It's rare, I've heard, for the first book a writer creates to ever be published. Its usually cast in a desk drawer, put aside and becomes the "practice" piece to pave the way for those that do get published. But there's something about that first creation....it stays with you, is etched in your heart...as was the case with my historical romance.
I wrote THE GOLDEN LADY in 1983, while going through the breakup of my first marriage. I was depressed, brokenhearted and very worried as to how I'd support two children on only my salary. A friend, to cheer me up and get my mind off my troubles, brought me a novel to read . . . a romance written by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss entitled, A Rose In Winter. I devoured that book from cover to cover, moved by the words, the feelings, the hero and heroine. Up until this point I'd only written a few articles and won awards for my poetry . . . never dreaming of tackling a novel. But Kathleen inspired me and I just couldn't "NOT" write one.
Since I loved the Native American's spirituality and sympathized with their plight, as well as being an advid fan of such western shows as Bonanza, Rifle Man, Lone Ranger and Davy Crockett growing up, I decided to write a western depicting the love between a white woman and an Apache warrior during a time when such a union would be forbidden. I thought I did a "smashing" job at showing their struggles against all odds, having love win out and all that heartwarming stuff. When I wrote the last word a thrill ran through me I'd never experienced before. But my joy was soon squelched when I was rejected by publisher after publisher.
Apparently there wasn't a calling for historical westerns at that time. My novel just didn't fit in to the historical mode. Sadly I put it away, in a desk drawer and moved on.
As the years went by I learned the ins and outs of writing a novel. I joined Romance Writers Of America, saturated myself with "how to write" books, tapes, and attended writing workshops at conferences. It's all about the journey, the trials, the rewrites. And through it all I grew as a writer, eventually seeing my romantic paranormals and fantasy accepted by a publisher. I also saw the romance genre become divided into sub-genres . . . the standard historical no longer the norm. A western finally fit the mode.
The day I took THE GOLDEN LADY out of the desk drawer to rewrite and revise, I whispered a prayer. This story was the one that healed my heart, gave me a new purpose during a time when I felt all was lost. To think it could be shared by other readers brought tears to my eyes.
Now, twenty-five years later, editor Patricia Tanner of The Wild Rose Press has given THE GOLDEN LADY the chance to be in print. My hand shook as I signed the contract, a long-time dream had finally come true.
My advise to all writers is to learn everything you can to make yourself a better writer. Be open to revisions and rewrites. Learn from your mistakes. But most of all never give up on your writing.