Jane’s Journey – Part 1 by Susan Lute
“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do in order to have what you want.”
This quote by Margaret Young is one of my favorites. It sounds like something I’d say.
You must first be who you really are—And who might that be, you ask? Trick question.
This morning I watched a little angel try to crawl. She almost had it. She rocked on all fours—then scooted backwards for all she was worth.
That perfectly describes the new train of self-publishing. Many of us are learning to crawl. We’re rocking on all fours. And we’re scooting backwards, or in plain words—publishing our back list—published or not, because we all know there have been some fabulous stories written that never got published for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is a changing marketplace. Which brings me to the topic of today’s post.
I’ve been asked to tell the story of Jane’s journey. You can read part of that journey at Maggie Jaimeson’s blog, Behind The Book. But this is really the story of two Jane’s. Gunnery Sergeant Jane Donovan. And daughter of a Marine, author Susan Lute.
Jane’s Long March Home was born literally from my heart, back in the day when the only game in town was publishing with a New York publisher. E-publishers were in their infancy, publishing predominately erotic stories. Self-publishing wasn’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye.
In its earliest incarnation Jane won Rose City Romance Writers Golden Rose, but never found a publishing home. Shortly thereafter, I sold Oops…We’re Married? to Silhouette Books. Oops… went on to become a Reader’s Choice Nominee and Holt Medallion Finalist. Jane languished on my computer, and Susan, author extraordinaire, spent a number of years honing her craft, until one day—
I said, “The hell with it! It should not be this hard to find a fitting home for my voice, or to get a novel published!!!”
This was right after I’d gotten yet another rejection. The economy was tanking, and along with it publishing and the mid-list. By this time, of course, I’d rewritten Jane half a dozen times, completed two women’s fiction novels, and wrote proposals for a dozen or more new stories. I loved Jane (the novel) and couldn’t give up on it, but perhaps it was time to let her go peacefully into the sunset. And maybe, Susan, the author, as well.
So, I’m on a plane to Norman, Oklahoma, right? And that’s when I say, “The hell with it! etc, etc.”
My crazy solution: take my favorite heroine, my favorite hero, and my favorite place, and write the same scene in multiple genres. The purpose of this exercise? To see where my voice fit best.
So—my fav heroine—a thief. Fav hero—a mercenary (a good mercenary). Fav place—surprise, surprise, a bar scene. I chose paranormal for my first effort, convinced I couldn’t write that kind of story, and at least would get that genre off my bucket list pretty quickly.
Who knew? I kept writing, and writing, and writing. All through the weekend visit with the Mr. (he was in school in Norman), and on into the weeks and months that followed, until I finished the book. That experiment became The Dragon’s Thief. You can read that first scene on my website.
Now, I know what you’re saying. What does a dragon book have to do with Jane and her long ride into the sunset? And what does it have to do with being who you really are? And what the heck does any of this have to do with self-publishing?
I’ll tell you next week. Hint: Marines never quit. Neither Jane or Susan ever took that ride into the sunset.
Ciao for now,