Friday, October 18, 2013

Old Bio!

My old bio, in the summer of 2013, before I got picked up by an agent:

I'm a stay-at-home mom with three beautiful, blond boys (see my other blog, Fond of Blond, which is actually pretty out-dated), and in my need to make something of myself and become more than just my children's mother, I decided, six years ago, to turn my love of writing and words into a daytime hobby.

Eventually, that hobby became a need to create. It became a passion, a part of me. It became much more than a hobby.

I love any well-written TV show, movie, or book, whether it makes me laugh, cry, moved, or pissed off. I love anything that inspires true human emotion, and some of my favorites in the way of television are Dexter, Breaking Bad, the Walking Dead, Homeland, and the Newsroom, just to name a few (and I can't not mention the more campy, fun-loving obsessions, like True Blood and Once Upon a Time). In movies, I have far too many to name, but I love anything from comic-book action to slower paced dramas (bending on the not so funny humorous side) in the vein of Lars and the Real Girl. In books, I just love getting swept away, whether it be by beautiful pros or a catching, fun story. From YA fantasy in the vein of Aprilynne Pike's Wings to slower paced but beautiful and mysterious settings in the vein of Ali Shaw's Girl with the Glass Feet. From fascinating narrative nonfiction like Jon Ronson's the Psychopath Test to epic YA tales like Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series, and epic fiction of a larger and more adult scale, like the fantastically written the Passage, by one of my favorite authors, Justin Cronin (currently reading book two, the Twelve). From Nicholas Sparks, before he was trendy, to life-changing tales like Tuesdays with Morrie and Life of Pi.

Among my greatest passions in life, music is at the top. Music can move me like nothing else. Put some heart-piercing lyrics with a beautiful rhythm, and I'm drawn in, hooked. Mumford and Sons, for that very reason. Imagine Dragons, for their upbeat, electric sound. And if I don't stop here, this whole blog post would be about music I love.

I used to write poetry in my spare time as a teenager and young adult, but went back to my roots of writing books (I wrote lots of silly children's books when I was a child) after having my first child. Eventually, when halfway through my first novel, I realized it was a long-hidden passion--something far beyond a pastime.

Finally, after years of not knowing what I wanted to be when "I grew up," I hit the nail on the head.

Aside from being a wife and mother, which I do with full attention and love, a writer is who I was meant to be (I'll say again, aside from being a mother). Why it took me being an adult and having a newborn baby to figure that out, I don't know. But I did, and my children, and the person I became by loving and nurturing them, are my inspiration. They are my motivation. They are what gave me a new and fresh outlook on the world around me.

And my writing is how I stay sane. It is who I am, as an individual. I am a writer.

One day, I will be a published author. Whether that time is sometime soon, or whether it's years down the road, it will happen. 

Now, the trick is finding an agent who is willing to go the journey with me, one who is as in-love with my work as I am. One who feels passionate about spreading it to the rest of the world because they know it needs to be devoured by the masses.

My first novel, In the Family--which I will always hold near and dear to my heart, because it was my experimental "first child" in all of this--is one I will never try to publish, simply because it lacks way too many elements a successful novel possesses. It's a women's fiction with romantic elements...but along with an almost irking dark and somber side, it has a humorous and lighthearted side--things you might find in a romantic comedy. So, not really sure where it would fall on the bookshelf. Perhaps one day I will polish it up and give it a go.

Next was my most beloved women's fiction, November Rain, which I once upon a time called Prayers to Russell. I steered away from the title November Rain, due to the Guns 'n Roses' song, but eventually realized there was not a better fitting title. It holds in it the somber yet renewing theme of the novel. These characters--though I am in love with all characters I create, and feel to know them personally--are the most real to me. It's Lucas and Raegan I drift back to when I need a certain character motivation.

I then decided, when I realized I may have real potential, to try my hand at some paranormal women's fiction. The Exception, however, is more than a women's fiction, I think. I'm not sure whether it would be placed on the shelf with women's fiction, or with mainstream paranormal (though, usually it's in the same area). In this novel, I realized how exhilarating it was to create things that didn't exist in our world, how creative my mind could actually be.

And it was that realization that set my love for writing fantasy on fire. I have always been a lover of fantasy, but never thought I had the guts to think it up and write it. Anyone who knows me well knows I lack a certain confidence in many areas of my life. Though I love my projects, it's always been hard for me to accept that others do, too. When I began thinking up the concept to Hemlock Veils in December of 2011, it was a topic that lodged itself so securely in my heart that I couldn't let it go.

I dreamed about it.

I daydreamed about it when I was supposed to be focusing on other things.

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fable. The message, the story, the characters: I love it. I have read all the adaptions, from Robin McKinley to Donna Jo Napoli, and always loved the different takes. But there was always something lacking, and I felt it was my turn to tell what had been missing. Hemlock Veils is very loosely inspired by it, to say the least. While it holds many of the key plot elements of the classic story, it differs so much that the reader may forget it's an adaption at all. It is a story of its own, about second chances, forgiveness, love, acceptance, and facing your own inner monsters.

When first fleshing out the concept of the novel back in January 2012, and then sitting down to write it two months later, I originally thought it was just going to be me feeding my own whimsical dream--something for my eyes only, to humor myself. But then it became real to me, and I wanted it to be real for others. I wanted others to fall deeply in love with the characters like I did, and to feel the beauty of the settings I dreamed about for months (and still dream about).

So with baited breath, I had a dear friend read it, just to get a general consensus on what others thought. Then another. And come to find out, it wasn't just me who held this as the number one project of mine; others did as well. Others gushed about it, the way I did in my mind, and I thought, just maybe, I could see it on a bookshelf one day, where strangers can fall in love with it, too.

So here I am, querying and revising and querying and revising some more (did I say revising?), because I refuse to give up on the gut feeling that Hemlock Veils will be open to the public one day.

My luck hasn't been strong so far. I've had handfuls of interested agents, but none who feel strongly enough to take it on. Someday, one will. Someday, maybe adult fantasy will be hot on the market again (since right now it seems New Adult, Young Adult, and a little bit of women's fiction are all that's making headway). 

Currently, while I query and revise, I am plugging away at the sequel. This, again, I thought may be another "selfish" go (doing what I want and not what the market demands), but now, halfway into it, I'm beginning to realize how good it may be. In a perfect world, I would sign a three-book contract for a series, since I have outlines all fleshed out.

I have had a major roller-coaster of a journey on this path, many highs and many lows, as any writer will experience. But a determination has been born, and it's unconquerable. It's that determination that has led me to learn from my mistakes and build upon my downfalls. And I'm grateful for the downfalls and rejections, and even the negative feedback, because it is those things that have allowed me to step outside myself and view my work with a keen and critical eye. It has left me with excitement in knowing how much better I can be and how I can improve.

It's been years of refreshing my English, Literary, and Grammar knowledge, learning the know-hows of writing, studying the craft, doing writing exercises, entering countless writing contests, perfecting my prose, and simply learning by my many imperfections and mistakes. I have done, and still do, extensive market, publishing, and agenting research, and keep up-to-date on current trends. I believe that one day, it will pay off.

I have learned that writing pitches, blurbs, query letters, and synopsises are definitely worse and more difficult than writing a novel itself (since I have done it for three of my four completed novels). I've learned that many times it feels like homework, while other times the process involves slipping into a dream and letting the words flow freely from my fingertips. And that expression of myself--that expression that allows me to be myself--makes all the "school work" worth it.

While doing some blog writing exercises in 2011, I also started a short story series, Red Wheelbarrow. And maybe one day I will write a novel from it, given the many requests I've gotten to do so.

But for now, it's writing, revising, and querying my fantasy. And this blog is where I post updates of the sometimes mundane and sometimes dream-like process. Who knows, I may even post some excerpts.

You can learn more about each particular project on their specific pages, or by clinking on the hyperlinks above.

Oh, and as you can gather by this page (cough as well as my novels' higher-than-average word counts cough), I'm wordy.

You can follow me on Twitter: @may_davenport



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love you Jennie! I am very proud of you!