order to make it the kind of story it needed to be.

So I did that, and sent it off to my editor at Samhain Publishing, who e-mailed me back after reading it and said "thank you for writing this wonderful book and sending it to me."  She followed that up with "I want it."

Music to my ears. I am so, so happy that you now get to meet Jace and Anna and spend some time at Two Willows Winery.  And how about this cover? I love it. I've loved it since the draft of it first landed in my inbox.

BREATHE released on November 2 and you can purchase it from Samhain Publishing, Amazon Kindle or any other e-book retailer.

9 comments:

Cole said...

Hey Donna! I love this post. Can't wait to read Breathe!

Cole

Tara said...

I like to give me heroine's a mountain to move as it loosely follows my what I'm familiar with. I may park it and revisit again too...

Bev Pettersen said...

Donna, your editor sounds so supportive. What a lovely email to receive. Thanks for sharing the story behind Breathe and congratulations!

Donna Alward said...

Thanks you guys!

And Bev - she IS. She is such a blast to work with!

Linda Henderson said...

I can't wait to read this one. It sounds wonderful.

Nas Dean said...

I like the cover, and can't wait to read this book....but it's ebook so which means more time at the desktop.....uughh!
and what a supportive editor!

Mary said...

I'm so excited to read this one, sounds great.

Michele L. said...

I just love the cover too! What a lovely editor you have! Take care and congrats!

Christina Hollis said...

That's a beautiful cover, Donna. Persistence pays!