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Life Between My Pages presents J.M. Kearns
May 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!
There are two things people ask me a lot: how did you get to where you could write relationship books and a novel? And how did you end up being published? That last one fascinates people, because they know it can be so hard to get the first book deal.
First, the path to writing. Well, in college in Toronto I admired the great authors of fiction and non-fiction. But I wasn't sure I had anything to say that was worthy of publication. So I wrote songs, because the roller-coaster relationships I seemed to always be in leant themselves to three-minute depictions. My love of music led me to faraway cities (L.A. and Nashville) and endless day jobs that were far from glamorous, like cab driver, market researcher, paralegal - oh, and singing donkey. I had a lot of fun with music and made a bit of a living off it by recording some great singer-songwriters.
But all along, without knowing it, I was doing something that was preparing me for prose writing: I would obsessively analyze people and relationships, and talk about them with my deep-thinking pals. Because I was trained in philosophy and logic, I tried to state things precisely and dig down to the real truth. Especially I liked to bust up myths and stereotypes about men and women.
In 1994, after going through some major changes including the death of my father, I began work on a novel, my first. Like many a rookie, I tried to throw every possible ingredient into it, including a teenager's occult vision quest, a ghost, a love affair, a mid-life crisis, a lost family cottage, and as they say, much more. With a writer friend's help I got an agent, who shopped my unruly mess of a novel to every publishing house in sight. No one bought it.
Cut to the year 1999. One night I thought of the title, Why Mr. Right Can't Find You. I realized I had a lifetime of experience to put into a book like that, and it would let me talk about the very search I was then engaged in, for a love that would last. I felt as if many women were unaware of the worthy men who were searching for them, and were letting discouragement stop them from doing the things that would help the right guy find them. I also felt that many couples are basically incompatible and don't notice it in time, so we need an early warning system. I worked on the book off and on for several years. Then in 2005 the kindness of other writers intervened. Thanks to a friend's referral, one chapter of my manuscript got published in a collection of men's writings. My chapter got some nice notices and I emailed a reviewer in Toronto to thank her. She asked to see my manuscript and a week later, at a party, she told an agent about it. He got in touch and we joined forces. Two months later, he got me my first book deal.
The book was well received and that led to my novel finally being published in 2008 by another house. By then I had rewritten it three times, but it took a fourth go-round before it was finally there. I'd gotten rid of several subplots and let the main character tell the story, and finally it became relatable.
Since then I've had two more relationship books published and am working on a new one. I want to get back to fiction and I have a children's story (or really, a Pixar movie type story) half finished and two other novels bouncing around in my head. And I've learned that the only way to learn how to write is to write, a lot, and then some more.
The writing life is strange. For most authors the money isn't big, but you can get by, maybe with the help of other work on the side. (My first book is still chugging along on amazon after five years.) Writing itself is a fine thing to be able to do. It lets you give free rein to your thoughts, put them into the best words, and polish them. Too often in life, you don't get to finish what you have to say, but when you write, it's like having the ideal listener. That would be the reader you imagine; and the best surprise is when they turn out to be real.
J.M. Kearns' best-selling Why Mr. Right Can't Find You has been featured on Oprah & Friends and in OK! magazine, Glamour, Maclean's, and many others. He is also the author of the novel ex-Cottagers in Love. His latest book, Shopping for Mr Right, takes on the metaphor and the literal truth of shopping and applies it to the quest for a good mate.
Find out more at JMKearns.com, where you can also hear his songs.
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