By Kathy Holmes
I was living/working in a high-stress job in Silicon Valley, had recently married my soulmate, and was longing to switch careers. I started thinking about my love of fiction and how I’d promised myself that one day I would write a novel. Sound familiar? Anyway, with my new husband’s whole-hearted encouragement, on January 31, 2002, I ordered the “Immediate Fiction” workshop course from the Writer’s Loft in Chicago. I discovered later that this was the same workshop that my favorite author Laura Caldwell participated in.
About this same time, I’d read The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller and The Gazebo by Emily Grayson. These books inspired me to try my hand at writing a similar book. My first two manuscripts, Carmel Knowledge and Lies! Camera! Action! got agent requests but not agent. I buried these on my computer.
By this time I’d discovered Chick Lit when I read Laura Caldwell’s Burning the Map and we’d just moved to Florida. Totally in love with this new genre, I sat out on the screened Lanai with my laptop, played Jimmy Buffet and Steel Drum music, slathered on the Hawaiian Tropic to get into the mood for a Caribbean cruise and wrote Real Women Wear Red. Not only did I begin to get full requests from agents but one agent offered me representation. Not only that, but this was manuscript #3 and Nicholas Sparks didn’t sign until manuscript #4. Woo hoo! I thought I was on my way.
Unfortunately, I’d discovered Chick Lit a little too late because by this time we were hearing that Chick Lit was dying and my book didn’t find a home with a major publishing house, much to my agent’s and my disappointment. I was offered a contract with an e-publishing house. After much consideration, I decided to turn down the contract (hard to do because it was exciting being offered that first contract), part with my agent, and self-publish before self-publishing was the hot option it is now.
This was before Kindle so after it ran its course in the print market, it was revitalized with the new Kindle market and it continues to sell.
For my next novel, The Tom Jones Club, I decided to sign with an e-publishing house because I knew how hard self-publishing is. It was a relief to hand off some of that responsibility to somebody else, although I did miss the control I’d had with self-publishing.
My third and latest published novel, Letters on Balboa Island, received interest from romance publishers, but they wanted me to adhere to romance guidelines I just didn’t want to adhere to. I felt it would change the story too much, so I decided to self-publish again.
Each one of these publishing experiences was an experiment. What I learned is that it’s important to consider what type of book you’re writing before you decide how best to publish it. What works for one author or one genre doesn’t work for another and you have to shut out the noise out there that tells you to do it one particular way.
Born in the City of Angels, raised on Walt Disney, and inspired by the dreams of both, Kathy Holmes grew up in southern California halfway between Disneyland and the beach.
Tantalized by the tropics since Adam Troy set sail on the Kon Tiki in James A. Michener’s “Adventures in Paradise,” she traveled to tropical destinations such as Hawaii, Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Asia Pacific. Eventually, she moved to Florida where she wrote and secured representation for Real Women Wear Red. She also wrote for Walt Disney World and the Orlando Sentinel.
After living in Las Vegas for a few years, Kathy, her husband, and their three Burmese cats have moved back to Florida and are now living halfway between Walt Disney World and the beach in Central Florida.
Her latest book is Letters on Balboa Island.
Visit her on the web at www.KathyHolmes.net.
About Letters on Balboa IslandWhen Rosalie Martin was seventeen, she knew two things that were true: (1) You couldn’t help but meet a man in a military uniform in southern California in the 1950s, and (2) Sooner or later, men would leave. But that didn’t stop her mother, her sister, or even herself from trying to find a man who would stay. And before she knew it, she had not only one man on her hands, but two.
When Rosalie sends a Dear John letter to the one serving in the Korean War to marry the one back home, she begins a life of secrets and regrets. Years later, when letters surface on Balboa Island, she realizes she may have chosen the wrong man. So when fate gives her the chance to make a different choice, will she? Or has she lived a life of lies for too long?