It has been just such a day in the world of Michelle Garren Flye’s literary ambitions. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “silence is deafening.” I can’t hear a damn thing when it comes to my writing.
Most days I soar on wings of expectation. SECRETS OF THE LOTUS is my first novel. I know it’s good. Who cares if it’s only sold a few copies and the three AMAZON reviews, while favorable, are easily recognizable as people I know (and I love all three of you!)? It’s a tough market. I’ll break through. Maybe with my next one, WINTER SOLSTICE, slated to be published by Lyrical Press, Inc. in August 2011.
If not that one, surely ALWAYS FAITHFUL (working title) will do it. I’ve already sent this one out to agents. The story of this one is significantly meatier (meaning there’s more to it, more to sink your teeth into) than either SECRETS or SOLSTICE. You might even go so far as to call this one Chick Lit instead of just Romance. And what have I heard from the agents I’ve queried?
……………….. (crickets chirping) ……………………..
And yet, in spite of all this, I can’t help but hope. I believe in my books. I believe in my writing. I believe I’m writing what I’m meant to write (sex scenes and all!).
To top it all off, I’m reading a perfectly marvelous book. MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson. Now, I know I’ve been known to plug authors I know on here (although never undeservedly). I don’t know Ms. Simonson, but I’m adding her to my favorite writers, a list which includes Alice Hoffman and Barbara Kingsolver, among others. Understand that these are not just writers I like or even love. These are writers who write the way I will always strive to, though I have no real anticipation of getting there. Surprisingly — maybe — most of the authors on this list are female. And I don’t know any of them.
I’m not really sure why reading such excellent writing from somebody else should give me such hope. Turns out MAJOR PETTIGREW’S is Simonson’s first novel. Shouldn’t I be jealous that she achieved so much with her first novel when mine has sold just a handful of copies?
Nah. I think I can compare this joy of reading something truly wonderful somehow to the Major’s rediscovery of how to “enjoy listening” (page 103). The Major claims his ears became numb listening to students read in a monotone. I become somewhat the same reading books that are “good” (like my own). Good is fine, good is great, but it’s not inspirational unless we strive to achieve more. My thanks to Helen Simonson for reintroducing me to the joy of reading, waking my numb reader’s ears and giving me hope.
Just a note to say thanks for the kind words about Major Pettigrew and I too dream of writing like Hoffman or Kingsolver (or Toni Morrison, or A. S. Byatt, or David Mitchell…)
Took me 12 years to get published so don’t give up. Slow down, take a deep breath, write in your authentic voice – and let the chips fall as they may. There is nothing wrong with quality romance writing – I’m a huge Georgette Heyer fan myself – but here’s to encouraging we stay-at-home-mom writers to go for whatever genre we want! Best wishes and keep on writing. Helen Simonson
Hi Helen! Thank you for the kind and encouraging words. I am truly loving your book, and I am sort of thrilled that you stopped by to say hey. 🙂 And you’re absolutely right about writing what you like to write. I spent so many years trying to write something else, I lost the joy of it. When I tried writing romance again, I found I loved it and was actually good at it. Anyway, thanks for making my day a little brighter!
what a lovely and gracious post. I’ll put Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand on my list!
Ahh Michelle, You are a terrific writer–one of my favorites and NOT because I know you. Remember I first read you before I met you! Getting to work with you has always been the added benefit. You will get there. This I am sure of. And, isn’t awesome that Mrs. Simonson commented? Keep plugging away, Michelle. You’re going to get there–sooner rather than later…