A treat for all my friends and followers..we have a guest blogger today, My friend Andrea Sisco, whose book Deadly Habit, set to release next month (July 2009)
My debut novel, A Deadly Habit: A Penelope Santucci Mystery, will be released July 17, 2009 from Five Star. I enjoy reading mysteries and used my background as a former probation officer for a large metropolitan area as the vehicle for solving a murder. My author website is: www.andreasisco.com
A Deadly Habit is about a young probation officer, Pen Santucci who is looking good for the murderer of her estranged husband. The wisecracking, safecracking Pen lures an elderly priest and a young nun into committing felonies on her wild search for the truth. Hardly appropriate behavior for the dedicated officer. But while Pen believes in her job, she has little faith in the justice system. Unfortunately, Pen digs herself deeper into trouble and straight into a muddy grave, dragging her hunky attorney with her. If they ever get out of it alive, he plans to wring her neck himself. That is, if the thugs who are after the money she found don't get her first.
One of the things I'm asked most often is what does your journey to publication look like? I've written most of my life, but I haven't always written fiction. Many years ago I had an idea for a Women's fiction novel. It's a good story, but I didn't know how to write a book and so I over wrote it and made all sorts of beginner mistakes. I'm not sure if I'll take it out and work on it or let it stay buried.
After that first attempt it became obvious that I didn't know how to write fiction. A friend who is published in the Romance genre suggested I could learn a lot about writing if I tackled that genre (because of the fast rules and tight structure). The story I wrote was interesting and I learned a lot (my query letter was a killer because the full manuscript was requested each time I submitted it) but I hadn't learned enough. Alas, this is a story that will stay under my bed gathering dust. And that's a good thing because the book really isn't worth saving.
Writing is difficult and I came to fiction writing later in life. I have a large number of children and didn't write much as I was busy raising them. I also had a career and that took time away from writing (although I could have found a few minutes a day if I'd really thought about it. Several years ago I had an idea (based on a bit of me) for a mystery. I wrote, had readers who helped me focus and kept me honest and I continued to write (taking some time off when a number of close family members died). When I'd rewritten the book about twenty times I decided to send out queries to agents. There were only rejections! I think I queried about 30 agents. Oh, I had requests for partials, full manuscripts, etc. but nothing stuck.
I was feeling awful, but persevered and sent it to three different houses (without an agent) and was offered a contract by Five Star and had interest from the other two houses (I wanted to go with Five Star). An author friend, Emyl Jenkins (her newest book The Big Steal published by Algonquin is out in July) told me I had to have an agent and warned me not to sign anything until she talked to her agent.
I couldn't believe that someone was offering to act as a go between with her agent (frankly I've found authors don't do this much—at least it hasn't happened to me). Her agent said if I could write, she'd work with me. And she is now my agent. She took an orphan author and gave her a home and some feeling of security. I met her last fall while speaking at a writer's conference out east. What a dear and talented woman!
I was offered my contract with Five Star in late November of 2007, and signed the contract around February of 2008 (not much goes on in publishing between Thanksgiving and New Years) and was given a July 2009 pub date. Long time, huh? No wonder authors self-publish. Actually I'm at the age where I thought I could die before seeing it in print.
Writing is hard work and demands discipline. I'm really suffering with the next book in the Penelope Santucci series. I am so busy with Armchair Interviews, my 7 month old Shih Tzu, Sophie and my family that I often don't sit down and write. Then I go in bursts of non stop writing… The promotion of A Deadly Habit is interference also. I had no idea how much work it is to promote a book, because, folks, publishers print books and authors sell them.
I'm often asked is why, as a Christian, didn't you write for a Christian house? Good question. My answer is simple; there are thousands of Christian writer's writing for that market and that's wonderful. I wanted to be a Christian writing a good, fun, clean book for the secular market. There is no cursing in my book. There are sins mentioned, but the heroine learns from her mistakes. I didn't want to be a Pollyanna, but I wanted to show people that Christians are not limited to Christian houses. Now, that's not to say I wouldn't change my mind in the future. But for now, I'm with a good publisher and I like my flawed heroine and the home we've found with Five Star. My advice to writers is write what you like to read and you'll be happier for doing so.
If you are interested in A Deadly Habit look for it in your local bookstore after July 17, 2009. If they don't have it, ask them to carry it. Or it can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or from the publisher at www.gale.cengage.com. And come visit me at www.andreasisco.com If you've got questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Sisco has had an eclectic career as a probation officer, television host, flight attendant, book reviewer, and adoption activist. The charge that the character of Penelope Santucci is autobiographical is only partially true. It is true, however, that her husband consented to his murder, but only if it took place of the pages of a book. She has kept her promise. Andrea is the co-founder of Armchair Interviews, a web site that reviews books and interviews authors. A Deadly Habit is her first mystery. She is currently coauthoring a Young Adult Fantasy series. Her website is www.andreasisco.com