As the old saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." So, too, a successful novel, like my latest installment in the Diversion series: Suspicion. While I have millions of ideas I pour into my books, the first draft is a far cry from what the reader sees. A. Far. Cry.
Even the third or fourth draft is a jumbled mass of thoughts, not necessarily coherent, or understandable to anyone save the author.
Enter my crit partners. The partners who've been with me for a long time and whose words and opinions I've come to heed, are as follows:
Feliz Faber - Not only is she invested in the Diversion series, she helps me insure I write with international readers in mind. Let's face it folks, not all my Southernisms are understandable to someone living outside the Southern US.
T.D. O'Malley - She makes sure my characters are likable and relatable and that my situations and plots are believable.
Z. Allora - She wants the feels and the love story, and only accepts happy endings. If my story turns too dark, she'll let me know in a flat minute.
D.H. Starr- Doug asks, "Why is this here? What purpose does this scene have?" He's also one of the most romantic writers I know. Holding hands on the Brooklyn bridge at sunset? Yeah, that's him. I wind up cutting a lot of unnecessary words after he's seen my manuscript, and amping up the romance factor.
P.D. Singer - She also will question if something doesn't seem plausible. She's the technical genius who formats Rocky Ridge Books' work, and understands what will and what won't hold up to formatting. Truth be told, I owe her my writing career, for it's she who first suggested I write a book in the first place, and has been with me on every single step of this journey. She also has an incredible knack for stringing together words in such lovely ways. If you need proof, read her latest, Concierge Service.
Here I am, twenty novels after she challenged me to write...
Not only are they the folks I count on to make my writing the best it can be, they're also dear friends. We met online, bonding over our love of the genre. Two years ago today, three of them were part of my wedding, two flying here to share my special day.
All of them will call me out on autonomous body parts, telling instead of showing, and overused words. Without them, Suspicion wouldn't be half the book it is.
And I do the same for them....
Those who don't participate in the actual writing process play a role in make a book a success also. The folks who've written, asking me to please continue Bo and Lucky's story, or telling me how much a book meant to them. Yes, writers need encouragement.
I've even received requests, such as, "I wanna see Victor again!" Someone has even suggested writing a story for Loretta Johnson.
Then there's those who read the book, like it, and talk it up to their friends, in conversation, on their blogs, or on social media. Word of mouth is still the most effective advertising.
There's the faithful readers who keep coming back for each installment, wanting to continue the journey of Bo and Lucky's relationship.
So, a heartfelt thankful thanks to all of you who've supported the Diversion series and other of my works.
I couldn't do it without you.