And now for our readers, if you’re a writer, do you enjoy the entire process, from the creation, to the revisions, to the learning that comes with rejections, etc? Or is there one thing that you love about the process and you simply tolerate the rest?
And if you’re not a writer, what one thing do you absolutely LOVE about your job (and, yes, that includes parenting, the hardest job ever!). What is the thing you hate the most?
That’s right, six years. I’ve written four more books in the meantime, but this is the first to be released [the second, DEAD GIRL WALKING, will be released a year from now].
Six writing years flew by. Here’s the way it played out, in a nutshell:
• Husband and I moved to the Sacramento area with our four children and I was pregnant with # 5.
• Baby 5 was born and I was going stir crazy in the house.
• Started meeting at Starbucks with a friend to write a children’s book to follow up on FLIGHT OF THE SUNFLOWER, a picture book of mine that was published a few years prior. Really, I had to get out of the house and do something just for me!
• Being surrounded by kids all day, every day, drained my creative juices; I decided to write something for adults with, gasp, swearing and, double gasp, sex [or at least the promise of sex…this is book one in the series!].
• Lola Cruz came to me in a moment of inspiration. I began writing.
• I wrote for almost two years [in between diaper changes, kindergarten, carpooling, etc].
• I revised. And revised. And revised. By now three years had passed.
• A friend of a friend’s sister’s mother-in-law [a literary agent] read the book, liked it, and offered to represent it. I revised again.
• A year + later, multiple rejections flew in. My agent retired.
• I queried and queried, was offered representation by three different agents, went with one, and found myself revising. AGAIN!
• I was a tiny, itty-bitty fish in my agent’s giant ocean, but she submitted for a year, and again. It was being sent to chick lit editors. The book is really a mystery romance. Slight problem.
• Another year passed. Agent and I agreed to part and I found the perfect agent in Holly Root. She submitted my book to mystery editors. It sold within a month!
• That was a year and a half ago. I went through more revisions, cover art, edits and copy edits, marketing, promotion, etc.
• And now, blink, the book comes out tomorrow!!!!
When I started writing, I had no idea what a journey it would take me on. Looking back, I don’t regret a single moment or a single rejection. Or a single year. I wouldn’t change a thing because I really do feel that the journey is the most important part of the process. I’ve learned so much, grown as a writer and as a person, and am happy. A person can’t ask for more than that [book sales aside!].
Please give a hearty welcome (and maybe a cabana boy or two) to debut writer Misa Ramirez. Mother of five, English teacher, wife, and now published author. Misa has had a long and rewarding journey to publication which she’s sharing with us today.
Jo: Misa, tell us a little about your debut book.
Misa: Living the Vida Lola is the first in a mystery series. The heroine is Dolores “Lola” Cruz and she’s a private investigator. She’s smart, sassy, and determined, has a black belt in kung fu, and only her family and their crazy antics give her a run for her money.
Jo: Lola Cruz sounds like our kinda gal. How did you come to choose a Latina as your heroine?
Misa: My husband is Mexican-American, my kids are half Mexican, and so when I started thinking of a heroine, I was drawn to creating someone like I imagine my daughter will be. Also my alter-ego if I were Latina!
Jo: LOL, your blonde hair tells us you’re not, but I love the idea of your modeling the character after your daughter. Can you tell us something about your hero Jack Callaghan.
Misa: Lola’s known Jack since they were kids; he’s her brother’s best friend. He went away for college, stayed away, and now he’s back and part of Lola’s investigation. He’s smart and definitely a match for Lola, but he has a few secrets that Lola has to uncover.
Jo: Would you share your publishing journey with us?