Since I published my first novel, The Problem with Power, several people have asked me how to write a novel and get it published. The truth is that I’ve written one book in my life, total. I don’t have any brilliant insights, and I certainly don’t have any real connections that can make anyone else the next great American novelist. That’s all I can offer is my experience, and whether that’s of any value is up to you.
The first thing to do when writing a novel is to actually sit down and finish the novel. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Finishing the novel is a lot harder than it sounds. For me, it took a little less than a year to complete my book. Some days I found that I could knock out twenty pages in a few hours. Some days I gave up after twenty minutes because I couldn’t justify something as selfish as writing when the house was destroyed, my husband couldn’t remember my name, and my son needed a bath. Somehow, in the midst of this, I just did it. I finished the book.
Through research and extensive letter writing, I managed to find a small but awesome house that was interested in the book. I also found a lot of other firms that were not interested in the book. I received a total of 60 rejections, and I was just about to scrap the whole project when the editor at Crescent Moon wrote and requested my manuscript. A few weeks later, she came back with a laundry list of changes that she wanted, then asked me to resubmit. I followed her list to the exact instruction, spent a month rewriting, had the book beta-read (a step I should have done before the initial round of submissions), and sent it back. This time they took it, and they offered me a contract. I took it.
This didn’t mean that the book was done though. The consequence of constantly writing amid severe distractions was that my final product was still needed work. Moreover, it needed flat-out rewriting in several places. I also have a terrible tendency of repeating myself when I write. That means I often repeat myself when I write. I spent a lot of time fixing that. The words of my thesis director rang out in my head, and this is perhaps the best advice that I’ve ever gotten in my writing career. He said: “It’s okay to be a shitty writer as long as you’re an excellent rewriter.”
I wasn’t an excellent rewriter either. There are pieces in the finished book that I really wish I’d done differently. The book still contains things like poor word choices, a character who veered left when he should have veered right, and other mistakes that are glaringly obvious to me whenever I pick up the book. There were little things that slid by both myself and my editor as we together tried to make sense of my book and to correct as many of the mistakes as we could find.
That said, I’m really glad that I finished writing the book. I hope that people enjoy reading it. And I hope that when you’re in the midst of my tale about a kickass woman who is fighting for control of her destiny, you won’t pause at the occasional comma splice J
The Problem with Power
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Number of pages:306
Word Count: 96,000
Emily VonPeer hopes that she never meets the man of her dreams. For years, she's been haunted by visions of an unknown lover destined to die in her arms. When her aunt's death brings her home to her family's estate in Upstate New York, she meets Nicholas Flynn, an agent of Paladin, an enterprise dedicated to the study and eradication of demons, and the hero of her nighttime fantasies. He arrives on her doorstep seeking answers for a slew of magically-related murders tied to the VonPeer family.
Although his intentions are suspect, Emily follows Nicholas into the investigation, hoping to spare him the fate promised by her premonitions - at least, that's what she tells herself. When their exchange with a demon goes awry, Emily sustains an injury that threatens to turn her into a monster. Her transformation places her in the crosshairs of sorcerers, senators, and a seductive stranger who promises eternity.
About the Author :
Agnes Jayne began her writing career as a reporter for her high school newspaper in a small town in Northern New York. She completed her undergraduate degree in English and Political Science from Binghamton University. Upon her graduation from Binghamton University, she won a prestigious journalism fellowship at the New York State Senate, and went on to complete a Master of Arts Degree in English at the University of Albany. Following this, she worked as a political writer, producing speeches and other government documents for state and local politicians.
These days, she splits her time between writing and teaching classes in composition and literature at a small college in Maryland. She lives high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia with her husband, son, and a plethora of adopted pets.