Title of your new book: ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED
Pitch your book in 50 words or less: Think your love life is rotten? Meet Julie Burns, an L.A. entertaiment lawyer who, after being dumped and disgraced by her boyfriend, is now re-entering dating hell. All because she wants to find that one elusive commodity: a decent guy . . . who steals her heart, of course.
What was one of the best things about writing this book?
I finally got to do something with all those bad date stories!
Tell us about your journey to publication.
I wrote the first five drafts of ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED over the course of a year and then started looking for an agent. After about 50 rejection letters, some of which were very nice and showed that the agent had actually read the book, I felt like I was about 90% of the way there, but I just didn’t know how to fix it. (The advice in the agents’ responses was always contradictory.) I decided to submit my book for a manuscript consultation at UCLA Extension where the school pairs you with an instructor who acts as your editor. What I received back was 8 single-spaced typed pages of notes. After a weekend of feeling sorry for myself, I got to work and spent four to five months re-writing the book. When I submitted the manuscript the second time, I received a half-page e-mail in response basically telling me I was done. I still let the book sit on my desk for another year while I planned a wedding and otherwise procrastinated, but once I finally started submitting it again, it all happened pretty quickly. I found an agent in a couple of months, and she sold the book to NAL a few months after that. A year and a half later, there’s a book on the shelf with my name on it, and I’m still amazed.
As a published author, what three pieces of advice would you offer to aspiring-to-be-published authors?
First, keep writing. You really do get better the more you do it.
Second, be persistent. Rejection letters suck, and I still take them personally, but you have to keep sending your work out if you want to be published.
Third, make sure the first ten pages of your manuscript are the best they can possibly be. I was shocked when my editor at NAL told me that if a manuscript doesn’t grab her in the first ten pages she doesn’t bother reading the rest. It won’t matter that your book gets really good at page 50 because the editor won’t read that far.
How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?
Between working (I still have a day job) and writing, I don’t have a lot of free time these days. But I do like to spend time with my husband, watch a few favorite shows on TV, and see plenty of movies. I also read a lot of books on the treadmill at the gym–I do like to multi-task 🙂
What three things make you feel the most feminine?
Push-up bras, pedicures, and sleeping in the nude.
Word Association. What comes to mind when you read the following words:
ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED: Poor Julie Burns
WRITING: When it’s going well, it’s the highest high.
What are you currently working on?
I just started writing my third book, which is a chick lit/mystery cross-over, and I’m spending a lot of time thinking about my fourth book, which I can’t quite figure out what it is.
Dream-on: You’ve been greenlighted to do any creative project you want. What project would that be?
Writing either my third or fourth book full-time.