…or becoming Laurel Hawkes.
Those who know my history know why I chose a pen name. Laurel Hawkes was a shield to protect me.
I wrote a Christian Regency romance. It was the romance I wanted to read.
I submitted it.
It was rejected.
I was crushed.
I joined the local RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter, Desert Rose. I enjoyed writing. I enjoyed associating with other writers. I didn’t really believe I’d ever be published. Once a month, I socialized with other people who understood what it was like to live with characters nagging you night and day, taking stories in their own direction or secondary characters demanding stories of their own. Once a month, I talked writing.
Because I’d written a complete story and submitted it to a publisher and been rejected, I qualified for PRO status. Most people didn’t know. This was back in 2007.
My closest friends knew. No one else.
I kept writing, because not writing was not an option.
Being published was something others encouraged me to do. I didn’t really believe it would happen. My stories are a little outside the formula. Not a lot, but enough to be noticeable, and a little less desirable by the mainstream publishers.
In 2009, I entered the rejected story in a contest. It didn’t do particularly well, but the judges gave me some great feedback.
I still didn’t really believe my books would be published. It was a fantasy, nothing more.
In 2011, my work world changed.