Please join me in welcoming Nina Benneton to Debbie's Book Bag today. Nina is here to promote the release of her book, Compulsively Mr. Darcy. The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for two print copies of Nina's book and the author is also providing a e-book copy for one international winner. Please see details at the end of the post.
My journey to publishing happened because I didn't want to die by falling or drowning.
A few years ago, during a trip to New York City with a college friend, I was confronted with the realization that, despite what I'd accomplished professionally since graduating from college, the fears I had when I first entered college with were still with me. (During freshmen week, I'd bragged to my roommate that I'd conquer my fear of height, of water, and of writing by the time I left college. Whenever there was a writing assignment, I was one of those deer-in-headlights students.)
Fed up with my refusal to go up to the top of Statue of Liberty or go on a boat tour around New York City's harbor, my old college roommate decided she was going to teach me to swim in the hotel's rooftop pool.
Hearing that, my yellow-bellied heart fibrillated so hard I was in danger of a having a myocardial infarction right there in the lobby of the Holiday Inn on West 57th street in Midtown Manhattan. I begged, "No, please. I'd do anything else. I'll learn what an imperfect tense is. I'll write a novel."
I wasn't serious about writing a novel then, of course, but I survived that trip without drowning or falling off a hotel's roof.
Some time later, forced to lay quietly on the couch for a few weeks to recuperate from an injury, I decided to conquer my fear of writing. Writing fiction, in particular. I'd done some technical science writing, but writing fiction required discipline, talent, passion. A driven person, I knew I had the first down, but I wasn't sure I had the last two ingredients.
I wrote a few short stories—serious, literary kind of short stories modeled after stories I loved to read in 'The New Yorker.' Problem was, besides aiming too high, I wasn't a 'The New Yorker' type of writer. My voice was too irreverent. No talent or passion.
Passion. I had passion for the iconic literary hero Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. What if I write a modern Mr. Darcy? A modern Mr. Darcy beset by fears. Fear of calamities. Fear of getting too close to others. Fear of getting too close to others' germs.
I wrote the story. Test readers, some who loved Jane Austen and some who didn't, laughed and laughed. Making people laugh was addictive. Perhaps there's a glimmer of talent.
The clincher on my road to publishing was that I found a kindred-spirit friend, Pamala Knight of Chicago North RWA, who also loved Jane Austen, and she loved my writing voice. We took writing classes together to improve our craft. Pamala pushed and kicked and threatened me with dismemberment if I didn't pitch the story to an editor and a short-list of agents she'd personally handpicked for me. Because I was fearful of Pamala's wrath, I did as I was told.
The agent, the editor, both laughed and signed me. I laughed because I'd conquered one fear.
I'd tackle heights and water, but I'm afraid I'm too busy working on three novels concurrently to parachute out of a plane or go deep sea diving.
Raise your hand if you don't have any fear? Okay, those who've raised their hands can go away. The rest of you, please leave a comment and share what fear you'd love to tackle. A bottle of hand sanitizer in hand, Compulsively Mr. Darcy is ready to shake your hand and listen.
Sourcebooks will give away two print copies of Compulsively Mr. Darcy to US & Canada readers. The author is also providing an e-book copy for one international reader.
~ You must be a GFC follower or an e-mail subscriber to participate.
~ US and Canadian Addresses only for the print copies. International on the e-book copy!
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST February 29th.
1. Please answer Nina's question. What fear would you love to tackle?
2. Please fill out the FORM.