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Life Between My Pages presents Darien Gee
October 01, 2011
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We are pleased to bring you BCQ's own series, Life Between My Pages!
This series will feature a selected author each month who will share with you their personal story about how they got to where they are today.
Prepare to be completely WOWED by these writers! You've read their books, fallen in love with their style, now learn about their journey.
Each month, when the newsletter shows up in your inbox, look for the featured author's name in the subject line. Some authors you will immediately recognize, some you will not. We can assure you that every single author invited to participate will tell a story you won't want to miss!
Every published author enters into their career in a different way, but one thing is for sure: persistence and faith are at the heart of it.
I wrote my first (and unpublished) novel in 1998. I was 30 and single at the time. I took a whole year off to write it, found an agent, and then got cold feet and put the manuscript back on the shelf. At the same time another good friend received representation and went through with it. I watched as her career took off and she wrote book after book. I always felt a twinge of regret, but relief, too. I was more scared about being published than I was about not being published. Writer friends couldn't believe I hadn't gone through with it, but I knew better: I had sabotaged myself in an act of self-defense.
Still, I dreamt of one day being published, of seeing my books on bookstore and library shelves, to have a Library of Congress number assigned to something I wrote. Remember card catalogs? I used to love them, and I could imagine what it would be like to have a little card with my name on it. Even though I couldn't bite the bullet when I had a chance, I wasn't giving up. For whatever the reason, I hadn't been ready back then, but now, eight years later, I finally was.
In 2005, I queried agents and received an offer of representation. We got a publishing deal. Good Things would be published in February 2007 as a trade paperback. As luck would have it, around the same time my husband also got a book deal for a non-fiction golf title with a reputable New York publisher. His release date would be a couple weeks after mine. Our names-Darrin and Darien-are so close that even close friends and family mistakenly call us by each other's name. Because I was writing women's fiction, it didn't seem like a big deal for me to choose to write under a pen name. I tried out a few and settled on one: Mia King.
Good Things was published by Berkley Books in trade paperback. I wrote Sweet Life after that, and then Table Manners, the sequel to Good Things. It was my intention to write a book a year and I hoped that by book six or seven I'd have a "big" book that would turn my career around.
But then I was told that my sales numbers were "trending down." In other words, I was selling fewer copies with each title, rather than gaining. This was not, as you can probably guess, a good thing. I had a flash of fear that my writing career was over, that I'd missed the boat, that somehow I'd been doomed from the start of ever seeing any real success.
And then something unexpected happened. It was the spring of 2009, and my daughter brought home a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter, a sourdough starter that makes the most divine cinnamon-sugar bread, and my writing career took a left turn. I started writing a new novel that night, and by the next day I had put all of my other book ideas on hold. I turned all of my attention and creative energy into this book. I had no idea if it would sell. I was in between agents. Bookstores were closing, publishers weren't buying and if they were, they weren't paying a lot. It was a grim time in publishing, I was told. Oh, and, by the way, my Mia King numbers were trending down.
I covered my ears and kept writing.
In March 2010, Friendship Bread was sold at auction to Ballantine Books. It would be published in hardcover in 2011. Significant foreign, audio, and large type rights. Because the writing style and flavor of Friendship Bread is so different from my Mia King titles (fortified by loaves and loaves of Amish Friendship Bread), we decided to publish it under my own name, Darien Gee.
As I'm writing this we’re on the eve of its release. What can I say other than what isn't already obvious, that as writers we need to persevere, that we need to trust our inner voice and not let doom and gloom take over. That there's value in every experience, even the scary ones, and that it's okay to hope for the best.
I know I am.
Darien Gee is the author of Friendship Bread: A Novel (Ballantine Books, April 2011). She's also the national bestselling author of three novels under the name Mia King (Good Things, Sweet Life, and Table Manners).
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