Thanks to Fresh Fiction for having me today. I’ve had a terrific weekend with the release and signing of my second Harlequin American Romance, The Fake Fiancée. One question I’ve been asked at book signings that tickles me is, “Why did you keep writing?” (I hope the person asks this before they’ve read my work!) If you aren’t familiar with my story, I started writing when my kids were toddlers and didn’t get published until after they became teens. During this time, I finaled in several “prominent” Romance Writers of America chapter contests, had requests from editors to whom I pitched my work at conferences, and even landed on the senior editor’s desk. All to no avail. I guess it could be called a “lucky” thirteenth year when I sold.
So why did I stick with it? Stubbornness? Blind faith that someday I would sell? Well, maybe the first explanation. Because for six years, I’d lost the belief I’d ever see my work in print. Those were dark times. It wasn’t until one day when I had “people” in my head again that I realized the characters who usually inhabit my waking hours had been AWOL. Even my family commented how much happier I seemed. I made up stories for people I’d see on the street (bank robber, runaway bride, demon in disguise…) and realized I hadn’t been doing that either. My everyday creativity was back from its hiatus.
To paraphrase author Barbara Scott (Cast a Pale Shadow), when you have a block you just have to bulldoze through the wall, which in my case meant: keep writing. That’s what I had done. Without believing I’d sell, I wrote. Without characters or imagination, I wrote. (Gee, I wonder why nothing sold during that period!) Without creativity in my everyday life, I wrote. Eventually, I broke through the wall–which made the sell of my first book, Marrying the Boss, to Harlequin all the sweeter.
I doubt my story is unique. Think Man of La Mancha or The Little Engine That Could. I often say my most valuable writing advice came from Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never give up.” Please visit me at http://www.megankellybooks.com/or at the Harlequin American Romance authors blog, www.harauthors.blogspot.com/. And if you have something you really want, really NEED in your life, keep striving for it!