My Writing Life
So, how did it all start?
My first novel was all about horses (that should tell you it was written in my teens), and as soon as I had finished, I thought it was embarrassing, so I managed to lose it. Nothing as definite as burning it; I just left it lying about until it vanished in the way so many things vanish if you don’t keep an eye on them.
My second novel took shape some twenty years later. It was a detective story placed in Indonesia. That’s when I first noticed that I needed help. So I bought my first books about story writing (Sol Stein and others) and studied them until the pages fell apart. Then I finished the novel and started to shop it around.
No success. (I see you’re not surprised.)
When I finally nailed down one unfortunate editor, she said, “Your dialog isn’t bad. But . . .” I could feel the wealth of arguments she hadn’t put into words with that single “But.” So I lost this novel too and started to look around for more help.
In the following years, I discovered a big online writing culture in the US, but none to speak of in Germany. It’s different now, but that was ten years ago. Since I had been reading English novels for years and kept having trouble pushing down the English expressions in my mind and dragging up the German translations instead, I decided to start writing in English . . . I guess I was the fool who was never told that it couldn’t be done. Today, I’ve also translated a short story and one romance “back” into German, but I still prefer to write in English.
My first published book
Wings to Fly was my first contemporary romance. When writing the novel in early 2005, I got hooked. Being a writer is wonderful: You can dream your dreams down to the last detail, rip off the people with whom you are angry leaving no one the wiser, and rewrite the whole thing if something goes wrong. Wouldn’t it be nice if normal life was like that too? But as soon as I had finished, I knew I needed even more advice. Professional advice, no holding back, no gentle “Um, yes, I like it”. I needed to learn the craft from the bottom up. So I decided to invest some money and looked for a professional editing service. I found Elizabeth Lyon and sent her my precious manuscript. After a few agonizing weeks, I received her full report. It was almost longer than my novella, and it told me how to get better on virtually every point. But the funny thing was that it didn’t discourage me. It fired me on, and I couldn’t wait to re-write it.
In the following years, I did everything to learn more. Much of what I know I owe to my writer friend Margaret D. Elam, a retired teacher who poured her knowledge into me with incredible patience and persistence. We’ve never met face to face, but we got very close. Elizabeth Lyon then gave me the decisive hint and told me to send a query to the publisher Avalon Books. It took years (and more patience that I ever thought I possessed), but in 2008, they published Wings to Fly. Take My Place and A Little Bit of Passion followed. Hurray! I was a published author!
Some years later, Avalon Books was sold to Amazon, so I became a Montlake author (Montlake is the romance imprint of Amazon Publishing). At the same time, I started indie publishing – short stories first, then full-length novels. I love gentle (i.e not too bloody!) mysteries with a bit of romance, but those are hard to sell because traditional publishers prefer to keep the two categories apart. Indie publishing has made it possible for me to write exactly what I like . . . and I know that my readers like the same style, too!
If you look into the category “Books”, you’ll find all the books I’ve written so far. Happy reading . . . !