Ever since I was barely a teen and saw a teacher light up over my first attempt at a short story, I’ve been utterly hooked on sharing ideas through writing. But it was never one particular kind of writing that got me excited. It was every kind.
Since then I’ve been blessed to go deep into just about every kind of writing imaginable. I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, a magazine editor, and a marketing writer. I’ve written a nonfiction reference book (the World Business Desk Reference) and multiple screenplays. I’ve written annual reports and national ad campaigns. I’ve published short stories and papers for academic journals. I’ve written major corporate websites. I’ve written error messages and invisible labels to help blind people navigate the Web. I’ve written songs, including one (“Naked”) recorded by Joan Jett. I’ve ghostwritten fiction and nonfiction books—and helped edit many others.
I’ve had work assignments ranging from 70,000 words to 70 characters. I’ve mastered the Hero’s journey and the inverted pyramid. I can switch from AP to Chicago to corporate stylebooks with ease (and some cross-referencing).
Each new writing challenge was a chance to improve my craft, to sharpen tools for the day inspiration hit—so I’d have what I needed to do justice to the muse if and when she decided to visit.
Finally, the story behind Sparkle came. It was almost like a dream (I was awake, but just barely). Each character literally talked to me, told me who they were. I could see it all play out in my head before I wrote a word.
The story behind Sparkle was intensely personal. Every aspect of it was metaphorical—the perfect (private + public) way to share and heal a profound and challenging time in my life.
Many readers have told me that Sparkle unfolds like a movie. There’s a good reason for that. It started as a screenplay. Navigating Hollywood, with its elusive successes and just-jump-through-one-more-hoop promises, was an amazing learning experience, and led to the realization that Sparkle needed to be a novel.
Several drafts over several years for several major publishing houses (with the constant help and guidance of a supportive literary agency, AEI in Los Angeles) landed Sparkle smack in the middle of a transformed and timid publishing landscape. And when yet another Random Publishing House informed me they couldn’t risk it on a new author (after working with me for over a year), I sincerely thanked them for their editorial wisdom (they did make a couple great suggestions) and published Sparkle myself.
Getting reviews for a self-published book has been tough. Being named one of the Top Five Books of 2012 by Crime Fiction Lover has really helped.
And the sequel’s going to be even better.