Monday, April 26, 2010

My 21st Birthday Romance – by Leigh D’Ansey

I sent my first partial to Mills and Boon in the UK in 1989. I still have the rejection letter. My writing was “fluent and lively” they said, but this submission didn’t quite work. The characters needed more spark. Encouraged by the friendly communication, I had another partial in the post before you could say “romance”.

This time the rejection letter was terser. I’d repeated the mistakes of the first submission. My characters still didn’t have “spark”. I thought I’d lit a bonfire under those people! My third submission resulted in the dreaded rejection slip—huh? How could I be getting worse instead of better?!

I was reading, I was writing—and I was merrily going my own way without analyzing how I was writing. I had only the slightest notion what might happen to my hero and heroine after the first three chapters and even less inkling about how to get them to the end of their story.

So I joined a writer’s group, I wrote short stories and most of them were published, I wrote freelance and poetry and I started my own niche magazine. I won a couple of awards. I got several more romances past the starting gates but nowhere near the finishing line. Along the way of course, there were the life events that give hiccups to our goals—divorce, children growing up, going away and coming home, grandchildren, parents growing older, the wolf howling at the door. Years went by.

One day I read about the Kara School of Writing run by Daphne Clair and Robyn Donald. I went, first to the beginners, and then to the advanced course. These weekends were exhausting, exhilarating and so inspiring. The advanced course required participants to complete a full-length manuscript. For the first time I crept past three chapters, interwove events, gave my characters some serious complications. Hey, I’d written a novel.

‘Kincaid’s Call’ was highly commended in the 2006 Clendon Award. Harlequin Mills and Boon reviewed the MS, sent extremely helpful two-page feedback, but suggested I didn’t resubmit the MS even after re-writing. I slipped it into a drawer.

Over the Christmas holidays of 2009 I decided my house needed de-cluttering. I found and re-read my MS. I wept. I loved Nathan Kincaid and Kate Summers, I wanted them to be able to tell their story out loud. Taking note of the feedback from Harlequin, I re-wrote and submitted a query to The Wild Rose Press. Within a short time I’d received a request for a partial, then for the full, then acceptance!

E-publishing still seems a little strange to me but the boost in confidence and the impetus to continue writing romance is hugely significant. I’ve been so impressed with the professional, timely communication from people at TWRP. I have a gorgeous cover proclaiming ‘Leigh D’Ansey’ as the author of ‘Kincaid’s Call’. After 21 years I’m an overnight success!

Thanks so much, Lucy, for this fabulous opportunity to be a guest on your blog.

Leigh D’Ansey

52 comments:

Katy M said...

What an amazing success story! I'm so glad you stuck with it. Congratulations!

Valerie said...

I'm going to have to find your book, right away! I'm so glad you didn't give up. Epublishing has opened up doors for some amazing authors. So many that I started out reading in epub like Lora Leigh, MJ Davidson and Anya Bast (this list goes on and on) seemed to have really honed their craft in epublishing and then been picked up by the print publishing houses. Not only that, but these authors have helped shape what a lot of us are reading today. Who would have thought that Berkley would be printing Breed books. It really does prove that if you work at it, and hang in there, taking a risk now and then that anything is possible.

chelleyreads said...

thanks for sharing your story leigh! as a reader i like reading about an author's journey--very inspiring. congrats on all your success :)

Raonaid Luckwell said...

I have to agree with Katy, that is a wonderful success story, especially how you never really gave up writing.

Sherry said...

I'm glad you didn't give up. I'm one of those people that take rejection to heart and I'm not sure if I'd have enough belief in my work to try again.

sstrode@scrtc.com

Jennifer Mathis said...

Congrats for sticking to your guns

Valerie said...

Well, obviously I'm going to have to wait until May 12th to actually own it. :)

Andrea Becraft said...

Thanks for blogging with us!

I am happy you finally made success in what you want to do! I love the cover of the book.

Jane said...

Congrats on all your success, Leigh.

GladysMP said...

I am glad you didn't give up on writing. Maybe the life experiences you encountered before success came gave you some added material to work with...who knows. We learn in so many different ways that we maybe don't truly appreciate. Remember "Experience is the best teacher."

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Thanks Katy M! I'm glad I stuck with it too. Onwards and upwards from here!

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Hi Valerie! Kincaid's Call will be released 12 May from The Wild Rose Press. E-publishing still seems a little strange to me so it's really valuable for me to read your comments. Thanks so much!

Stephanie said...

What a Terrific story! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Thanks so much to everyone who's left comments. It really means a lot to me - sitting here with tears in my eyes.

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Hi Gladys - you are so right. I don't believe I had the insight in my 20s that I have now - not always an easy road but one worth travelling. Thanks so much for your interest.

Lillie said...

Congrats on publishing your first novel!

Refhater said...

Congratulations! Thanks for sharing with us.

Toni said...

I really liked your story and am glad that you stuck with it and we now have some great books to read.
Toni

Nancy G said...

I happy to see you never gave up. That gives hope to all of the aspiring writers out there that perseverance pays off. I doubt that I will ever finish my WIP but I will keep trying.

Modokker said...

Wow that that is a really cool success story. I'm sure you'd rather it went quicker but i'm wondering if you'd have appreciated all you learned getting there. I'd admire how you stuck with it and succeeded!

Lisa

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Leigh, I know a few writers who've had the same experience as you with submitting to M&B. So you're not unusual. Great that you have found a home for your book. Love the cover BTW. Good luck with it!

Linda Henderson said...

I'm glad you got your story published. I don't know how you authors do it with the writing then rewriting, editing, all the things that I don't think about when I'm picking up a book to read. Before I started following blogs I had no idea the blood, sweat and tears you authors put into your books. I have a deep respect for anyone that writes.

seriousreader at live dot com

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Nancy - I'm sure you will finish your WIP - hang in there!

Lil said...

What a fantastic story to share. Congratulations on the imminent release of Kincaid's Call

flchen1 said...

What a beautiful story of perseverance, Leigh--good for you for hanging in there! I'm glad TWRP will be releasing Kincaid's Call for us all to enjoy, and best wishes for your next sale! Keep on writing! :)

Melanie said...

Wow Leigh, I guess it just shows that you need to stick with your passion no matter how long it takes and it will pay off in the end. Can't wait to read the book.

LM's Drama Queen said...

What an inspiring story! I truly admire your determination and look how it paid off! I hope we can all show a little of that same determination in our own lives:) As I learned from Coco Chanel, don't ever give up because you never know when you're going to have a date with destiny!

XOX
~*DQ*~

Maria said...

Congratulations- I'm glad that you stuck with it and kept resubmitting.

Terry's Crafty Fingers said...

Congratulations on your book. I'm glad you stuck to it. I can't wait to read the entire story.

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Thanks again to everyone who's taken the time to comment - it's so uplifting to have such amazing encouragement and support. Your messages will be inspirational in helping me finish my next MS.

Denise said...

Leigh, you give us all hope that want to continue writing. So thanks for your advice and inspiration. I have kept some rejection letters myself over the years. Wishing you the best of luck!

http://denisealicea.com
http://thepenmuse.com

erahime said...

It's so nice to hear about an author's struggles toward publication. Nice being that the story has a happy ending: YOU GOT PUBLISHED!

That takes perseverance, determination, a strong will, and drive. Basically, those words say the same thing.

For you: CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Hope to read more...and more...and MORE books into the future from you!

Natasha A. said...

Wonderful success story!!

sonya said...

awesome sucess story

WK said...

ohh what a great story!
I'll have to look for this book!!!
hugs,
WendyK

Rhea said...

What a fantastic story Leigh. A great inspiration, never give up your dreams. Congratulations.

LDee said...

Wow lady, I really love the cover for Kincaids Call.
Nice to meet you.

donnas said...

Great story. Thanks so much for sharing your path to publication. I love hearing about how it all came to pass. And about how people have followed their dreams and never given up what they wanted.

Zina Lynch said...

Wow what a great succcess story, good for you for not ever really giving up, and here's to much more success.
Zina

Beth said...

Great story. And aren't you glad that you never gave up.

Lucy Monroe said...

Leigh...thanks so much for participating in the RAH Conference! I loved your blog! The path to publication can test the deepest resources in our souls - yours proved true. Well done! :)

Cathy M said...

How wonderful that two of your favorite characters can now be shared with us.

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Thanks, Lucy! Participating in your RaH blog has been an awesome experience.

red said...

Leigh, your road to being a published author just proves that you can never give up on your dreams.

Best of luck with your writing!

Moran

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

I'm so happy for you that your story was published. However, please don't give up on Mills and Boon, I'm sure you'll get published!

Rebecca Ringler said...

Very interesting blog & I love reading the comments!

booklover0226 said...

You're a new author for me but I'm sure not for long. I look forward in reading your works.

Thanks,
Tracey D

Sue A. said...

What a great story of perseverance paying off!

Dannyfiredragon said...

Big congrats Leigh, epublishing has it's big advantages

Margay said...

Well, that just goes to show you that what isn't right for one is right for another. And that we should never give up on our dreams.
Margay

Carol L. said...

That's amazing. I'm s glad you decided to declutter your house. :) Now I get to read Kincaid's Call.Love the name and enjoyed your post.
Carol L.
Lucky4750@aol.com

etirv said...

I love Leigh's personal story!