Today is a Women’s Fiction Writers first! Debut author Marci Nault (and her editor, publisher, team, etc) are allowing US to see the gorgeous cover for THE LAKE HOUSE for the first time ever. Anywhere. Before anyone else.
In addition to that (as if that’s not enough), Marci has shared with us her exciting journey to publication — and like all journeys it had its detours and bumps and few forks in the road — but what matters is that Marci Nault is on her way to that final destination of publication day!
It’s an honor to know Marci (she’s a sweetheart). Please welcome her to Women’s Fiction Writers. And just click on that cover image to see it the way it was meant to be seen. BIG!!!
Cover Reveal! THE LAKE HOUSE By Debut Women’s Fiction Author Marci Nault — And Her Exciting Journey To Publication
The first time I saw the cover I was in a restaurant in New York City having lunch with my editor during Book Expo America. She handed me two possibilities for the front cover. They say that when you meet the love of your life, at first glance you know that it’s right. That’s how I felt about my cover.
My journey to publish was a long one. People tell me everyday that they want to write a book. Many have explained their idea for a novel and that they plan to write it within six months certain it will become a bestseller within the year. I smile and nod, knowing people don’t want the truth. I certainly didn’t when I began to write.
It took me seven years to go from concept to publishing contract, and there are so many moments I wouldn’t exchange, but it was a tough road.
The Lake House began with a dream. In the dream I had bought a lake house, but when I moved in I realized that everyone was over the age of seventy and they wanted me out because I was young. When I woke I knew I had to write the story, but I didn’t know how.
I began dictating my ideas into a tape recorder and then transcribing notes, but nothing felt right. I spent hours in front of the television afraid to begin. I can’t really explain the fear that comes before I write, but I liken it to knowing I’m going to open a door with no idea what’s on the other side, but I know it will consume me.
My character Victoria decided to enter my life at four in the morning. I had woken because of a noise outside. As I tried to go back to sleep my mind whirred with the chatter that turns into insomnia. Suddenly, my brain switched paths and I saw Victoria standing in a room with three candles – one for each woman in her life who had died. For weeks, Victoria only showed herself in the early mornings. I would wake before sunrise, filled with ideas and I would begin to work, sometimes falling back to sleep at my desk around eleven in the morning.
Eight months later the first draft was complete, and I thought I was ready to send it to agents. A friend read it and said, “I don’t think it’s ready.” My hopes dashed, I paid for a critique and waited months for a response. When I received the critique notes I didn’t know what to do with them. I couldn’t find my way through the story. I watched more television, ate ice cream, and moped about my inability to write. Then one night after a full day of television, I forced myself to sit in front of my computer. At that moment, I became a novelist.
I began to think about how I structured each sentence, adding layers of description, emotion, and action. I read books on writing and tossed out most of the first draft as I grew as a writer.
A year later I was signed with my agent Yfat Reiss Gendell of Foundry Literary and Media. I thought I’d have a publishing contract within months, but then reality struck again. There were changes I needed to make to the novel. Enthusiastically I dove into the revisions. By the time I finished the rewrite the economy had collapsed, the publishing world had been turned upside down, and the editors weren’t interested.
I waited another year, each morning wondering if I should start a new novel, or if I should simply give up my dream of becoming a published author. Then came the word from my agent that they were ready to submit again. I asked if we could do another revision just to be certain the book was perfect. I knew that I had grown as a person and a writer over that year and I wanted to make the book better. My agent gave it to fresh readers who came back with critiques. I rewrote.
Three months later, my book sold at auction to Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
Writing is an art that takes revisions and patience. The first draft is just a sketch, the second colors in the lines, the third bring out the details that you forgot to see because you were busy writing the big picture, and the fourth is the flow to make the story seamless and easy for the reader to follow. With each revision I learned and I became a better writer. I liken the editorial process to a coach and an athlete. No one ever told me what to write, but through other’s perspectives I could see clearer.
So when I finally saw the cover and it was the exact picture of the place I had seen for so many years as I wrote the book, I knew that I’d finally gotten the story right.
These days, with the invention of on-demand printing and e-books, people are rushing ahead, solely focused on becoming published authors forgetting that a book really is about the story and good books come from patience and persistence.
Marci Nault is the founder of 101 Dreams Come True, a website that encourages visitors to follow their improbable dreams. She is an adult competitive figure skater and a salsa dancer. She lives in California, but still claims Boston as her home. The Lake House is a heartwarming story of two women who discover love, healing, and friendship in a charming New England lakeside community. Published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, The Lake House is Marci’s debut novel due out May 7, 2013.