Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ALYSON REUBEN: Making The Transition From Aspiring To Published Author

My guest is historical author, Alyson Reuben. A several months ago, she virtually disappeared for a while. It freaked me out, so I wrote to her and asked if all was well? That’s when I learned she was in the process of getting published and deep into edits and such.
Now that she has a bit more free time, I asked her to be a guest on Over Coffee, even though her book wasn’t yet available. I will be featuring her book in September.
I love hearing how writers deal with the call and the transition from aspiring author to published author.  How she reacted when she learned her book was to be published ( I do believe I heard a very loud squeal).  How did she work through the excitement of getting a book ready for publication. 
What kept her going through rejections over the years? Had she ever thought of just giving up? 
Hello! I’m so excited to be Sia’s guest author today!  
AuthorWow, I can still hardly believe I’m using that noble label in reference to myself. There were times I thought my story would never move beyond my own computer screen.
The writing bug bit me back during my second grade year, when a children’s author visited my school. I loved to read—still do! So to meet a flesh and blood person behind such entertainments had me craning my neck, ears pricked to hear his every word. Unfortunately, the man’s name has long since escaped me, leaving behind only a vague impression of a Santa Claus-looking gentleman with a short white beard. But he also left behind another impression, greater than any Christmas present. One that has stuck with me all these years. And, because of that, I wish I could shake his hand. Heck, I wish I could throw my arms around his neck and kiss him! He helped me realize, even at such a young age, what I wanted to achieve in life. To write a book. To write lots of books. 
One thing he didn’t tell us author-hopefuls—or, at least, not that I can remember—was how long it takes to break into publishing. It might not take everyone as long, but it’s been a long haul for this ol’ girl - over twenty *ahem* years. I started writing A Beautiful Cage a few years ago, filed it away half-finished, then picked it up again, because the characters kept returning to mind, urging me, goading me, begging me to finish their story. WWII is a subject I’ve always found fascinating, not because I love war—just the opposite—but because of the many true tales of heroism and courage that have come from such a catastrophic event.
Gustav and Rebecca, my hero and heroine, are fictional products of this tragic and yet gutsy period in time. I’m sure they’re as relieved as I am to finally break into publication. Did they cry when receiving the news? I’m not sure, but I do know that my ever-supportive husband and daughter had to keep the Kleenexes coming for me. I sobbed for days, in between cheering and dancing. 
I’ve been asked what has kept me going through the years, especially after receiving several rejections. My first answer is love. Love keeps the desire to write strong and keen. The second (and, perhaps, most important) thing that keeps me going is pure perseverance. I’ve refused to give up in the past, and I refuse to give up in the future. My zeal hasn’t diminished with the arrival of publication. It continues, a living, vital part of me that pulses, pushing me to write even better. And for the times I need an extra push, my critique partner, Elle J. Rossi, is always ready with her encouragement.
  •  A few things I've learned:  writing takes practice, patience, and persistence.  And a lot of all three. 

So, now I’m working on A Beautiful Cage’s sequel, A Beautiful Tempest. Am I running into rough spots? Naturally. Do the rough spots tempt me to throw up my hands in surrender? Sorry to say, at times, yes. Am I loving my characters? You bet!
Most of all, will I ever give up?
No way! 

  • Are you an aspiring author? What keeps you going in the face of rejections?


Back in elementary and high school, Alyson was often in trouble for writing stories when she should’ve been studying for math tests.  Detentions and trips to the principal's office aside, she was determined to become an author someday, no matter the price.  A few years later Alyson began writing historical romance.
Now Alyson gets in trouble for writing stories when she should be cooking dinner for my her family.

You can find Alyson at her Website, Facebook, Blog: Reuben Sandwich

Coming in September 2011


~Sia McKye~ said...

Alyson, Welcome to Over Coffee as a guest! You've been here many a time as a commenter.

I loved your thoughts on persistence and not giving up!

Congratulations, my friend!

Dana Fredsti said...

Hi, Alyson! I so relate to your post as it took me fifteen years after first draft to get my first book published. Kudos to you for your perseverance!

A kitten is trying to help me write this comment... I blame any typos on Buddha! That's the kitten.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Dana, I hear ya on the kitten. I have three babies that get on my keyboard so they can catch the blinking cursor. Yah. I have to proofread everything when these little guys are bouncing around.

Perseverance is a must in this business.

VA said...


My plan for not being discouraged? Don't submit. KISS, Keep it simple stupid. I don't have to deal with rejection if I never submit anything. Of course, I'll never publish either, but which evil is worse? Hmmm...

Elle J Rossi said...

Big waves to Sia and a huge hug to Alyson, a.k.a. Hermit. I gave her this nickname when she disappeared on me more than a few times, so I know what you mean, Sia. I've now laid down the law...2 words...that's all I need from her. 2 words, once a week. "I'm alive." See, simple!

I've had the honor and privilege to have already read A Beautiful Cage and because of this, I can forgive every Hermitty tendancy you have, Alyson. It is superb from the first to the last word. It is inspiring and heart wrenching. I, too, had to have a box of tissues at hand. A Beautiful Cage is a very emotional read for me and you can't ask for much more than that.

Congratulations, my beautiful friend! I'll be screaming your praises on your very first release day and every one that follows!

Alyson Reuben said...

Thank you so much for having me as a guest here at Over Coffee, Sia! You're right -- I love to read your blog, and I've commented several times, but it's so hard to believe I'm actually featured here! Amazing to me. It's truly and honor.

Alyson Reuben said...

Nice to meet you, Dana. And I'm glad to be in good company. The writing process is long and tedious at times, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

Make sure you tell Buddha I said hi :)

Alyson Reuben said...

Thanks for the congrats, VA!

Rejections aren't really that bad. Sure they sting like a flu shot at first. But then it's time to move one. Don't give up! It's true you might get lots of rejections but, one day one of them won't be:)

Alyson Reuben said...

Elle, that's why I love you! You always forgive me my trespasses! Seriously, you've done so much to encourage me.

I hope every reader feels about A Beautiful Cage the way you do! I love this story sooooo much. You can't possibly know how your kind words about it wrap around my heart. Thank you!!!

- Hermit

Berinn Rae said...

Great post, Alyson! I'm there with you... it's a long, hard (and exciting!) road to publishing but oh so worth it in the end. Congrats on A Beautiful Cage!!

Lynne Marshall said...

Three cheers for you, Alyson! So glad you got your happy ending. I wholeheartedly agree about the THREE Ps. My critique partner, after ten years, finally sold and I think I was more excited than she was!
Now, twenty years? How old were you when you started submitting, five? You look like a baby. : )
I am also fascinated with WWII stories and will watch for your book release in September.

Alyson Reuben said...

Thanks, Berinn! You're right -- it's definitely worth it. And congrats on YOUR recently published book, Knightfall!

Alyson Reuben said...

I appreciate those cheers, Lynne!

I look like a baby? Well, my husband might tell you I'm a pampered 35 year old baby. OMG, I can't believe I'm admitting that! Anyway, thank you for the compliment. I've been writing stories since I was in grade school, although not seriously, of course, until several years later.

It's always awesome to hear from people who are interested in WWII! I hope you enjoy reading A Beautiful Cage after its release :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Alyson. Congrats on making the leap into publication. Sounds like you've paid your dues, but it's great that you stayed focused on your goals. Best of luck on keeping the momentum going with the sequel.

Mason Canyon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mason Canyon said...

Sorry Alyson, can't seem to get my fingers and my mind to work together. LOL
Congratulations on getting published. Looking forward to your book in September. So glad you didn't give up. Wishing you much success with your writing.

Sia, thanks for the introduction to another great 'new-to-me' author.

Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Angel Barbin said...

Hi Alyson! I 'met' you on and have always appreciated your kindness to and support of other writers. You deserve all the best and I can't wait to read your book.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alyson, great to meet you! I keep going in the face of rejection because I love to write and I have a story to share with the world. That's my motivation. So I keep writing and writing and writing. And I have three books in the pipeline I'm working on too.

Alyson Reuben said...

Thanks, James! Yes, I'm trying to keep the ball rolling with the sequel. I have to admit some chapters are easer than others. But there's certainly no other option than to write my way through it:)

Alyson Reuben said...

I know what you mean, Mason -- my fingers are flying every which way today, too!

Thank you so much for your kind words! I really hope you like reading A Beautiful Cage. And be sure to let me know what you think about it! I'd love hearing back from you :)

Alyson Reuben said...

Hi, Angel! Thanks for dropping by. I feel the same way about you, because you're always so nice when we talk on the other sites. Didn't you once mail a bookmark to me? It says 'Shhh, I'm reading'. I still use it!

Alyson Reuben said...

Good to meet you, Stephen! Yes, keep going... even when you feel like throwing yourself out a window at the sight of another *#@*! rejection. It will get better! Determination gets you places.

Best wishes!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd say twenty years was a long time, but I think back to the first unfinished book I wrote. I picked it up again, rewrote the whole thing, and after many rejections, it was published. The two drafts were thirty years apart!
Enjoy the ride, Alyson. It's a lot of fun.

Alyson Reuben said...

Thanks, Alex. Wow, thirty years apart? That's incredible! Congrats!

I've filed away several stories since my school days. But I started on A Beautiful Cage approximately five years ago. I stored it away for a while, then took it out and rewrote, edited, and polished. Honestly, I'm not sure I could've wrote the story (as it is now) back when I first started it. There were certain comprehensive writing skills I had to acquire first. I still have a lot of room for learning more! I hope to write better each year of my life. Anyway, it's been one heck of a ride so far ;)

Helen Ginger said...

That refusal to give up is one of the major ingredients in success. Congratulations on your first book!

Alyson Reuben said...

So glad you stopped by, Helen! And thank you! I'm incredibly excited about A Beautiful Cage's publication. A dream come true.

About the refusal to give up, I agree with Sophy Burnham's view on the subject: "...the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence - an overwhelming determination to succeed."

Talli Roland said...

Fantastic story, and congrats to Alyson! Persistence is such a huge part of making it in the industry, I think.

Alyson Reuben said...

Thanks so much, Talli! I think there must be times when all writers feel like throwing in the towel. We just have to stand our ground and keep writing.

Hilary said...

Hi Sia and Alyson .. great build up to actually achieving .. and just shows us that through introduction of the right master at the right time can open so many doors for kids .. so pleased for you.

Good luck with the actual launch etc .. and your three words are so right for most things ... practice, patience and perseverance .. = that's life! Cheers to you both .. Hilary

Alyson Reuben said...

Hi, Hilary :) You're right -- adults in specialized careers have such a major impact on kids, and often don't even realize it. I've had a lot of influences in my life, but the visiting author helped create a true milestone in my life.

Thanks so much for your kind words! Cheers to you, also!