Sunday, April 11, 2010

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

My guest is Alexandra Ivy. She has written and published over thirty historical novels. She recently hit the bestsellers (New York and USA Today) list with her paranormal series, Guardians of Eternity. She says she never expected it and was surprised.

What I appreciate about Alex's story is the fact that she didn't let years of rejections stop her from reaching out to her dream of being published. She had a goal, a belief in both herself and in her ability to reach the goal. She didn't take no for an answer. Instead she used the rejections as a learning tool to perfect her craft as a writer. I have to admire that sort of perseverance.

Her topic today is about the long road to be published and being in the right place at the right time.


I’m always delighted to be given the opportunity to talk about my writing career. Not because I was a fabulous overnight success. Or because I was pulled out of the slush pile and hit the New York Times bestseller list with my great American novel. Or because the movie deal was in the mail before the book hit the stands.

But because it was just the opposite :-)

I began writing after the birth of my first son, (yep, it was a verrrrrry long time ago) . At first I just wanted to see if I could actually finish a book. Or maybe I was just crazy buzzed with the post –birth hormones. Anyway, it took awhile, but I did at last type THE END. It wasn’t very good, in fact, it was freaking AWFUL, but I learned a lot through the process and it gave me a place to start editing (I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to finish a manuscript). From there I started researching publishers who might be interested in my masterpiece…(clears throat) or rather my lump of coal and started sending that baby out.

That should be it, you say? Presto I’m a published author?


Not quite. In fact, it took ten more years and countless more manuscripts before I ever got the CALL. Most of my friends and family thought I was nuts to keep trying. After all, who keeps putting themselves into the position of being rejected over and over and over and over…well, you get the picture. And each and every one hurt as bad as the first one.

I told myself I was persevering, although I think my husband muttered something about being stubborn, mulish, and pig-headed :). In any case, I at last did make my first sell. It was a traditional regency and while the sales were hardly earth shattering, I was over the moon. I, at last, was doing what I loved, even if I did have to keep my day job.

For several years I continued with the traditional regencies. They had a small, but loyal audience and enjoyed writing them. But it became increasingly obvious that the traditional were a dying genre and so I moved to the longer, meater historicals. Thank goodness I had an editor who believed in me because once again I didn’t set the world on fire. I had decent sales, but the trend was for the tortured brooding hero (which I adore to read) while I always ended up writing a comedy of errors.

I didn’t mind. A midlist author isn’t a bad gig. I loved being able to write and I was delighted to be able to connect with readers. I wasn’t world-famous, but hey, I didn’t have to worry about getting mobbed at the grocery store or having my face pasted all over the web (something I can guarantee that none of us want). I was getting steady contracts and doing what I loved. How many people can actually say that?


Fast forward another ten years and I made the plunge into paranormals. I wrote When Darkness Comes just for myself. I not only wanted to see if I could write the book, but I wanted to do it without the pressure of a deadline. It turned out that I had an absolute blast with the Guardians. I could combine my love of horror with my naturally smart-ass nature…a perfect fit :-)


Astonishingly the book led to more books and I recently hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, which shocked the heck out of me. I never even considered the possibility. Sometimes being in the right place at the right time really does pay off!


In any case, I do have a point to this less than dazzling story of publication :-)

I believe that in the end that it’s the tortoise not the hare who wins the race, and that if you continue to follow your dreams, no matter how many obstacles or set-backs you have to overcome, or how many disbelievers tell you to quit, you will eventually reach your goals.

  • What's your attitude towards reaching goals: Tortoise or Hare?

Back Cover Blurb:

Salvatore Giuliani is not a happy werewolf. It’s his duty as leader to track down the pureblood females who can keep his people from extinction. But the moment he catches scent of Harley, a pureblood held by a pack of mangy curs, his savage need for her obliterates all other instincts. And the only thing worse than being captured is finding that beautiful, independent Harley defiantly refuses to become his mate.

Harley has been taught to distrust all Weres, especially their arrogant king. She won’t be used for breeding or bonded against her will, not even to a man who makes every nerve tingle with awareness. Yet Salvatore is her key to saving the family she never knew she had—if she dares to succumb to his dark, predatory desire, and face a vicious enemy sworn to destroy them both…

Read a Excerpt/chapter

Alexandra Ivy's Blog/News

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I’m not exactly sure when I fell in love with books. Probably on my mother’s knee listening to her read Dr. Seuss to me. I do remember that I was barely old enough to cross the street by myself when I discovered the delights of the local library. Could anything be more wonderful than spending summer days surrounded by stacks of Nancy Drew mysteries? Over the years I fell in love with Victoria Holt, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and J.R.R. Tolkien just to name a few. I read poetry, essays, biographies, and plays. In fact, I read anything I could get my hands on.



Years later (no, I’m not admitting how many) I’m still an avid reader, and my tastes are still as varied as they were in my youth, which I suppose helps to explain why I enjoy writing regency historicals under the name of Deborah Raleigh, as well as my contemporary paranormals as Alexandra Ivy. For now that is enough to keep me busy, but who knows what the future might hold!



I do have a few other loves in my life besides reading and writing, the most important being my unbelievably patient husband, David, and my two sons, Chance and Alexander. Without their constant support and belief in me, I never could have been able to follow my dreams. They are truly my heroes.

13 comments:

Other Lisa said...

Wow! Am I first? Is this possible?

Congratulations, Alexandra! Your story is inspirational. I too am a tortoise, having only recently scored my first deal after *cough* a number of years of trying *cough*. I'm still learning what it really means to be a professional author, but I think in the long run, I'm happier that I took the slow ride. Because, for me, it is about the long run, and your career is a good example of what it really means to have a career. Kudos to you!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, welcome to Over Coffee. Pull up a comfortable chair and enjoy some coffee.

We have a great group that stops by. :-)

VA said...

Mine is still in its cage, so hard to tell, but I'm thinking tortoise.

Inspirational story, Alex and an entertaining excerpt. I like smart-mouthed :) Being a historical fan, I recently expanded to paranormal and like the cheeky nature. It seems to be the perfect gothic transition from regency.

Kat Sheridan said...

Hi, Alex! Your books sound wonderful (I DO love dark and tortured!) And I really enjoyed reading about your road to success and your perserverance. As for me, um, what goes slower than a tortoise? A sloth? A corpse? Yes, that's about my speed. But I'm still working on it!

Alexandra Ivy said...

It's wonderful to be here... I hope that you won't ever give up on your path!!

Abigail-Maidson said...

Congrats! Love your books and this article!

Dana Fredsti said...

ALex, I can't wait to read your books - you had me at enjoying reading about brooding heroes while writing comedies of error... or Comedy of errors. ???

ANYway, I am definitely a tortoise now, but had to learn to back away from the hare mentality before things started happening for my writing career. Your post is definitely inspirational for aspiring and published authors alike!

Tamara said...

I found your book "When Darkness Comes" by chance. The cover drew me in and the story made me stay. While I will never be a writer, I do appreciate good writing and I think you're up there with the best of them! Thanks for sharing your inspirational story and the best of luck to you always!

Victoria said...

Hi Alex - Love your story. Thank heaven for your perseverance. I love your books!

Anonymous said...

love, love, love the beyond the darkness series

Anonymous said...

You Rock! You inspire this aspiring author! I will do it - You are terrific!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Oh, this is a great story! Thanks for sharing it. Congrats on your success. :) Cheers~

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, I let my sister-in-law know I found another series she would love and gave her the link. My brother somes online and grouses, "are you trying to break me. She's now decided she must buy the first two of the series or maybe the whole thing. Gee thanks sis."

I thought I'd share that with you, lolol!

I'm definitely a tortise with the story I'm writing. I came at it much like you did with the first in this series. Can I write it? I didn't want any pressure on me even from ME. I'm having lots of fun with it, eve though I've had to do tons of research to build a viable world. Reading your article gave me encouragement so thanks!