August 19, 2015
What do you really want to do with your life? Author Linda Thorne had that moment of clarity and she’s been writing ever since. She says in this week’s Killer Nashville Guest Blog that she was hooked regardless of whether her work was published or not. Publication finally came…ten years after that first epiphany.Find your passion, and then read and write like someone is burning the books!Happy reading!
By Linda Thorne
I remember the day I made up my mind to write a book and meant it. Certainly not the first time I’d toyed with the notion. My protagonist would be a career human resources manager like me, but she’d be a creation of my imagination that could get away with about anything. She’d turn sleuth and solve crimes, be the instigator in getting bad bosses their comeuppance, and go where day-to-day HR managers never go.
The year was 2005 and my husband and I were living in a little town called Hanford, in the Central Valley of California, where I was having the damnedest time finding a job. I was reading a Carolyn Haines book in her Bone series and thought, I can write a book like this; it would be easy. The thought came out of nowhere with such clarity I knew this time I’d do it.
Looking back, I’ve laughed at my naivety hundreds of times. I misjudged the simple, clean writing of Carolyn Haines as easy. I know now how hard it is to put words on paper that appear as effortless writing.
But it all seemed so doable on that particular day, so with determination in my heart I went to the nearest bookstore and bought a book called, You Can Write A Novel, by James V. Smith, Jr. and read it. This was going to be a snap. I purchased varying colors and sizes of index cards and began logging descriptions and motivations for characters, plot points for the storyline, and other needed information. I sorted and organized the cards and stored them inside a notebook. All I had to do was follow the recipe and “bam,” a perfect cake, first time out.
Yeah, right. I spent seven months writing the book I’d titled Just Another Termination but the finished product didn’t sound like any other book I’d ever read. It wasn’t good. Actually, that’s too mild. It was awful.
So I began the long process of beating myself over the head to get it because once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. Writing became my curse as well as my love. I learned to write while rewriting, studying self-help books, writing short stories, sharing my work at critique group meetings.
I submitted my book to agents and publishers for years. I also entered contests, my favorite being the Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, a free contest for anyone who had not already published a novel. Each year when I didn’t win, I’d do a critical review of my book before submitting it for the next year’s contest. In 2013, I knew I was making headway because, Just Another Termination made the finals. It made the finals again in 2014, but I couldn’t wait another year.
Just Another Termination tells the story of Judy Kenagy, the first human resources manager to turn sleuth or, at least, the first to admit it. The story begins on the Mississippi Gulf Coast pre-Katrina when a young female employee, a no-call-no-show, is found shot to death.
I tweaked the book again and submitted it to Black Opal Books. To my surprise, they offered me a publishing contract for a 2015 release date. I was ecstatic, but I also knew getting published was not an end by any means. There’s marketing the book, writing other books and dealing with their promotion too.
The journey has taken longer and been tougher than I ever imagined and it’s not over. It’s been ten years and counting since that day in Hanford, California, over a decade ago. Whether a curse or a blessing, the decision has been made.
Linda Thorne began pursuing her true passion, writing, in 2005. Since then, she has published numerous short stories in the genres of mystery, thriller, and romance. Like her lead character, Thorne is a career human resources manager who has worked in the HR profession in Arizona, Colorado, Mississippi, California, and now, Tennessee. Her HR positions have ranged in title from vice-president (a small savings and loan), director, manager, specialist to generalist. She is working on a sequel to her debut novel, A Promotion to Die For, where her main character earns a promotion and encounters an unsolved murder all while Hurricane Katrina is bearing down on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She currently lives in Hermitage, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, with her husband, Dave, and two border collies (fur people), Abby and Mo. Visit her website at www.lindathorne.com
(To be a part of the Killer Nashville Guest Blog, send a query to email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks to Tom Wood, Maria Giordano, Will Chessor, and publisher/editor-in-chief Clay Stafford for their assistance in putting together this week’s blog. And for more writer resources, visit us at www.KillerNashville.com, www.KillerNashvilleMagazine.com, and www.KillerNashvilleBookCon.com.)