The 5 Who Have Kept The Dream Alive …

img-thingThis week at the Ball it’s all about the 5 people who made our books possible, and first I need to say how TICKLED I am to even be writing this! Because it means I have a book. MY BOOK IS GOING TO BE A BOOK. You can’t see me, hiding behind my laptop screen, but every time I think about this I break into the Kermit flail. It’s just that exciting. Of course, I can hardly take all the credit — so here are the 5 who have kept the dream alive:

The Family Circle: The Husband and Daughter

Okay, so technically these are TWO people, but because they both fall into ONE circle I figured I could get away with it. My husband runs his own business and when I left my (very stable, well paying) job to be a freelance writer, rather than panic we clinked wine glasses and joked about neither of us getting a paycheck anymore. He has been there for the ups and downs (we’ve celebrated and commiserated over many glasses of wine since), and reminds me (when I forget it myself) that I’m actually DOING what many people only dream of. As for the kiddo, well, she says she wants to be a mommy AND a writer when she grows up, so I guess I’m doing something right, right?

The Agent: Carolyn Forde

Here’s how things went down with Carolyn. I had been querying for a month when I tweeted her about her interest in women’s fiction. When I didn’t hear back I assumed the answer was “zero.” But not to be deterred, I figured one little extra query couldn’t hurt so I hit send anyway. Worst case, she’d delete the query immediately, and best case …? Well, best case is EXACTLY what happened. Forty-eight hours later she offered representation, and a year and some twists and turns later, we’re the proud parents of a two-book deal with MIRA. Carolyn has also made it clear she believes I don’t just have one great book in me – I have many. I couldn’t have asked for a better agent to pull me out of the slush…

The Editor: Michelle Meade

Being on submission is an awkward time for a writer – not only is there so much waiting, there’s also a lot of rejection, self-doubt, stress eating, and waiting. (Did I mention the waiting part?) But I learned a very important lesson with Michelle, and it involved the whole “write your next project” thing when you’re on submission. Michelle took my first book to acquisition, but unfortunately that was as far as I got. However, I was far enough into my next book that Carolyn could pitch it, and Michelle loved the blurb. And then a few months later? Michelle asked Carolyn if it was done, and could she see it? She remembered the pitch and reached out. Which is hands down the most exciting (and least painful) way to go on submission. And while Michelle would say Come Away with Me was pretty darn polished when it arrived to her, she has helped me make it SO much better. Can’t wait to see what we can do with the next book…

The Storytelling Team: My Journalism School Professors

Again, I’m grouping these folks into one category (why can’t I just follow the rules?) because picking just one won’t work. It was the combination of skills — from learning how to write a compelling opening line, to how to research, to how to chase a story, to how to ask difficult questions (to get the answers you want), to how to write stuff people want to read. Basically, my professors taught me how to be a great storyteller. Everything I learned in J-school turned out to be the perfect foundation for writing novels — who knew?

The Author I’ve Never Met: Rebecca Wells (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood)

No, I don’t know Rebecca Wells and it’s been years since I read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, but the way Wells wrote those characters — and the complex emotions that existed between the women – fascinated me, pulled me in, and made me cry when I least expected it. I have read plenty of women’s fiction over the years, including many books before I even understood what women’s fiction was or started writing it myself, but something about this book stuck with me. And when I started writing Come Away with Me, I thought about Wells and the Ya-Yas, and aimed to inject emotional moments into my story that would stick with readers long after that last page was turned. (I hope I’ve succeeded!)

(In case you haven’t seen it, this is the Kermit flail … I’m doing it right now…)

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Karma Brown is the author of COME AWAY WITH ME (MIRA/Harlequin, September 2015), an emotional story of one woman’s discovery that life is still worth living, even if it’s not the life you planned. Karma is also a National Magazine award-winning journalist, and lives outside Toronto, Canada, with her family and their mischievous labradoodle puppy, Fred.

This article has 11 Comments

  1. I love this, especially the Kermit flail as that’s how I dance on a regular basis to embarrass my kids and grandkids. 🙂
    And I love the reinforcement of “What if?” What if you hadn’t taken that step and sent your query anyway? Never giving up and never taking the safe and easy way, taking that leap of faith is the surest way to success.
    You do realize now that when you go out for book signings, there will be requests for you to perform the Kermit Flail? 😉

  2. I’ve been lucky enough to read the first polished draft and can’t wait to read the extra several thousand additional words ; and you have made the moments and the characters very real and captivating. I also loved the “ya-ya” women, reminded me a little of my women’s group of longstanding friends, but you have created a woman just as memorable. Congrats on a great book! Momxo

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