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Take Three: Come Away with Me

Karma9:3:14Today is my first post as a 2015 Deb and I’m a bundle of nervous excitement. Sure, it’s also back to school for the mini (who is starting grade one and handling it much better than I am), and I have some fairly prickly deadlines looming, which explain the nerves. But I’m also psyched I’m part of this amazing group of debut writers for the next year!

I’ve talked about this before, but I never set out to be a writer. Even in journalism school, whenever someone asked, “So I guess you want to write?” I’d secretly roll my eyes and patiently explain that no, not everyone with a j-school degree wants to write. I was going into television. Writing wasn’t my thing.

But on the last day of school I got the shock of my life – a cancer diagnosis. The life I had planned evaporated, and I had to sort out what my new normal looked like. A year or so after treatment ended (I’m now 11 years cancer free), an idea just popped into my mind. An idea for a novel. So I wrote one chapter. Then another. But still, I insisted I wasn’t a writer. I was simply writing.

That book took me six years to write, during which time I got married, became a mother, and quit my day job to be a stay at home mom and part-time freelance writer (never say never…). When I wrote that book I had no idea what I was doing. Tension? Characterization? Dialogue tags? Query letters? Needless to say, that book now lives on the shelf where many first books go to retire (die). But without the experience of writing and querying that first book, my second attempt wouldn’t have been what it was: a book that got me my agent and came pretty darn close to snagging me a book deal.

While I was agent hunting for that second book, I started my third book. The idea for it came at my uncle’s funeral, where I had a conversation with my cousin about bucket lists and honoring those we love. I muddled it around for a bit, as I usually do, trying to see if it had legs. Then on date night with the husband, over grilled cheese and a flight of craft beer, we worked out story details and he came up with a twist that gave me butterflies. The next day I started writing.

My first draft of Come Away with Me took four months to write. By the time book two was on submission, I had written enough of book three for my agent to give a teaser pitch to editors. And one editor, who took book two to acquisitions but ultimately had to pass, remembered that pitch and asked to see it. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Seeing my book on a shelf is going to represent so many things for me, but mostly that a (giant) goal I set years ago has been achieved. And also, I suppose, that I really am a writer. No turning back now…

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The making of my first (but not really first) novel: Before I Go

Tequila: the key to novel writing (or at least dealing with rejection)

Hi! I’m Colleen, the first 2015 Deb to kick off this new season on the Ball. And I have a confession: Before I Go is not my first novel. (Whoa. I know — you weren’t expecting that kind of bombshell on a Monday morning. My apologies.) My first novel is languishing on my Mac desktop,…
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News Flash: Keeping in Touch with the Deb Class of 2014

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This isn’t a final goodbye, but a fare-thee-well until we next meet online (or maybe in person!). And, this probably isn’t news to anyone: We’re going to miss being Debs and miss all of you. Keep in touch by bookmarking the individual blogs of all the 2014 Debs: Lisa Alber has just reprised her blog….
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The New Deb Line-Up Begins Monday — Please Welcome the Class of 2015!

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Please return next Saturday for the Deb class of 2015′s first guest author and giveaway! We’re excited to announce the new blog schedule as of Monday, September 1st. We know the 2015 class will continue the deb traditions in fine form, and we look forward to following their journeys over the next year! Please join…
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What It Really All Meant, In the End

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I’ve started and deleted this post so many times I’ve lost count. A confession: for someone who’s built their life around words, I often find life gives us moments far more meaningful. Maybe that’s what all the writer angst finally boils down to: we can’t ever express exactly what we hope to. But we can’t…
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What I Loved? A Top Ten List

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What I loved about being a debut author? Oh, just everything. I loved being a Deb. I loved talking with readers and other writers. I loved that day I typed “the end” and I especially loved the day I knew my book would be published. I loved so much about the experience that I need…
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