Anne Oliver has lived in
The two magical words that published writers talk about and unpublished writers dream about. Mine came on 16th December, the last day of the 2005 school year at . So how did I get there?
I’ve always loved reading, especially fairy tales. The first story I remember from childhood was Hans Christian Andersen’s “Little Mermaid.” I cried for days. L M Mongomery’s “Anne” books and her “The Blue Castle” followed. I love stories that evoke emotion.
In 1996 I began researching my family history. In the process I unearthed a few skeletons and rattled a few bones, including my own. A visit to a clairvoyant (yes, I’ve also always had an interest in the paranormal), was a defining moment in my life. I came away with a story I had to tell. I’d never felt the urge to write until that night. Suddenly it was an obsession. My reincarnation story linked two star-crossed lovers across 150 years and two continents. And of course it was going to be snapped up as soon as I submitted it to an editor.
A year later with my manuscript still unfinished and growing to epic proportions I joined the Australian Chapter of Romance Writers of America who held regular workshops and critique groups in Adelaide and discovered that I needed a lot more writing practice. What the hell was Point of View? The Hero’s Journey? Emotional intensity? I’d read it, loved it, but couldn’t translate it into my own work. So I joined Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of New Zealand and began entering contests.
A trilogy of fantasy/time travel/futuristic novels followed — linking star-crossed lovers across time and other worlds. These early manuscripts did well in contests and after submitting and waiting over a year for a reply, a major
After four manuscripts of 100,000 words each, I decided to write something shorter. A Mills and Boon? Why not? They’d be easy enough to write. (Hah!) So I began reading them and discovered a new world of books that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the emotion, they were easy to read and because they were relatively short there weren’t too many distracting subplots, they had gorgeous heroes and I could read lots.
Around this time I joined a critique group which was an invaluable source of support, friendship and advice. I wrote a story aimed at Intimate Moments but they were changing and it – surprise! – was rejected with a form letter. I wrote another aimed at what was becoming my favourite line, Desire. Sent it off to contests. It finalled, came second in the Clendon in
Another manuscript followed, finalled in contests but didn’t reach the top three, so didn’t reach an editor’s desk.
2005 was a horrible year for me. My father passed away, my dog died, my marriage ended. Desire’s guidelines changed and my latest manuscript did not fit those new guidelines. I was close to giving up and going back to sewing quilts when I came second in RWNZ’s Great Beginnings contest and my entry went to Kimberley Young who requested the full. But I wasn’t getting my hopes up again.
Then at on the 24th November, almost a year to the day today, the phone rang. It was
I sent it on Tuesday night and she rang on the Friday night. Once again, totally unprepared; no glasses, no pen and paper for the expected ‘further revisions needed’. She said something like, “We’ve reread your manuscript and the changes…” P-a-u-s-e. I think I mumbled an ineffectual “oh…” Then she said, “we love it and we want to buy it.”
Now I’ve held my first book in my hands. Yesterday I saw it on the shelf in my local shopping centre. I had a launch last week and signed my own books. My second book is due out in the
So I’m going to give myself a couple of weeks to read those books other people have sweated and agonised over before the school end of year gets into high gear. As for book four – it’s something I started a year ago and is my Christmas holiday project…
Anne's first book, Behind Closed Doors is out now as a Sexy Sensation in Australia!
Check out the excerpt at her website. It's a doozy!