Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Writing Life by Margot Kinberg, Guest Blogger

I'm delighted to have Margot Kinberg as my guest today. I've been following her on Twitter and visiting her blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, for quite a while, so it's fun to learn how she began to write and then achieved publication of her mystery series. This is her story.

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My Writing Life by Margot Kinberg

Some people know that they want to write fiction from the time they’re quite young. I’m not one of those people. I’d written a few (thankfully unpublished) short stories, and some (also thankfully unpublished) poetry. Most of my writing was academic; articles, scholarly books and conference presentations. But from the time I was young, I always loved mysteries. I’ve read all kinds of mysteries, too: Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, P.D. James, Dorothy Sayers, Colin Dexter and lots more. I’d never thought much about writing a mystery myself, and then everything changed.

One evening, I was at the dinner table with my husband and daughter and we were talking about some of the ins and outs of academic life. I mentioned that it would make a great murder mystery, and both my husband and daughter said I should write one. We spent the rest of the meal talking about the characters, the victim and the plot. At first, I thought it was just a flight of fancy, but before long, I decided I really would try to write a murder mystery.

For the next year, I wrote whenever I could and created my first mystery novel. I got invaluable help from my beta-readers and support from my family. When my manuscript was finished, I sent it around to a few agents and publishers, but got rejected. I think that’s one thing that aspiring writers need to remember; rejection happens. I think one important key is finding the right publisher. A rejection may simply mean that one’s work isn’t a good fit for a publisher. But finally, my first novel, Publish or Perish, was accepted. I was thrilled that it had been accepted, and even more so when I saw the cover art and the final galley of the book.

After Publish or Perish was accepted, I decided to turn my book into a series and began to write the second book in my Joel Williams series, B-Very Flat. B-Very Flat was published in April, and right now, I’m on my third novel, which for right now I’m calling Dying to See You.

My writing life hasn’t exactly been a traditional one, but I’m very excited at how it’s been going. I’m greatly helped on this writing journey by the support and feedback I get from my beta readers; they always tell me the truth about my work, and that’s important. I also learn a great deal and get a lot of help from the online community of crime fiction fans and the online community of writers that I’ve been privileged to join. We all face similar challenges, and that’s immensely helpful to me. Finally, and most importantly, I value the support I get from my family, who started it all. ; )

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Thanks a bunch, Margot, for sharing your story with us today. It's a pleasure learning more about you and your writing.

Readers who would like to see the book trailer for B-Very Flat, can check it out at You Tube, or just scroll down to the bottom of the page on Margot's blog.

40 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thank you so much for hosting me : ). I am honored, and I appreciate the hospitality.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Margot, I'm like you. I enjoyed writing, but never visualized myself as an author. Until very recently that is.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I love reading how authors get to where they are now! I don't think many of us find a traditional route to publication. Sounds like your family was very supportive in encouraging you to write and your beta readers have been wonderful, too!

Margot Kinberg said...

Alex - I know what you mean. I think the path to writing really starts when we think of ourselves as authors.


Elizabeth - You are so right! A lot of us find our own way to publication. Sometimes it's traditional; sometimes not. And yes, my family has been so helpful, supportive and, well, wonderful, and they and my beta readers are the reason anything I write ever gets published.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning! Margot, it's my pleasure to have you here.

And hi to you early birds. Do I need to start posting at 4:00 AM Colorado time to get to the computer before you do?

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A most enjoyable post , I never in my wildest dreams when younger would envisage me writing poetry and having a book published, At school I detested poetry and having to read it out in front of the claas was a formidable event.

I didn't write my first poem until about 15/16 years ago.
Thank you for a most enjoyable read.

Yvonne,.

Clarissa Draper said...

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who started writing at a late age. I wish I could say I wrote a lot growing up but I never did. Nor did I ever want to be a writer.

CD

Margot Kinberg said...

Yvonne - I think a lot of schoolchildren start by not liking poetry. It's an acquired art and taste. I have so much respect and admiration for you, too, since you are poet. Poets are such linguistic artists, in a way I never could be.


Clarissa - No, you're by no means the only one who didn't come to fiction writing until a little later in life. I really hadn't much thought of doing it, myself. I like to think it's a reminder that one's never too old to do something and to find new paths.

Terry Odell said...

I'm another 'late in life' writer who loves reading mysteries. Trouble was, they ended up being published as romances! But at the core, they're still mysteries. With relationships. I don't think it's ever too late to learn some new tricks. Thanks for sharing your story.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Margot Kinberg said...

Terry - Oh, I agree completely. I like to think of life as a process of "becoming," not "being." That includes things like writing. I know what you mean, too, about how different people view the same book. Your writing is called romance, mystery and mystery/romance, depending on whom one asks. One could say that about a lot of other authors, too. Maybe that's as it should be; why "pigeonhole" a book?

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I'm like you Margot. I never thought of myself as an author till long after my 30th birthday.
Loved reading about how you got started, Margot, and thank you, Patricia for hosting her.

Karen Walker said...

Oh, I love this story of how you got started, Margot. I started writing seriously when I turned 50. I also started singing then and learning to play the guitar, so no, it's never too late. Thank you both for this inspirational story.
Karen

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - Ah, another writer who didn't make her voice heard right away in life. It's surprising to me how many of us there are! I wonder whether writing is something that just sometimes takes some time to evolve? Or life experience?

Margot Kinberg said...

Karen - Thank you for the kind words! : ). And I love it that you also started singing and making music a little later in life, too. How wonderful, isn't it, that we can start new things any time. Maybe Led Zeppelin was right: "There's still time to change the road you're on..." ; )

Hemmie said...

I love posts like this, as they fill me full of hope that one day I'll make it.
Take care

Stephen Tremp said...

Its so important to have the family involved in an endeavor like this. Now my kids want to be writers too. Its a family affair. Best wishes for your continued success.

Stephen Tremp

Patricia Stoltey said...

Reinventing ourselves as we grow older and wiser is quite an adventure, isn't it? I've changed my own road so many times, you'd think I'd be hopelessly lost. But if I am, I'm loving it. :)

Margot Kinberg said...

Hemmie - Thank you : ). I think that seeing yourself as a writer with writing goals is a big part of this journey. That plus perseverance. And chocolate. You will get there : ).

Margot Kinberg said...

Stephen - Thank you : ). And I agree completely; having one's family "on the team" is absolutely crucial. You're fortunate, as am I, that your family is involved. Funny thing you'd mention that, too; last night, I actually used my 19-year-old daughter as an expert source for my research on my WIP. She was flattered I consulted her, and I think, thought it was quite cool to be involved.

Patricia - I love that word, "reinventing." That's exactly what it is, isn't it? And I'm loving changing roads and discovering along the way the person I'm turning out to be.

Ann Best said...

I've written and wanted to write since I was in first grade, but I, too, have reinvented myself as I've gone along.

I enjoyed your interview very much, Margot. And thank you, Pat, for hosting her.
Ann

Margot Kinberg said...

Ann - Thank you : ). I think we all reinvent ourselves at some level. I think it's wonderful that you've been writing, and enjoyed it, for as long as you have. There are times that I wish I'd really focused on it sooner.

Bob Sanchez said...

An agent once asked me if my wife read my drafts, and I said that no, she did her own thing and let me do mine. The agent thought my wife was being so helpful, staying out of my way!

Thanks for the good post, Margot. Publish or Perish is such a great title.

Lisa_Gibson said...

Great guest post. It interesting to hear how authors start out on their path of writing.
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Margot Kinberg said...

Bob - How interesting about that agent. Isn't it fascinating that sometimes, contributing is being supportive and sometimes, staying out of it is....
And thanks for the kind remarks; I admit I was proud of that title : ).



Lisa - Thank you. I always like learning about authors' journeys, too.

Alexandra Crocodile said...

Thanks for sharing, Margot and Patricia! It was interesting.

Margot Kinberg said...

Alexandra - Glad you found my ramblings interesting : ). Thanks for coming by.

Jemi Fraser said...

That was fun! I didn't seriously consider writing for a living until fairly recently either. I've always written for fun - but that is something quite different. :)

Margot Kinberg said...

Jemi - Thanks! Oh, that is so true, too! Writing for fun is different from writing as a career, or even an avocation. Still, there is a lot of pleasure in the writing life, too. I couldn't imagine myself not writing...

Dorte H said...

Thank you for this more personal post. And of course I love hearing that you - and so many of your commenters - have had late debuts. I can see now that I won´t have a novel published before I am fifty, but who knows? The wonderful thing about writing is that as long as you can hit those keys it is never too late!

Margot Kinberg said...

Dorte - You are completely right! It really isn't too late to start writing as long as you can use that keyboard, or pay someone else to do the typing. Good ideas know no age limits. And I am sure your cosy is going to be wonderful!

Patricia Stoltey said...

These late debuts come with more life experience, patience, and an extra dose of wisdom, too.

Ellie said...

Margot you give me hope; There isn't anything traditional about how my life has unfolded. I love how your path to being an author developed!
I look forward to reading your work! Congrats!

Patricia, Thanks for hosting; You are always gracious~

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - They sure, too. There's most definitely something to be said for having some years under one's belt, so to speak, when one starts to write.

Margot Kinberg said...

Ellie - Why thank you : ). That's awfully kind of you. I think the non-traditional life can be even more fulfilling and interesting for being non-traditional. I wish you great success with your own journey.

Mason Canyon said...

Patricia, thanks for hosting Margot.

Margot, it's always interesting finding out more background on how a story comes together. I love the fact that the first rejection didn't stop you, but that you saw it as book and publisher not being a match. Looking forward to learning more about your third book. Wishing you much success.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Margot Kinberg said...

Mason - Thank you : ). I always like to learn about what authors' journeys are like, too. And it's funny; when you create something like a manuscript, it's hard not to feel personal about it. So rejection hurts. But you're right; it's often a matter of the match between book and publisher. At least that's what's kept me optimistic. : )

Patricia Stoltey said...

Margot, I want to thank you for being such a wonderful guest today and answering comments as they came in. I wish you all kinds of success, and a bunch of fun as well.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Margot, wonderful to meet you here. I'm a dog lover too! What a great way to start writing. Love the family support.

Maxine said...

Well done, Margot. I am so glad you did get your novel(s) published as I very much enjoyed reading them. You don't get many enjoyable crime novels set in the academic sphere and the way in which you convey that background and weave it into your plots is one reason that makes your books so nice to read.

Margot Kinberg said...

Simon - Thank you : ). It's a pleasure to "meet" you, too. And it's so nice that you're a fellow dog-lover, too. Having the support of my family and beta-readers has been so very helpful to me! I'm not sure how writers go about it without that kind of support.


Maxine - Thank you! *Blush* How kind of you! I really do appreciate how nice you've been about my writing. I think authors really can't help integrating who and what they are into what they write. For me, it's academia, and so I suppose that's why my novels have that kind of flavour to them.