Writing what you love

I have a confession to make: once upon a time, I was a Social Studies teacher, and my particular area of interest has always been American History. I especially love colonial history through the WWI era, (although the roaring twenties do have their charms). Stories of the frontier, the heroes of the American Revolution, expansion into the west and the Civil War era all excite me. Those are the times I want to place my characters into for my stories.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that these are not the favorite eras for NY agents or editors. I’ve heard often enough from these folks that certain eras don’t “sell” — including the ones I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching. Despite the possibility of moving my publishing career along faster, I just couldn’t move my stories to the Regency era or Scotland as many of them suggested.

That’s just not what I want to write. So, my books have taken a long time to get published, and some languished in my computer, (I only keep dust bunnies under my bed), waiting for the day when stories set in America would be popular again.

Then a strange thing happened to the publishing world, eBooks, (which I had been predicting would be big for years) hit their stride. The Kindle appeared and changed everything. Indie publishing appeared on the horizon, like a hero on a white horse for us hungry authors wanting to write books that didn’t fit into quaint little boxes.

After publishing my first book, Beneath A Silver Moon as an Indie author, I dusted off the first book in a series that I’d dreamed about for years. I love reading books with paranormal elements, but I don’t think there are enough books set in historical times in this sub-genre. So, I did what every good writer does when they can’t find what they want to read, I wrote it.

After months of work, rewriting after my editor finished with the book, rewriting again after my BETA readers gave me input and learning some new software programs, my book went live on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and all the other popular platforms.

It’s a book about a witch, that moves from England in 1664 to the colony of Jamestown, Virginia. It’s the book I was told by an editor that wouldn’t sell because, “witches in America sounds like The Crucible and everyone had to read that in High School and hated it.”

The colony of Virginia was a very different settlement than the Massachusetts colony. It was not settled by Pilgrims, Many of the early Virginia colonists were from the upper class, in search of wealth and adventure, and some of them eager to escape from the Puritan takeover during the Cromwell years.

These colonial families beget, (what a great Biblical term) some of the finest men our country has ever known, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

That editor might be right. Then again, I’m hoping to prove her wrong!

Deborah Schneider

Whistle Down the Wind by Sibelle Stone
Escaping from the persecution of the European witch hunts, a powerful witch with the ability to control the wind joins forces with a handsome Cavalier on a mission to save the King of England and the colony of Virginia while a dangerous stranger hunts them both. Book One: Mystic Moon Series.

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7 responses to “Writing what you love

  1. raymondbolton

    It’s amazing how many editors have been wrong, Deb. Jack London received over 600 rejection slips before Call of the Wild hit. He used them to paper the walls of his cabin. Hope you sell a million!

  2. Sounds intriguing, Deb, I’ll go check it out. (And an editor told me that my story about Japanese Americans would never sell because nobody was interested, and besides, Asians didn’t read. Good golly, how do they get through school?!)

  3. Awesome! I love American history, like you especially colonial times and the Revolution. (I agree the Roaring 20s are a hoot too 😀 )

    K

  4. Oooh… Deb, have you read C.C. Finlay’s Traitor to the Crown series? I’ve only just started the first one, but it sounds very similar to what you wrote, only this is set in Massachusetts at the start of the Revolutionary War.

  5. Editors and Hollywood producers must be a lot alike in that they all seem to innately know what the public will and will not buy — at least they have their opinion of what will sell and what won’t. And you know what they say about opinions, “Opinions are like a certain bodily aperture, everyone has one.” If it’s written well, and it’s a good story, why wouldn’t people want to read it. The secret seems to be getting it out there so they can buy it.
    Sounds like you found the answer.

    Wally

  6. Raymond, every once in a while I look through my rejection letters. My favorite one is the editor who rejected me the day before the book she didn’t want came out, and she said, “Great title!” That book is selling like crazy again — as a digital book.

    Eilis, isn’t that crazy how if you live in NYC you are so omnipotent? Must be nice. Or not, since things in their book world seem to be shifting quickly.

    KB, we should trade “favorite moments in American History” notes.

    Ana, I’ll “check it out” — Library Talk!

    Wally, you are so right. (Love the quote). I watched a movie over the weekend and actually kept thinking, “How old are these scriptwriters? Because they have taken an amazing book, (The Three Musketeers) and torn it all to hell. (I did like the airships though – about the only thing I liked in the whole film.) These are the people who get to decide what we watch? Again, they see their profits dip and wonder why?

    Thanks for all your comments folks!

  7. Good for you, Deb! You are the captain your own ship, and setting your own course.

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