The first book I ever wrote was a romance novel based on a dream I had where my husband looked the same, but I knew he was a different man. When I woke up I couldn’t get the dream out of my head and so my novel Return to Me was born about widowed Lana who dies and is transported to a parallel universe to be reunited with her husband, only to find him a different man.
I spent three years working on this novel. After numerous drafts based on critiques from my writing group, I realised I was finished.
The next step was to submit it, however I was suffering a crisis of faith. I wasn’t sure whether my book was any good. I decided that this was my practice book, the one that allowed me to learn the craft of writing.
I re-read it after 10 years and I finally decided to bite the bullet and submit Return to Me. All the years that I had spent on it had devoid me of any objectivity about its merit.
I sent my manuscript to my agent who submitted it to publishers and soon two offers followed. When the rights reverted back to me I re-released this book as an indie author.
It seems miraculous that I had established a career as a romance author. I think about the 11 years that my manuscript languished in my metaphorical bottom drawer until I finally decided to give it a shot. While I think waiting so long was the right thing for me, I also learnt the most important lesson of all: ‘to submit and get rejected is better than not to have submitted at all.'
Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
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