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30 December 2011

Welcome Special Guest: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy ( @leeannwriter )

     In life most of us wear multiple hats and bear many titles.  I became a daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister and cousin just by being born.  When I married, I added wife to my list, one already expanded at various times in my life with student, graduate, employee, columnist, teacher, freelancer, mother, aunt, and writer.   In late 2010 I added author to the list with the publication of my first book and I end 2011 with a total of ten plus some assorted novellas and a number of short stories divided between print, websites, and in anthologies.  The one title consistent throughout my life, however, and perhaps the one defining me most is writer.
     I made up stories long before I could either read or write.  At the age of three my mother made a brief effort to write down one of my stories but the attempt fell apart.   In my fifth grade year, writing little stories when I should be doing school work became my norm but during that year, I also wrote my first novel in blue Bic ink pen on lined notebook paper.  During high school I wrote other novels, probably all terrible but the few friends I allowed to read my efforts praised them.  During my college years, spent on two different campuses, my professors, classmates and friends praised my work.  I wrote for the campus newspaper, the literary magazine, and worked as a tutor for the English department.  Upon graduation I eventually nailed a job working a radio station as an advertising copywriter.  In my spare time, I began writing both non-fiction articles as well as short fiction.  I managed to sell a few and in time, I earned a small reputation as a writer in some circles.
     Novels were always the end goal, though, the thing I longed to write and so one day I realized if I didn’t do it, I might never accomplish the dream.  At the time I decided to get serious, I had twin two-year old daughters underfoot and my frazzled days lacked much ‘me time’ but I got started.  I wrote the first novels on an old word processor incompatible with Word and when I got serious about submission, I realized my work needed more polish so I rewrote them on a computer.
     When I did begin to submit I didn’t take the literary world or reading public by storm.  I got rejected, many times and for multiple works but I didn’t give up.  By then I had an infant son to add to the family dynamic but when my twins started school and my son joined them, I took full advantage of more time.   I spent a couple of years in the classroom as a substitute teacher but when the sub calls began to dwindle, I focused on novels.  Some I rewrote multiple times and I took a chance on the new phenomenon of eBooks when I submitted to that market.  Again, I earned a few rejections but one day I opened my email to find both acceptance and a contract.
     That happened in July of 2010 and the first acceptance had a target date of one year.  It seemed like a very long time so I kept writing.  By then I had several novels written, somewhat edited, and so I shopped off another.  It was accepted.  So I kept right on writing, sending, and signing contracts.  I branched out to more than one publisher and wrote.  I began 2011 with one published book and the number grew to include my Love Covenant series and all the other novels.  And I’ll start 2012 with five contracts for novels from Rebel Ink Press upcoming and a novella from Champagne Books.
     And I learned just what the life of an author entails.  For most of us, it’s not appearances on daytime talk shows or dinner at Tavern on the Green or jetting off to LA to discuss movie rights.  There aren’t any paparazzi outside my front door and I’m not rich.   I work longer, harder hours than I ever have in my life and I learned fast that promotion is vital if you want to succeed.
     But people read my books and enough like them they keeping buy another.  Some of my books earn awesome reviews and I’m humbled by that fact.   People in the small town where I live recognize me in the supermarket and in other spots.   One of the most recent telling events to indicate word of my novels is spreading is when a relative, who lives far away from me in a larger metro area, printed off something of mine from online and passed it around the office.
     A co-worker glanced at it and shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oh, her? Yeah, I read her.”
     My cousin said, “Well, she’s my cousin.”
     His co-worker, knowing how well he loves to tease and joke said, “Yeah, right, sure.”
     “No, really, she’s my cousin,” he told her and showed her his father’s name within the essay, a distinctive and uncommon last name.
     Her eyes grew wide and round as she realized an author she’d read and whose books she enjoyed connected to her co-worker, kind of a Kevin Bacon Six Degrees moment.
     So I’m a writer and an author.  Writing defines me.  It’s like breathing – I need it to exist but after many years, the rest of the world notices it too.

A Page In The Life
Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
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1 comment:

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy said...

Thanks again for having me as a guest!