How did I know? I didn't. :-) Honestly, I felt like every book I submitted in my agent hunt was 'the one'. I think if I didn't feel that kind of hope and excitement, I wouldn't have submitted those books in the first place. I think, in order to go through the submission highs and lows, you really have to believe in each book like that, like it's The One. Of course, now I can look back and see why they *cough* weren't 'the one'... But, I do have to say BPOD did feel special because it was different than anything else I'd written, and it was something that allowed me to explore a lot of things I couldn't in other genres I was writing at the time. When I started submitting the book, I had the same kinds of hope and fear that I had with all the others. It got a lot of requests and a lot of rejections. So, even though Colleen Lindsay had requested the full, I stayed reserved. Been there, done that, sort of thing. But when she came back with an offer, it was awesome. Totally couldn't believe it. She sold the first two Charlie Madigan novels and gave me start in this biz. A year and a half later, I moved to Irene Goodman and agent Miriam Kriss who sold my young adult novels.
The wonderful WilowRaven commented: I absolutely loved The Better Park of Darkness (I gave 3 copies as Christmas presents :) Thank you, thank you!! :D I didn't know you were writing YA novels! 2011? April 2011, is the tentative date thus far. Can't wait!! I would love to know where you came up with the world you created for Charlie.
Hmm. Good question. Before writing BPOD, I knew I wanted to write about a world that had already come to terms with the supernatural. I love mythology, and ever since I was a kid I'd wonder 'what if's'. What if myths were really based in truth? What if all these beings you meet in my fictional world, actually spawned much of our world's ancient myths and legends. I wanted them to be real, you see. So I did that in my version of Atlanta. I looked at all the myths I loved, all the beings that intrigued me, and made it so they could exist. Picked a city with a dense population, one that was hot, one that could support the off-worlders, and then I went from there, deciding which beings I wanted to mold into 'my truth', like the Adonai were the basis for our myths/beliefs of angels. The nymphs and fae inspired much of our Celtic mythology, and so on... This is why I love fantasy so much. I'm not bound by the rules of this world, but of the one I created.
From the fabulous LeeAnn Flowers we have: I'm curious. I shopped my second novel around for about fifteen months and got nothing but rejections. The few people that read it liked it, but how could I go about getting a more professional opinion about it, since something's obviously not clicking?
This is a hard one. There aren't a lot of ways to get a professional opinion (agent, editor...) unless you're willing to pay for an editing service, which is pretty expensive. (And, I'm sure you know that not all editing services are equal. Some are total scams, some aren't...). Contests are great ways to get feedback. RWA holds a ton of contests where the finalists are judged by industry pros. And even if you don't write romance, they often have 'Novel with Romantic Elements' categories that you can enter. Some agents also hold contests every once in a while, and, again, if you have the money, auctions are an awesome way to get personalized feedback. Brenda Novak holds an amazing auction every year that you might want to check out where a ton of editors, agents, and publishers take part, offering critiques and feedback (and even a sit down lunch at a conference) to discuss your work. I believe Irene Goodman holds one as well. You can also try hooking up with a local writing chapter. Even though I don't write straight romance, I'm part of RWA and my chapter is a great resource. We have many published authors in our chapter who are always willing to help with time, opinions, critique groups, etc...
And finally we have the awesome Melissa Carmichael who said: How many times did you rewrite BPOD? Are you a plotter? How long did BPOD take to write? I really enjoyed BPOD. I've had to add Charlie to my must buy list. *yay!* Thanks, Melissa! :D Now, I have 4 authors that are an automatic buy:)
Let's see... It took me about three months to write the book (er, I think!), and I rewrote it (I might be off by a draft), including the revision from my agent and then editor about five times. Oy. I have such a bad memory!
I am a plotter. I'm also a seat-of-my-pants writer, too. And, sometimes, I'm in between. When I start writing a book, I just do what feels right. Sometimes, I'll be inspired to sit down and plot every chapter. Sometimes, I'll start without any notes at all, except for what's already stewing in my head. Sometimes, I'll plot a few chapters and then write some that aren't plotted. Every book I write is a little different in terms of my actual process. Some things are always the same, though -- like where I sit, how much coffee I drink beforehand and during and after... ;-)