Are You Harboring a Writer Within?

(this post originally posted at Romancing the Past–07/27/2011)
“What made you decide to write Native American Historical books?”

This is a question I am often asked. I always smile, simply because I never wanted to write anything! At least nothing more than chatty letters to friends or my great-grandmother (who loved receiving letters).

Okay, I’ve surely dated myself somewhat here because I grew up without computers, emails, social media or text messages! I also skimmed by high school English, actually, school period! It just wasn’t my thing.

But, I had two things going for me that led to my current writing career. First and foremost, I was, and still am, an avid reader of romance (write what you know). Second, I am a natural storyteller.

I remember stories I told as a child, a teen, and even a young adult. However, they were not written on paper or told to others. They were in my mind and I lived them. I created them, rewrote them, went back to scenes and rewrote them. Once a “story” was perfected, I went on to a new story. I called myself an incurable daydreamer. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s and had already sold my first book that I discovered that my daydreaming was actually storytelling! All the elements we writer require in our books were in my dream worlds.

Does all that sound like a writer? Yep. So this little story starts when I was married with two young children in the late 80’s. My current passion during that time was Native American Historical genre. I consumed these books about strong heroines and handsome warriors like an ocean swallowing a beach! One day, in my typical “daydreaming” or “story creation mode”, I came up with a heroine who meets a young, virile hero at stream. Hero was Native American and this “story” kept intruding on my thoughts–more so than normal.
I could see these two characters so clearly: she was running away from an evil uncle, and my hero was a troubled young warrior. Before I knew it I had a nice little scene going of these two people so in love and so right for each other. And so insistent that I do something I’d never done before: take them out of my head and give them life on paper (good thing I had a computer by this time). Okay, I thought. I’ll write a nice, steamy love scene. I could see it, feel it, so no problem, right?

Wrong! Before I could write about these two people, I had to know more about them.

  • Why was my heroine alone in the wilderness?
  • Why was she fleeing her uncle? What did he want and how bad did he want it?
  • What troubled my warrior and why was he in the same vicinity as my heroine?
  • Why was he drawn to my heroine aside from her blonde hair? Why her and only her?
  • Was he willing to risk it all for her?

Before I knew it, I had back story, and four chapters! Several people read it and told me I had to finish the story. The rest they say is history! The writer within was born!

I choose this topic for my first blog here at Romancing the Past because I never, ever considered writing to be a hidden talent. I figure my old English teachers if they ever found out had to have been shocked to their core! It was only when I listened to that inner voice telling me to step out of my comfort zone that I made an amazing discover about myself.

The path from that first time of committing a story to paper has not been easy. It took 7 years of writing and rewriting and learning the craft of writing and submitting and rejections before an editor asked for a full manuscript. Add another year before I had my first offer, then yet another year before that first book, White Wind was on the bookshelves in 1996. Nine years total!

15 years later and once again I’m anticipating seeing my first book hit the shelves with a new cover in its new digital format with Carina Press. The excitement and anticipation is the same, as is the worry–will readers like my baby! Some things do not change!

So in retelling this story, it is my hope that someone reading this makes a self-discover of their own. Are you harboring a writer within? If so, what are you doing about it? I’d love to hear your “writer within” stories.

Coming November 2011, look for White Dawn, White Dusk, White Shadows and White Wind. Check out my website at http://susanedwards.com for updated news and excerpts along with a member only area for my readers. You can also sign up for my newsletter. Note: New covers should be available for view during August!

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