Funny how seemingly small things can make such a big difference in the end.
I had spent several years writing a novel and had contacted dozens upon dozens of agents regarding representation. To no avail. Rejection slips piled up in quantities sufficient to wallpaper our living room. I decided to shelve the manuscript and chalk it up to the fact that it just wasn’t meant to be.
Shortly after this decision, my wife and I visited our son and his family, who live in in Salt Lake City, Utah. He mentioned that he had recorded a Glen Beck interview with Richard Paul Evans. My son knew I had read all of Mr. Evans’s books and would be interested in the interview.
During the interview, I was impressed by Mr. Evans’s account of the adversities he had faced in his own life and how he was working through them. No one is free from challenges, he explained. As the interview continued, a determination came over me not to give up. Not to shelve the manuscript and chalk it up to a “learning experience.” I decided right then and there to rework the manuscript once more and try again.
When I returned to our home in Alberta, Canada, I did just that. I spent six months rewriting the manuscript and trying to instill in my characters the courage and determination that inspired me that day as I watched the interview.
After completing the manuscript, I sent out another batch of letters of inquiry to agents. Within two hours, an agent contacted me to say she loved the story and wanted to sign me to a contract.
After a journey of years, The Anniversary Waltz was finally published in May of 2012 and is receiving encouraging reviews. My second novel is scheduled to come out in the spring of 2013, and I am negotiating another two-novel contract at this time.
And to think it almost didn’t come about.
Thank you, Richard Paul Evans. If not for your interview, my manuscripts would be sitting on the shelf, collecting dust—a shelf labeled “What Might Have Been.”
I held my first official book signing on Saturday, June 23, at Chapters in Lethbridge, Alberta. I was naturally a little nervous about it, but once things got going, it was a lot of fun. We had put an article in the local newspaper in advance, and quite a few friends and acquaintances came out specifically to see me. The sales went better than the store manager expected, which was encouraging. He invited me back to hold as many book signings as I want. I'll definitely do it again.
I had a banner printed and then wrapped it around a frame to simulate the novel. I'm going to put it on a float for our community parade in July and hold a book signing afterward.
I am happy to see that The Anniversary Waltz was listed as one of Charisma Magazine's Top Ten Summer Reads.
What a thrill it was for me to see this picture of my youngest grandson, Chase, sitting in Barnes & Noble in Denver, looking at a copy of my novel, The Anniversary Waltz. I live in Alberta, Canada, 1500 km away, and yet the two of us were linked together in a special way the moment he touched the novel. He is only two years old and doesn’t completely understand the significance of the moment, but the sight of him holding my novel is a picture I will treasure in my heart.
What a special surprise I received in the mail on Monday, when I went to the post office. There was a packet from my publisher, and based on the size and shape, I thought they might have sent me a document or something. But when I opened it, it was an advance copy of my novel “The Anniversary Waltz.” I had been trying for over thirty years to get a novel published, and had made many trips to the post office, only to come away empty-handed. But not Monday! It was an absolute thrill to finally see my first novel in print. I hope to have other novels published in time, but I suspect nothing rivals the very first time an author touches his or her first book.
People have asked me what inspires me to write. When I was a young boy it was the action world of heroes and villains. I based my childhood stories on comic book characters, and created settings in distant, exotic places. It was fun to put the characters in impossible situations and see them defy the odds and live to fight another day.
In time the adventure stories gave way to more realistic situations. I realized that it often takes more courage to face everyday life than to face the perils in make-believe worlds. I’ve discovered that the real inspiration for me is the theme of love. What a difference love can make in the world. In this age of growing despair and increasing calamities, I feel it’s important to have faith that love can overcome the obstacles we face. Or at least help us endure them. I believe in its redemptive power. And what a difference that has made in my writing.
The Anniversary Waltz comes out in May 2012. Check it out and see what you think.
I’m a schoolteacher by profession and a writer at heart. I’ve always loved to write, be it stories, poems, songs, plays, or novels.
I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers).
In high school, I discovered an interest in songwriting. I’ve written hundreds of songs and snatches of song since then (maybe I’ll put a few on my blog sometime) and have even had two songs professionally produced and played on local radio. That was a thrill. I think I made a grand total of $13 in royalties!
After university, I began teaching high school. I discovered an interest in writing one-act plays and musicals for the drama club. It was a thrill to direct my plays and have them presented to the public. We took several plays to provincial drama festivals and had a lot of fun.
I moved from teaching high school to teaching elementary school and discovered a love of writing juvenile novels. I’ve written four such novels, and I read them to my Grade Four students annually. It’s something personal I share with them, and I appreciate my students’ support and encouragement to write more.
The Anniversary Waltz is my first novel to be published. It’s intended for the adult readers’ market. I’m excited to think that after years of writing stories, plays, songs, and juvenile novels, a publisher is willing to produce one of my works. And who knows? Maybe I’ll do better than $13 in royalties!
I am a schoolteacher by profession and a writer at heart. I have always loved to write, be it stories, poems, songs, or novels.