The first book I ever wrote was a romance novel based on a dream I had where my husband looked the same, but I knew he was a different man. When I woke up I couldn’t get the dream out of my head and so my novel Return to Me was born about widowed Lana who dies and is transported to a parallel universe to be reunited with her husband, only to find him a different man.
I spent three years working on this novel. My dream was that it would be a stand-alone contemporary for Avon. While I was very passionate about the project, very soon the writing process became like work and writing was a struggle. Finally after three years, and numerous drafts based on critiques from my writing group, I realised I was finished.
Now that I had decided that my novel was complete and that it was the best I could make it, the next step was to submit it, however I was suffering a crisis of faith. I wasn’t sure whether my book was any good. I decided that this was my practice book, the one that allowed me to learn the craft of writing, and now it was time to work on something else, but I still always loved the romance genre and had ideas that I wanted to explore.
After watching the way that the genre was transformed and embraced digital publishing I kept thinking about my languishing manuscript. I thought about self publishing it, but wasn’t sure whether it was any good. I re-read it after 10 years and I decided that it had to be kept hidden from the world.
Another year passed and I was doing Nano and after five years of attempting to finish it and reach 50,000 words in a month, I finally did it. On the forum threads I read about publishers seeking Nano novelists to submit their romance novels. I read my manuscript again and while I noticed its flaws, I also noticed its heart. I prevaricated, but finally decided to bite the bullet and submit Return to Me. All the years that I had spent on it had devoid me of any objectivity about its merit.
I sent my manuscript to my agent who submitted it to publishers and soon two offers followed. I decided on Momentum and within a few months my book was out in the world. Now I needed to write my next romance novel and within six months I had a completed manuscript and in July 2014 my second romance novel Hollywood Dreams was published.
It seemed miraculous that I had established a career as a romance author. I think about the 11 years that my manuscript languished in my metaphorical bottom drawer until I finally decided to give it a shot. While I think waiting so long was the right thing for me, I also learnt the most important lesson of all: ‘to submit and get rejected is better than not to have submitted at all.
This post was previously published on AusRomToday.
Mae Archer's books on Goodreads
Return to Me
ratings: 13 (avg rating 3.46)
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)
Little Raven Two: An Erotic Collection
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.00)