Now, please don't laugh when you read this - it is a true story. What made me want to write? Truth be told I had my first novel in my head for about 2 years before I put it down on paper.
What made me put it on paper? Twilight. (I said don't laugh) Seriously - it's true. March 2009 I watched Twilight for the first time, I hadn't read any of the books (yes, I know I was behind on the times). It was then I decided that no matter the story (or the characters) if you have a powerful story to tell, TELL IT! The next day I started Broken Ties that Bind. 3 months and 80K words later...it was done.
Then I was like - what now? PUBLISHING!!! I'm biased, but I think the story is amazing and publishing worthy. Before I continue, you may want to know a small fact about me. Up until about 4 months ago, I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up (I am 29 by the way). Crazy? Maybe - but I just hadn't found my niche, something I love to do and really wanted to do. That was, until I picked up my pen and pencil...well, sat down at computer and let a story come to life before my very eyes. It was magical, wonderful and life changing.
So, publishing was my next task. By then I thought - I don't know anything about publishing, so where do I begin? Well, the first thing I learned was "if you want to write great stories, you have to read them" (your genre helps) Here's another interesting fact about me. Up until last year, I hadn't read a book since high school - and even then I got by with barely skimming the pages. I was smart by nature, so yes - I got excellent grades even though I wasn't a reader. And then there were those terrible 4 years when I had to read for my Bachelor's program...but that is a story all in itself.
Then I thought, I have to read? Are you kidding me? I HATE reading. At least that's what I thought. Boy was I ever wrong. I thought the best place to start would be the Twilight book, seeing as how that movie got the ball rolling for me. I had all four books read within a matter of days (yes, I mean days). I won't tell you what I thought of the books, but my OCD won't let me NOT finish something I start and a series of books must be completed. I will say this - underneath it all, Twilight is a powerful love story.
Now, after I read Twilight I was like - now what? My sister put Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake series in my hands and I unstoppable. At the time, the series had 17 books and I flew through them in just over a month. Love her, by the way. Once I was done, I was once again confused as to my next move as my MS sat idly on my shelf.
Crap - what now? Then I picked up the "Dummy's Guide to getting your romance book published". My book was romance with a hint of suspense, so I thought - why not? I read it and enlightened myself more than I could have imagined. So I had to read romances....not outrageous sci-fi erotica like Laurell Hamilton, even though I loved her stories.
Nora Roberts, here I came. The first "official romance" I read was the McKade Brothers series and it was like a slap in the face. WHOA! I thought - how on earth can I compete on any level with that?!? By the time the summer was over I had read over 30 of her books (probably more if I actually counted), I couldn't get enough. In the meantime I was reworking mine to what I would call today's standards and turned it into a mighty fine story if I do say so myself.
Alas...I was still confused as to the publishing game...agents...publishers...etc, so I was still unsure of where to go. But I knew one thing for sure. After reading romances (and numerous other women's fiction), I wanted to write powerful, thought provoking stories more than I wanted to breath. Ideas flooded my head and I couldn't write them down fast enough. I want to bring joy, sadness, heartbreak, and love into someones hands. I want someone to read something I wrote and think "wow...that was a wonderful story". I want people to be moved. I want to be appreciated for WHAT I write, not just because I write. I want to make a difference in the lives of those who love to read. I want to be me. The me that knows what she wants to be when she grows up. Justine Dell, the author.