Friday, March 23, 2007

The Beginning

Actually, it's difficult to say when my writing adventure began, so I'll start with meeting my husband, The Published One!

When I met my husband he had already inked a contract for his first novel. It would be a year before the book would actually be released and the only copy to read was the manuscript that he had submitted to the publisher. That’s the book I read at the time.

When the book was finally published it was not exactly the same. The editorial process had chewed it up a little. Three more novels later I will tell you that this is not uncommon. The manuscript that an author submits and even gets accepted by a publisher is not necessarily the book that is published. This can often be a good thing, especially with the right editor. A good editor is invaluable to a writer.

My husband is Todd A. Stone and that first book is titled Kriegspiel - a play on a German word for war game and war story. A military techno-thriller it garnered favorable reviews from both Publisher’s Weekly and the New York Time’s Review of Books. The editor chose the title as well. Todd’s offering for a title was actually War Story and for some reason the publisher thought that a hard-to-pronounce German word would be better. Better how, we aren’t sure. But the publisher prevailed and Kriegspiel was published in 1992.

More than a decade later Todd’s first non-fiction work – Novelist’s Boot Camp – a Writer’s Digest Book (WDB) was released in March of 2006. The book was originally pitched as How to Build a Better Book (we wanted to use the construction metaphor) but the editors at WDB wanted to leverage Todd’s military background and changed the title to Novelist’s Boot Camp and produced a military style book that has proven to be a highly successful product. I have to say that when we received that first copy we were truly impressed with what WDB had done. Sometimes the editors and publishers get it wrong and sometimes they get it right. In the case of Novelist’s Boot Camp, the WDB editors definitely got it right. Todd and I both have a military background and felt at home with the likeness that the book has to some of the military produced books we had used while in the army.

Todd routinely presents workshops and overviews based on Novelist’s Boot Camp (NBC) at libraries and for writer’s groups. He's been in this business of writing for a very long time - more than three decades and I've learned quite a bit from him, especially as I complete what I hope is my last revision of my first novel - a romantic suspense. In fact, as he was writing NBC I was working on my first draft of my novel and asking lots of questions. I often say that he wrote the book because I asked so many questions. Now he can just say - read the book! Which I do.