Hello! Welcome to the seventh post in my blog mini-series: The Creation of a Novel, where I’ll be sharing behind-the-scenes information about my upcoming debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness. I hope you’ll join me on this journey toward launching my story into the world and leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section below. I love connecting with readers!
In post four of this series, I discussed my experience with Camp NaNoWriMo and how I used it to get the first 50,000 words of Waltz in the Wilderness from my head and onto the page. I also shared how I naively believed my story was complete until I realized that in the traditional publishing market not all genres have the same word count length requirements. It turns out I picked one of those genres where readers (and therefore traditional publishers) typically expect the story to go on a bit longer.
But my story was finished. I didn’t want to just fill it with a bunch of fluff. Readers hate fluff.
Well, after studying my craft a bit more, I came to recognize places where I’d rushed through sections of my story that really needed to be more drawn out, and other areas where I’d skipped over descriptions that readers would enjoy. I’d buzzed right by emotional moments because it was all so clear in my mind, but I failed to transfer those all-important details to the page. By the time I finished polishing things up I found myself with a 75,000 word manuscript that I thought was pretty good.
So, back I went to more more conferences, confidently pitching my novel to agent after agent. I even got a few nibbles of interest, but my story wasn’t truly ready. It wasn’t until I was preparing for the 2018 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference that I had a moment I will never forget.
Have you ever faced a problem in your life that no matter how many different ways you look at it, you can’t find a solution? Have you ever reconnected with a friend after years apart and felt like you were meeting them for the very first time? Well, something like that is what happened to me with Waltz in the Wilderness. I was sitting at my desk, trying to update my book proposal, praying over what I could possibly do to get my story moving forward in the publishing process (I still hadn’t signed a contract with an agent, though several had taken a look at my full proposal), when suddenly the answer hit me. The sensation was like a veil being lifted from my eyes so that I could see my story more clearly. I knew exactly what my story was missing and the funniest part was that the signs—the framework pieces for this addition—were in the manuscript all along.
BUT I had less than two weeks to go until I would be at another conference pitching to more agents and even pitching to what I thought was my dream publisher. How would I ever get the changes completed in that short amount of time?
If you’ve followed me on Instagram, you’re probably chuckling by now because you know: we serve the God of the Impossible.
I’m telling you, I have never before or since written so fast in my entire life! In the space of two weeks I wrote and edited 40,000 additional words! Finally, my manuscript was ready. My story was complete.
However, it still took me another year and the help of editor Karen Ball to put the final polish on Waltz in the Wilderness that made it shine bright enough to catch the eye of my publisher, Wild Heart Books. But every rejection, every rewrite, every disappointment was worth it. Not because my publisher is wonderful and I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else to bring this story to the world (although that is all true), but because through this journey I was reminded of what it truly means to lean on God through the highs and the lows without any guarantee of where this road would take me.
Here’s the full description of Waltz in the Wilderness:
She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help.
Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.
Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancé is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.
When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?
Ebook preorder links:
Paperback preorder links:
Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing a behind-the-scenes peek at the development of the Waltz in the Wilderness Cover!
Have you ever experienced a long journey toward a goal you weren’t certain you’d ever reach? How did God guide and support you during that time? Are there any scripture verses you turn to in times of doubt or disappointment?
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