… or delete one from your computer. Both of my most recent books were ones that I originally started a long time ago and put aside for a variety of reasons. My agent couldn't sell them, and I was finding that nonfiction was paying a lot more bills than my fiction.
However, One Small Victory and more recently Open Season, were stories that I loved, and every time I'd pull out the manuscripts and tinker with them, I would connect with the characters and think, this is still pretty good stuff. When we no longer make an emotional connection to our work, that's when we know it really does need to stay in a drawer forever.
Both stories are firmly rooted in real life. One Small Victory was inspired by a true story of a woman who infiltrated a drug ring to bring down the major distributor in her small town. (And is now available as an e-book for Kindle, Nook and other e-readers.) Open Season evolved from wondering what it would be like for two women detectives, one white and one black, to work together in Dallas at the time the DPD was under fire for the use of deadly force and racial discrimination.
This was in the late 1980s, and I was associated with Alan and Cynthia Mondell, documentary filmmakers in Dallas who were looking to do their first feature film. They asked if I could come up with a story idea that would be entertaining as well as looking at the social issue of racial problems in the city and in the police department. As so often happens in the film industry, the project never got made, but I had done so much research I wanted to use it. So I started working on the novel. I finished the screenplay as well, and it was a semi-finalist in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellowship a few years later.
Now, the hardcover of Open Season has just been released and it is getting wonderful reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal, and others, including our own Helen Ginger on her blog, Straight From Hel
Dani Greer, the head honcho here at The Blood Red Pencil, sent me a message recently and asked why I wasn't promoting the book here, so this is my official promotion. If you are interested, you can ask your local library to order Open Season, or ask for it at your favorite bookstore. Anyone who would like a signed copy or a signed bookplate can contact me at: maryannATmaryannwrites.com
And I hope someday you, too, can have a story to tell about that book you loved so much you didn't give up on getting it published. If you already do, please share.
Maryann Miller is an author and freelance editor. Her latest book is Open Season, which has gotten rave reviews from Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly. Visit her Web site for information about her books and her editing services. If you have a good book, she can help you make it better. When she is not working, Maryann loves to play "farmer" on her little ranch in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas.