That is somewhat of a no-brainer. I read crime novels mostly, so when I decided to put my hand to attempting to write, first a couple of short stories, and then a novel, crime it was.
My first novel was called Whiteout. Never heard of it? Fear not, few people have. It is exactly the sort of book I wanted to write: a woman alone in a cabin in northern Ontario, something moving in the dark, a dead body under the canoe. A snowstorm, shifting lanterns. A ghost-story combined with a mystery novel.
In my humble opinion, it was just great.
And I blew it.
I had taken several courses at community college in creative writing, so I had the craft down okay. But I wasn’t yet involved in a writing community of any sort, nor did I have any writer friends. (To be fair I had three children still at home and a full time job).
So when I decided the book was ready for the world, I sent it out. I was, I know realize, too hasty, and I accepted the first offer I got which was from a small electronic publishing company. No editing, no promotion, no publicity. No sales.
Somewhere I had heard that to get in with a big publishing company you had to prove you could write and publish a book.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly not back in 2000, and not even now.
So, here’s a piece of advice from me: your first book is your first book. There will never be another. Even if you change your name, that first book is still your first book. I am talking about publishing it, here, not writing it. Plenty of writers have lots of early attempts in their bottom drawer.
I was lucky and I was able to recover from that mistake when Poisoned Pen Press kindly picked up Scare the Light Away.
In the way of nothing is ever wasted, after Whiteout tanked and I couldn’t get anywhere with my next crime novel, I tried my hand a writing a romance novel.
Total garbage, if I do say so myself. Off hand I can’t even remember the title of it, but it had a ghost in it, I remember that.
I have been invited to be a guest author at this year’s NorthWords Festival in Yellowknife, NorthWest Territories (travelling with my good friend and fellow author, Barbara Fradkin). What do they have on the Friday night but a chance for authors to read their raciest stories in their erotic open mike event?
And I have something absolutely perfect down in the bottom of my drawer.
If you happen to be in Canada’s Far North this spring, here’s the link: http://northwordsnwt.ca/http://northwordsnwt.ca/ The Festival is May 30 – June 2nd.