Guest Blog at Books, Books and More Books

Guest blogging today at Books, books and more Books

here is the LINK:http://dream-reader-dreamer2229.blogspot.ca/2012/04/welcome-to-author-of-rae-of-hope-w-j.html#comment-form

and here is Mindy’s Book Review on Rae of Hope :  http://dream-reader-dreamer2229.blogspot.ca/2012/04/book-review-of-rae-of-hope.html

Welcome to the Author of Rae of Hope: W. J. West

 
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Rae’s Story
 
I’ve often been asked by kids, adults and other writers (who sometimes don’t quite fall into the kid category or the adult one either J )  So, while visiting Mindy’s blog today, I figured I’d share the story – from start to finish.
 
Sit back, unbutton your suit jacket and grab yourself a snack and cup of coffee (better make it a small one, my story’s not that long!)
 
I wrote as a kid (sadly, I figured I’d make a wonderful romance, harlequin writer – which, coming from a small Christian School I should have realized I’d never make the cut J )  However, writing dreams got pushed aside for Olympic dreams when I began high jumping in tenth grade and began representing Canada. Well, I never quite made the Olympics (made World Championships, won Olympic Trials, but never quite made that extra 2cm required by Canada to make the standard).
 
My Dad passed away in 2008 from a strong, six year batter with cancer.  During one of our last conversations we had, he encouraged me to chase after my dreams.  So, that Christmas (2 mths later) I began writing again. I wrote a book called Riding Hood (which is actually being edited with my agent and going out to publishers in the near future – it’s now titled Seventh Mark).  Rae of Hope, the first book in the Chronicles of Kerrigan came along 2 months later, and ironically, 2 mths later it was finished. 
 
I decided that if I ever wanted my kids to read my work, I needed to fine tune it so they wouldn’t make fun of me.  My kids are 6,5 and 21mths – I figured I had plenty of time before they start reading a YA book.  Anyways, I joined a critique group (www.critiquecircle.com – which I highly recommend to any writer) and learned loads, met great friends (especially the Golden Girls – who are not old, but are 5 star worthy) and learned valuable information.  On CC I was encouraged to look for an agent to represent my work. 
 
I didn’t believe that any of my writing was publishing worthy but got curious.  I sent Rae of Hope out to five agents and within the week, all five requested the entire MS.  I didn’t realize that in itself was a big feat – I assumed that was normal.  Well, within two months, I had two agents interested in representing Rae.  I did some homework (not quite sure what I needed to do, but I did ask a lot of questions). I signed on with Dawn Dowdle from BlueRidge Literary Agency.  She was interested in representing Rae of Hope, and also Riding Hood/Seventh Mark.
 
Learning about edits, about re-reading and revising (something I had ALWAYS hated to do as a kid) became something fun J Crazy ‘eh?  I had no idea what track changes were or how to do anything about them when I got my first MS back.  The red lines and comments made me think I had to rewrite the ENTIRE ms over again! Ha ha – Dawn patiently explained what needed to be done.
 
The time came to start publishing rounds for Rae of Hope.  A large number of houses were interested and it was exciting to get requests, along with responses of no’s – as a lot of editors gave suggestions what they felt the story needed.  I followed their advice and I kept writing and learning all the while.  Chicken House – a UK publisher – showed strong interest and we got fantastic feedback on what they would like us to do.  I rewrote and made the story stronger.  In the meantime (it took me quite a while as three kids and a business kept me busy J ), CH found a similar story that they were interested in, or they simply weren’t interested in it anymore.  No matter what the excuse, I learned more valuable information and was extremely grateful for it.
 
kNight Romance Publishing contacted Dawn between Christmas and New Years to say that they were interested in Rae and her series.  So, on January first of 2011, I signed my first official publishing contract.  (yeah me!)
 
Mitchell Morris Publishing became on imprint (or KRP became an imprint) – I’m not 100% sure how to say that one correctly and Rae of Hope went from a single book to a four book contract.
 
More edits, more learning and now I began to be able to share my opinions and understanding of the story and the edits better – and Rae of Hope hit e-book format in August of 2011, the paperback released the end of November.  It was original a POD, but is now going to traditional publishing, along with the next book, Dark Nebula, coming out this fall/winter.
 
I sit here giggling over the fact that I am able to hold my story in my hands.  It’s surreal. Amazing. Exhausting. Confusing. Fun. Inspiring.
… The best part – I know my Dad would be as proud of my writing career as he was of my high jump career. And the better part? I know he’s prouder of my three kids than anything else J  So am I.
 
Thanks for letting me stop by Mindy and share my story.   I really appreciate it!
 
Links:
Also Facebook: Rae Kerrigan
Twitter: @wanitajump
 
And a special thank you from us for stopping by and sharing your great story… and your fabulous book with us all.  Thank you from visiting W.J. West 
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~ by wanitajump on April 17, 2012.

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