Writing (and bracing for) the Book of Your Heart By Leanna Renee Hieber, author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
A great many published authors will tell aspiring authors: “write the book of your heart”. Meaning, put all your heart and soul into a book that you really love rather than writing a book because you think it will sell, or writing it to fit a market trend or fad.
I am one of those people who will say that very phrase. Because that’s what I did. I started The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker 9 years ago and it was my immediate love-affair. It was, and is, everything I loved thrown into one book- one series of books. But I didn’t know what to do about it. I struggled between being an actress or an author, in an artistic identity crisis until one day I was at a Broadway callback thinking about my book and if that wasn’t a sign I don’t know what is. I stopped auditioning and stepped up my game in publishing. Percy Parker was the most compelling artistic creature in my life and I needed to share her with the world. I pushed hard, I got a lot of rejections, I changed and refined the book, I kept going back again and again to Percy until she found a home. She’s in good hands at Dorchester, a house that has been very supportive of this cross-genre work.
But while I may say “write the book of your heart” and mean it, I’ll also say this, and mean it: “Brace yourself.”
The hardest part about breaking into the business with the Book of Your Heart is that you’re learning the business as you go; and attached is your heart. This is a trial-by-fire industry, no amount of schooling can really prepare you for all that you’ll have to juggle: life, perhaps day jobs, relationships, time to write, time to promote, time to network, it’s exhausting. And then when the book starts going into peoples’ hands, people start to say things about it. About your baby. And if someone thinks your baby is ugly, it hurts. I’m not going to lie. Brace yourself. You can’t make everyone happy and not everyone’s gonna think your baby is pretty.
I make some bold choices in this book. I blend many sub-genres together. I have an unconventional historical heroine whose is far more meek than your average heroine. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t grow in ability and in confidence, and in some fantastical ways, but she is who she is, in a blended world of many themes. That’s going to work for some people (thankfully in my reviews that would be most people) and it’s not going to work for others (a few disgruntled voices). Many of my author friends won’t look at reviews for the discomfort they might provide. Perhaps I’ll get to that Zen place one day. But that day is not today. Perhaps its morbid curiosity, perhaps it’s an addiction to the high I get when there’s a great review.
But if I can stare down the cutting reviews, well, then, I’m prepared for a lifetime of being an author. Those will never stop. The driving needs of this business, to keep up with promotion and deadlines, will never stop. Hopefully I will never stop caring about my baby, hopefully in some way they’ll all be “Books of My Heart.” And hopefully, like Percy, I’ll continue to grow stronger, wiser, and just that bit more thick- skinned. It’s a good quality to have in a tough as nails business. Still there’s no business like book business.
Blessings to you all!
Thank you so much for stopping by mis(h)takes Leanna! I'm definitely lucky to have you =) To see what I thought of her debut novel, check out my review here.
Join Leanna as she celebrates the release month of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker with a Haunted London Blog Tour! Each day, a different ghost story, each day, a new chance to win a signed copy of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker!