I had the privilege of meeting aspiring author, Beverly Diehl. Talk about tenacity. Over 60 rejections! Wow! This woman is my hero for the day (maybe the week). Congratulations on finding an agent!
Liz: I am so glad that you decided to join me on this adventure. Why don’t you start by telling us about you and you’re your book?
Beverly: I’m a mutt; born in Milwaukee ( go Brewers, go Green Bay!) Spent part of my youth in Pennsylvania near if not quite in Amish country, then relocated to Los Angeles, which I love.
Liz: Hold on! I am a Minnesota girl, and I have to do a good natured cheese head jab. Consider it done. Please continue.
Beverly: When I was a little girl, I wanted to be Nancy Drew. When I became a teenager, I realized I wanted to write Nancy Drew. In high school, I took journalism, and because there were so many topics we were told were off-limits (race relations, abortion, religion, etc.), I delighted in finding hot-button topics to write about that were (not yet) banned, like drug use and premarital sex.
Yes, I’m a troublemaker at heart.
Liz: Reading and writing seem to have a lot in common. You love Nancy Drew, so is that what we can expect to see you publishing in the near future?
Beverly: Despite my early crush on Nancy Drew, I’ve fallen out of love with mystery, either reading or trying to write it. I love reading historical fiction, historical biography, chick lit, and of course, erotica. I’ve tried writing all kinds of stories, I even dabble in poetry from time to time, but seem to have a “voice” that is conversational and best suited to contemporary women’s fiction.
Liz: Nancy Drew to Erotica . . . that is quite the jump! What are you working on now?
Beverly: My current knitting erotica WIP is my most ambitious; I’m doing multiple POV, so am using an outline to make sure I balance the voices, and am also moving through times and locations. I always try to have a rough idea of what should be happening in each chapter – what the purpose of the chapter is (reveal back story, character details or motivation), and what the conflict in the chapter is.
Liz: Everyone loves to hate queries but they are a necessary evil in our profession. I know that you have found and agent, but what did it take to get there?
Beverly: First round of querying brought 60+ rejections, many tears. Despair, ready to give up. Waited a few more years, did a major rewrite, then queried 20 more. Got a few nibbles, and finally had an agent.
Liz: *looks away nervously* Do you have any suggestions for those of us who struggle with queries?
Beverly: When you think your query is perfect, when it’s been through however many critique groups and online polishes, put it away for at least two weeks, then take one last look, before sending.
Liz: That seems pretty solid to me. Is there anything else we should know?
Beverly: I think some people believe a query sells your book. It doesn’t. A query is like a great resume. It gets your foot in the door, it gets them to ask for more material, but a fabulous, professionally written query will not sell a crappy book. It’s important, if very difficult, to make sure your query and synopsis have the same tone and voice as your book.
Liz: So did you go back and burn all of your old rejections?
Beverly: I am collecting all my rejections, and plan to build a collage sometime, but only of the good parts. The “I really liked XX” and then snip ‘em off there, before they get to the “buts.” Rejections always sting, and sometimes I am depressed for several days after getting one, but it’s part of the game.
Liz: One thing I always want to know and it seems universal- have you ever lost word count because you didn’t back it up?
Beverly: OMG, on backups. A day or two receiving a request for the full manuscript by my current agent, and while I was doing the final polish and the happy dance, I experienced a serious file error in the manuscript. Basically, the last third of it was eaten by the boogeyman, and could not be recovered. Luckily, I had back-ups of previous versions, and hardcopy, so was able to recreate it. Mostly. Grrr. Now I backup frequently, and usually store a copy online, just in case.
Liz: What has kept you going when you were feeling down?
Beverly: I’m too stubborn to quit until I master this writing thing. I love it, I hate it, I find myself mentally bookmarking ideas even when I tell myself I am so done with it.
I’m lucky to be blessed with a wonderful circle of fellow writers who offer great feedback and support. Kim, Karen, Marian, Bruce, Vance, Tony, Kate, Joan, Sid, Steve – you guys rock.
Liz: Where do you plan on being in a year?
Beverly: In one year, I see myself writing a new book.
Liz: How about 5?
Beverly: I see myself… published, and writing a new book. J
To find out more about Beverly, here is all the information!
FaceBook – Beverly Diehl, Writer
Thanks again Beverly for telling us about your journey. Someday when you are famous you will have to come back and tell us all about it!