Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Wild Ride by Laura DiSilverio, Guest Blogger

My guest today is Laura DiSilverio, a Colorado writer I first knew as Lila Dare, author of a beauty shop mystery series. Because we both belong to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, I spotted Laura's new release information and asked if she would be a guest here. She has graciously agreed to tell us about her writing experience.


This Wild Ride by Laura DiSilverio, Guest Blogger

Thanks to Patricia for inviting me to visit her blog today. She’s asked me to write a little something about my path to publication, so here goes.

Someone—probably Shakespeare, because he apparently said everything worth saying from the Triassic period through the new millennium—once said that the course of true love never did run smooth. I’m here to attest that the saying holds true for publication as well: “The path to publication never did run smooth.” Or straight. Many a pothole, bump, u-turn and tangent lay between the college-age me who completed her first manuscript waaaay long ago and the forty-mumble-mumble-something-age me whose first published book appeared in stores this year.

That first manuscript, a modern romance titled “Jeweled Torment” (gag if you want to), will never see the light of day. Nor will the next novel I wrote, a Regency romance, or the third one, a police procedural mystery that was completely unburdened by any semblance of research into police procedures. My second Regency romance finally landed me an agent, but when she was unable to sell the book, I “retired” from writing for a while.

By this time, I had joined the Air Force as an intelligence officer, been stationed at five or six different bases in three different countries, and gotten engaged. I essentially quit writing for a decade to get married, have two kids, and pursue my Air Force career all the way to getting selected for promotion to full colonel. (Those would be some of the u-turns and tangents I mentioned earlier.) Then, in 2003, I had a moment of epiphany in a Seattle bookstore and decided it was time to write again. I retired from the military in late 2004 and plunked myself down in front of my computer, confident I could produce a manuscript and have a publishing contract within two years.

Well, the universe took the opportunity to teach me a little something about hubris, humility, and perseverance. It was almost five years and more than eighty rejections later before I landed a publishing contract in early 2009 with Berkley Prime Crime for the Southern Beauty Shop series I write as Lila Dare. A couple months later, my agent (not the one who’d represented my Regency twenty years earlier) sold Swift Justice to St. Martin’s Minotaur and then my mall cop series to Berkley before the end of the year. (The first Mall Cop Mystery, Die Buying, comes out in August 2011. I’m writing the second one, All Sales Fatal, as we speak.)

The top three lessons I learned are 1) Persevere, 2) Keep working on your craft to become a better writer, and 3) Persevere.

Funny thing is, the post-publication road is also defined by bumps and potholes, detours and dead ends. The life of a full-time writer is filled with deadlines, decisions about what projects to take on, the need to promote and market published books while writing new books, social media obligations, and a dozen other things. I guess I’m just not a smooth road kind of person because I love this wild ride I’m on.


Thanks so much, Laura, for being my guest today. If you're ever up here in Northern Colorado to do a book signing, we should connect for coffee or lunch.

For more information about Laura and her mystery series, visit her website. There's more information about the Southern Beauty Shop mysteries at the Lila Dare site.


Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks for hosting Laura.

Laura - Thanks for sharing your journey to publication. You've got wonderful perseverance and optimism, and I give you a lot of credit for pursuing your goals. Rejection is not something one should take personally: thanks for the reminder that it doesn't mean the end of one's writing, either :-).

Laura DiSilverio said...

Margot--Thanks for dropping by today and for your kind words. Rejection is just one of the required steps on the path to becoming a published writer. (And it doesn't stop after you get published, either!)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Ah, sweet rejection. What doesn't kill us just makes us stronger...

Thanks for being here today, Laura. I'm looking forward to reading Swift Justice and the mall cop series, too.

E.J. Wesley said...

Hi Laura! My wife is currently serving in the Air Force, so your story is definitely familiar.

As an aspiring author, it's so easy to get discouraged. Plus, I'm a fairly goal-centric person, so the idea of toiling away for long periods without tangible 'career' results is daunting at times. I'm always reminding myself that the act of writing (even the bad stuff) is an education, an investment, in the career I'm working towards. Consequently, I always love to read stories of perseverance (like yours), because it keeps my expectations in check. It also reminds me to stay the course.

Thanks for sharing, and thanks to Patricia for introducing you to us.


Laura DiSilverio said...

Hi EJ--The main character in my mall cop book is called EJ (although it stands for Emma-Joy). Like you, I'm goal-oriented and I had to change my thinking about goals and accomplishments and become more comfortable with less definable goals. I think that's been good for me in many ways, not just as relates to my writing.

Keep at it and good luck!

Terry Odell said...

Laura, I'd have to agree. It's all about the ride.

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

Laura DiSilverio said...

Re-reading my post to EJ, I realized I didn't really mean "less definable goals." I should have said "less easily quantified results." Blame it on not enough caffeine yet!

Jemi Fraser said...

That was interesting! Thanks so much for sharing the journey :)

Laura DiSilverio said...

Hi Jemi--glad you found it interesting. The journey is more interesting in retrospect. Isn't there a Chinese curse that says, "May you live in interesting times?"

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, there's potholes on both sides of the intersection!

Clarissa Draper said...

Three great things! Even though two are the same... Thanks for sharing your story!

Victoria Dixon said...

Patricia, thanks for the guest blog and thanks for the insights, Laura.

I'm wondering, the eighty rejections - was that from agents, editors or a combination? I really hate the idea of counting how many I've racked up, it's sure to be depressing, but maybe it will be instructive, too. ;D

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Laura I enjoyed reading your writing journey, it was a pleasure to read.

Thank you Patricia for having Laura as a guest.


Laura DiSilverio said...

Victoria--Most of the rejections are from agents, however some are from editors after I landed an agent. We never sold the book that my agent signed me on. (And I'd already written the sequel--that taught me a lesson!)

Alex, Clarissa and Yvonne--Thanks for checking in today. This is a great blog community.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Your story is definitely one of perseverance and it sounds like it paid off. Way to go! I agree that each step of the process has its own potholes, but I guess that’s what keeps things interesting.

Arlee Bird said...

Laura your advice is great for every writer or anyone with a dream for that matter. Good luck on your future journey and thank you for sharing with us.

Tossing It Out

Ann said...

Patricia thank you for a wonderful choice of guest blogger.

Laura thank you for sharing your journey.

Laura DiSilverio said...

Hi Jane and Arlee--Thanks for commenting today and for your good wishes. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Laura, Thank you so much for being my guest today. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope 2011 is a great year for you and for your books.

Talli Roland said...

Thank you, Laura! You're so right about it being a wild ride - and yes, it does continue after publication. Great post.