I tend to, much like an actor, take on the interests and oddities of the characters I write about while I’m in the midst of crafting them.
When I started writing Geist, magickal herbalism entered and I dug deep into the study of witchy herbs. Learning about the fantastical properties of hellebore, heather, lilies, foxglove, and more proved fascinating and I became pretty much obsessed with the need to grow a poison garden as well as an edible garden this year.
Since we live in one-thousand square feet in Vancouver, that garden required some major containers. My upstairs neighbour graciously offered two of her unused wooden raised beds and I got to work.
The balance between pitching completed projects and working on new projects is always tricky for me. I’ve started blocking out days of the week to separate the two very different mental states needed for each. However, days like today require a quick, motivated shift in gears.
As I’ve mentioned before, Twitter is an amazing place for cultivating writing community relationships, keeping track of other authors, agents, trends. It is also the go-to these days for getting seen by prospective agents.
Pitching a manuscript is a long-term process. So, taking every opportunity to get my work out there requires paying attention and dedicating the time necessary.
As a child, nothing ever manifested in quite such a glorious way as our backyard garden. If there was one thing my mother could do, it was to grow beautiful things (she had many talents). Our eclectic, high-altitude heaven included everything from blooming cacti and yucca plants to lilacs, Iris, and my personal favourite, the Bridal Wreath Spirea.
When I came across it this morning as bees and butterflies danced their way through the masses of blooms in our neighbour’s yard, I found myself slipping through time back to the concrete steps in Colorado Springs where I would belt out You Light Up My Life while the couple next door regretted their lives. Upon completion of the serenade, I picked unending mitts full of delicate, ivory sweetness to stuff into my mother’s best vase.
A few dog walkers and runners asked if I was OK? I couldn’t move, mesmerized by the blankets of blooms.
Explaining the method of transport I took back to my 8-year-old self proved awkward. How can one’s mind be heaved through time with such drama in a mere second, with a mere whiff, at the whim of a mere 1cm-by-1cm of flower?
The power within that moment awed me, as if the tiny buds spoke a bit of Zagavory word magic (Kat used the ancient Slavic charm in Geist) to enchant me, offer me a reprieve from the grumpiness lingering after picking up my taxes from the accountant, and deliver a message from my mother whom I lost four years ago.
After my visit to 1979, I stood in my own garden, amongst the valerian, poppies, and lavender as usual, so grateful for the quick trip. Sweet spirea portal, how I will always love thee. 🙂
The submission process for publishing a novel the traditional way is an act of patience, perseverance, and a bit of luck.
I finished my most recent historical fantasy novel —Geist—(formerly The Maiden of Gevaudan for those who’ve been following for a while. The title sucked, this one is much better. 🙂 )early this year and am currently in the process of manifesting a literary agent who as in love with this allegory on life after death as I am.
I research the agents I submit to, and am pretty particular as to whom I will send my work off. It’s all about fit. I have a fair amount of friends who are agented writers, and they are all about finding the best person (other than yourself) to champion your work and your voice. I’m in this for the long haul and value relationship above all else. So, finding that right-fit representative means no mass emails to every agent who takes historical fantasy.
Plus, I am a shameless lover of the publishing industry and really want to honour the risk agents take on all of us writer types.