Today’s post is extremely special to us here at Romance University. Our very own Adrienne Giordano shares her personal triumph to getting published. We’re so proud of her and excited to be a part of her journey. Word of warning: the following is a tissue-worthy post.
Good morning, Adrienne!
My writing journey began twelve years ago. In theory, it began way (way, way) before that when I was in high school and decided I would one day write a book. After college, life got in the way and I became a career girl. I still loved to write, but paying my rent had become the priority.
In 1998, my father was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. If you know anything about cancer, stage four is not good news. His chemo regimen required him to be hospitalized once a month for seven days straight. By this time, I was married and still working full-time, but fearing my father had limited time with us, my husband and I decided I should take a leave of absence from work so I could fly back and forth to New Jersey and be with my dad.
I began flying to Jersey for two weeks out of the month. When in Chicago for the remaining weeks, I found myself with nothing to do. For the first time in my adult life, I had no job to go to. That’s when I started writing my first book. It became the outlet for all my fears over the idea that my father might be dying. And, to be honest, part of it was the mortality thing people talk so much about. In my case, it proved true. My dream of writing a book had waited patiently for me to chase it, and I kept putting it off because I was busy. Well, I suddenly had time.
I would sit for hours in my quiet house and release whatever I had trapped inside my aching heart. When my two weeks at home ended, I would print the pages (I didn’t have a laptop then) and take them to Jersey with me. I would sit next to my father’s hospital bed and edit those pages as poison pumped into his body. It didn’t stop him from haranguing me about watching Olivia Dihaviland or John Wayne on the classic movie station.
“What are you doing?” he’d ask while I sat with my three-ring binder in front of me.
“Working,” I’d say.
“Eh, you’re missing a good movie,” he’d respond.
This went on for six months until his first round of chemo ended. To our delight, his scans came back positive because the cancer hadn’t spread. Good news all around.
After that first six months, I had the writing bug bad and couldn’t imagine not doing it anymore. I lost countless hours of sleep thinking about scenes I wanted to create. If you know me, you know losing sleep is not a good thing for me.
With my dad’s condition relatively stable, I returned to work part-time so I could continue writing. The cycle continued with me working three days per week, writing on my days off and then taking a few extra days once a month to hang out with my dad.
After four years of countless rounds of chemo, and with one and a half books under my belt, my father died and it tore a hole in me so big that I have yet to figure out how to fill it. But I continued writing my second book because the writing became my outlet for all the pain and anger consuming me.
Five years ago, I started submitting that book. The first one, the one I had worked on while my dad was in the hospital, sits in my drawer and is so riddled with newbie errors, I will never let it out. Never. You can beg if you’d like, but it’s not going to happen. The second book though, I thought that one had a shot, and I started submitting and entering contests. I was quite proud when I received a request for a full. That book also gave me my first final in the Linda Howard contest.
When the rejections started rolling in, I reminded myself I was still learning and growing as a writer. I continued to take workshops and go to conferences and meet other writers because with each book I finished, I saw growth. And more rejections. Those blasted rejections just kept coming. Some agents or editors even took the time to comment on all the things I did right. Sometimes I think those are the hardest rejections to accept because they tell you everything is good, great even, but not great enough.
I kept writing. That’s all we can do, right? Just keep going.
This past summer, I went through a bad patch. I had some contest finals to be proud of, some complimentary rejections that encouraged me to keep going, but how long could I continue on this journey? Would I eventually look back after twenty years of submitting and be sad about all the time I’d spent writing? Worse, could I stand it if that did happen? I just didn’t know. I decided I’d finish the work in progress and take time off from writing. Regroup, I thought.
On September 16th, , I received a call from Angela James at Carina Press telling me they wanted to buy, Man Law, my third book.
I stood staring at the telephone, wondering if I’d heard right. I replayed the message three times just to be sure. Then I ran to my office to see if the follow-up email Angela had referenced would be there. Yep, there it was. The offer to buy Man Law.
I sat in my desk chair, a place I had spent countless hours creating and revising manuscripts, and something hit me like a smack upside my head. That day, September 16, would have been my father’s 80th birthday. Could it be that my dad had sent me a gift from heaven on his own birthday? Coincidence perhaps?
I don’t think so.
The journey that had started at my father’s bedside twelve years ago had finally turned into my dream coming true.
So, to my dad I say, “I got your gift, Chief. Thank you.”
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RU Crew, I did warn you about the tissue. What about you? Do any of our readers have an inspirational story similar to Adrienne’s? Doesn’t have to be about publishing.
Join us on Friday when debut author Amy Atwell will discuss linear vs. non-linear styles of storytelling–a blog you don’t want to miss!
Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense, contemporary romance and women’s fiction. After spending seventeen years working in and around the newspaper and advertising industry, Adrienne chose to work part-time as a marketing consultant to allow more writing time.
She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Chicago area with her work-a-holic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaton Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog, is a member of Romance Writers of America, Windy City RWA, Kiss of Death, and RWA’s Women’s Fiction chapter.
Adrienne’s books have been finalists in the 2008 and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests, the 2009 Sheila and the 2010 Write Stuff Contest. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Man Law, will be available in 2011 from Carina Press. For more information visit Adrienne’s website at www.adriennegiordano.com or her Facebook page at Adrienne Giordano – Author.
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