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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight: Kiki Howell

The Evolution of a Novel

Most stories for me, no matter what the length, come at me fast. The whole idea is written out, chapters plotted, and then it practically writes itself. My poor typing skills are usually the only hold up I have. This, however, was not true of my latest release, Torn Asunder. This novel evolved over time.

I love to read Regency set stories, but I was afraid to try to write one, afraid I didn’t know enough about the time to pull it off. So, I bought a few books on the time period and set out to write just a short story. Thinking it a magical time, of course I wanted my heroine to be a witch. This was all I knew. So, I brainstormed and came up with a short. Of course this short went by another name, and I submitted it to a publisher I was interested in. The response from the editor was she loved the story, but wanted more. She suggested I write it longer.

I set to work. I brainstormed more chapters. What was a girl-runs-and-guy-rescues type of plot got a few more conflicts/crises added to it. I rewrote the story to about fifty thousand words, more than doubling the initial story.  The same editor said it still wasn’t there yet. There was more she wanted to know.

Frustrated, I had just heard about the Authonomy website. So, I posted the story on there. I was shocked to see it quickly rise to the top of the ranks, and thrilled with the positive comments and suggestions I got. At this point, I cannot tell you how many times I went back through this story. At some point, a plot point caught my eye, and what was the ending became a new conflict, and another twenty thousand words were added as a new ending. Maybe you will notice reading it that it has three distinct sections to it. Or, maybe that is just me.

Never having tried the agent thing, I sent the story out to a few agents. Within a few days I had an agent who after reading the first three chapters wanted more. Eventually she turned the story down. I was told by a couple of other agents, in different words, but with the same idea, that it had too many genres which would make it difficult to sell.

So, at that point I decided to give it once last go through, to polish it up, and submitted it to my favorite publisher I have worked with so far, Excessica Publishing. Obviously, she accepted it. So, let me take this moment to thank Selena Kitt for all the opportunities she has given me! She is simply amazing to work with.

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