My latest tidbit was brought home to me by friend, Kaki Warner. I first noticed Kaki from the contest circuit. She's a writing veteran, like myself. Just about every contest she entered she placed if not won, yet year after year she wasn't snatched up. I couldn't help wondering why not.
Well, I'm thrilled to say her time finally came and she was recognized in spades by Berkley with a three book contract! Now I wonder if she's a little bitter about not having sold earlier. She calls herself a 25yr overnight success. But is that really a bad thing????
25 years is a little excessive for a person of my limited patience (just ask any Scribe about Theresa-time), but . . . as I read her first book, Pieces of Sky, out this January. Maybe it was worth the wait. 'cause it's good. It's VERY good. And not just the cover, though that is beautiful as well.
Her first chapter opens with enough building conflict to make even Don Maass giddy. She is a master at using details to really pull me into scenes, without going overboard and slowing plot. Her prose is well-written and expressions so unique that I had to find out where she got all those crazy cowboy saings. Her sensual tension is sprinkled throughout with finesse and her love scenes quite tasteful. If you ever wonder how to write making your setting standout as a character, study Kaki's book. She does it beautifully. And, she writes each character with a different voice and personality--even the big silent type like Hank.
As a seasoned writer, I've become cynical and extremely picky about what I read, and Kaki's first book is extremely well done. I can't wait to read the next one, Open Country, out in June--I believe. So my point is not to push a friend's book, but it's to point out that she's given me real hope, because when Kaki finally sold, her book is really something she should be proud of.
There are a LOT of first time authors who are published and --in this readers opinion--couldn't say the same. It happened too earlier for them. Their first, and even second or third books, are not all that well written. Perhaps they would have been a little better off struggling and learning more about their craft before they snatched that brass ring. Not that any one of us would pass up that opportunity to publish if it fell into our laps. Let's be honest! Can you see it? No thank you Grand Central Editor, I really don't think my story is good enough to publish just yet, maybe next year.
So there's hope for this old writing veteran that when my time comes, I'm hoping I've learned and continue to learn so much about this craft that when that first book (and the others after it) are published, I'll hold my head up high and know that I've put out there a quality product. I'm hoping God's path similarly rewards my reluctant patience.
Tina Radcliff is another veteran (inspirational romance author) who has just sold her first book-- can't wait to see if she supports my theory. I bet she does!
What do you think? Does a little more author time spent in the trenches tend to produce better quality stories?