Alternate Perspective: Zay in Chapter 1.

Alternate Perspective: Zay in Chapter 1.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED TEMPUS (Official Disclaimer: This text was not sent through a professional editor, so I can promise you there are some typos … somewhere … somehow.) Tempus Zay’s Perspective Chapter One … Continue reading

I accidentally became an author.

I started writing when I was 10 years old. My first short story was about a girl named Kelsey (because that was the coolest name ever) whose babysitter was killed by a man named the Peanut Butter and Jelly Murderer.  Every time he claimed another victim, he would eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at their house, then leave.

So, yeah. I was a weird kid.

But I wasn’t one who knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I went through phases: the astronaut phase, the actress phase, the longer-than-you’d-think grocery store checkout girl phase (the scanning always looked so glamorous).

In high school, I was mostly in the keep-my-head-above-the-social-waters phase and the boy phase. There wasn’t a lot of strategizing career-wise.

Then, in college, I switched my major three times. I went from Theatre (too dark) to Real Estate (too serious) to English (ah, just right). Borders on psychosis, though, no?

My point is that I never had this moment where I sat down and said, I want to be an author when I grow up. My writing was always with me, something I loved doing, something that came so naturally to me that I didn’t even realize it was my passion.

My junior year in college I wrote a book called Our Story that will never see the light of day. That first book was a cathartic experience, and I learned more about myself through it than the craft of authorship. But when I finished it, something clicked into place inside of me. I knew I would never stop writing books.

My second, third, and forth manuscripts followed. Most of it was complete garbage. I mean terrible, terrible stuff. And at first it was all in good fun. And I know people read this and think—I’d rather carve my eyeballs from my head with a rusty coat hanger than write for fun—but that’s just how it was, and how it still is for me.

Three years ago I started writing Tempus. I loved my job and had a full life, so writing served no other purpose for me than a hobby I was passionate about. Then, when I finished Tempus, I shared it with a few people. I was literally (genuinely, seriously) blown away when they expressed how much they enjoyed reading it.

That’s the moment my writing went from being about me, to being about a reader. It was an addictive feeling—writing something that made people think and feel.

So I decided to edit Tempus and query it—just to see what happened. Simultaneously, I started writing more for my actual job, so it took me a while to get around to sending Tempus out.

I was in bed the night my publisher reached out to me about representing Tempus. It didn’t really seem real, so I didn’t tell many people. I was crazy busy with my job, my family, my friends—plus, I’m a I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it kind of girl—the most optimistic skeptic you’ll ever meet. I shared the news with a few, but mostly focused on the season I was currently in.

Through a series of life events, it become evident to my family that I needed to step away from my day job to allow more margin in our schedules. It just so happened that the month after I quit, Tempus was published.

So I never set out to be an author, and yet, here I am. It’s very humbling, surreal, unexpected, and wonderful. I believe so fully in God’s sovereignty, and these circumstances only serve to confirm that.

What’s next for me? Well, I can promise you more writing. For one, I have a contract to finish the Tempus series. I also have another idea for a series that I’m just squirming to get started on. (Yup. I’m that big of a nerd.)

I don’t want to limit my life to just one narrow career path. That’s not for me. I want to give myself permission to pursue my dreams, however random or unexpected or challenging they might be.

And who knows? I could wake up tomorrow and hate writing. If that happens, I may be the lady scanning your groceries on your next outing.

Hey. Anything can happen, right?

Holly Lauren is the author of TEMPUS, a Young Adult Science Fiction Romance out now at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

How to publish a book.

Want to know how to get published?

Now that my first published novel is out and about (the most terrifying and awesome feeling ever), folks are getting curious.

How long did it take you to write it? (1 year to write, 1 year to edit)

Where did you find the time? (Time isn’t change on the ground that you find, you make time)

Does it come in large print? (Not yet, Grandmother)

But the main question people want to know, and one that I wanted to know before I had this opportunity, is how in the world does a person go about getting a book published.

My Story:

2006:  I wrote a book. It was terrible. I queried it and got rejected.

2008: I wrote a book. It was slightly less terrible. I queried it and got rejected.

2010: I wrote a book. It was bearable. I queried it, got a little interest, but no representation.

2011: I wrote TEMPUS. I queried it, got a little interest, but no representation. Something in me KNEW this book was worth fighting for. So in …

2012: I spent a year re-dreaming TEMPUS. I sent out manuscripts to people I trusted for feedback. I got a critique partner. I edited, cut down, edited, cut down. I hired someone to edit it.

2013: I queried TEMPUS again. This time, Kitty Bullard reached out to me and asked if I’d like her wonderful publishing house, GMTA, to publish TEMPUS. I was in bed. I burst into tears.

2014: TEMPUS was released .

Quick Tips:

-Tailor your queries so you’re sending agents/publishers ONLY what they ask for. Do you fit in with their niche? Do they already represent someone like you? Do your research, and mention these things specifically in your query. I probably queried 25 agents/publishers with TEMPUS, but I knew each of them were looking for something like TEMPUS, and believed I added to their current list needs.

-Join a good database like Writer’s Market to keep yourself up-to-date on trends and current marketplace needs. This is also where you can get connected with agents, publishers, and other writers.

-Read good books to sharpen your usage and mind. I learned a lot from reading books like WARM BODIES (Isaac Marion), The DIVERGENT series (Veronica Roth), and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENT SERIES (Cassandra Clare). These people have already “made it” so to speak, so watching what they do teaches you what publishers want.

 -And, most of all, keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. If I had given up after book one, that would have been it. Rejection is hard. But I made myself a promise: I would not stop writing until someone published my book. I was just crazy enough to believe that I could do it. And, if you’re a writer, my guess is that you’re a little crazy, too. 🙂

If you’ve been published before, I’d love to hear about your journey.

Holly Lauren is the author of TEMPUS, a Young Adult Science-Fiction Romance out now at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.