Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Shari Anton | Whatever made you think you could write a novel?

July 1, 2008

How often have you read a bio where the author states she’s been making up stories since she was in elementary school? I’m not one of those authors.

Sure, I got good grades in English class. I didn’t grumble when the teacher assigned a five-page essay because that wasn’t torture for me. Reading literature was a joy and the book reports were a breeze. However, if someone had told me then that I would someday write a 400 page manuscript and have it published I would have laughed hysterically.

I needed a practical education. Like many females of my age group, I took the courses needed to get into college along with a bunch of secretarial courses as back up if the college thing didn’t work out. Including Gregg shorthand. Does anyone remember shorthand? I didn’t think so.

Well, college didn’t work out. And I got married and had kids. So over the course of the years I’ve had several jobs – sometimes part time, and occasionally full time, alternating with the times I needed to be a full time Mom (which I was so glad I was able to do and wouldn’t give up those years for anything!).

During one of the Mom times I got hooked on Romance, especially historical romance. I can remember trolling the book aisle at K-Mart for any cover that featured a cowboy, knight, or pirate. Hmmm … I still tend to do that, but now I’m usually in the bookstore, and I have my favorite authors, and there all those lovely Victorian and Regency books … but I digress.

One of my full time jobs was for a brand new company. We needed everything from purchase orders and invoices to marketing brochures and technical manuals. As you can imagine, some of the writing I was doing was rather dry and boring. Looking for help, I decided to take a creative writing class, thinking I could pick up some tips on how to jazz things up.

Discovering how much fun writing fiction could be was like the proverbial slap upside the head. The poetry section was interesting and the essays weren’t challenging. Then we began writing short stories. Ideas flowed. Writing was exciting. My stories were always too long and convoluted for the form. I needed to write a novel. To my amazement, I sold EMILY’S CAPTAIN (March 1997), and suddenly had the writing career I’d dreamed of. MAGIC IN HIS KISS (July 2008), is my twelfth novel.

I sometimes look back at my temerity and wonder where the passion, determination, and confidence came from. But then, no one has ever accused me of being shy or timid, either. A friend of mine says he tries to do something every day that he’s just a little afraid to do. What have you done lately that gave you a moment’s pause – but you forged ahead and completed the task, or survived despite the danger, or changed your life – and you’re so glad you persevered?

Shari Anton

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