How I Got Published (and Autographed Book Giveaway!)

I’m often asked to tell the story of how I
got to be a published novelist. Like lots of writer-types I’m fuzzy with dates
and some of the details. I’ll try my best to recount it as accurately as I can
I was sixteen when  I won my first Pulitzer. Seventeen when I hit
the NYT best-seller list for the third time… oh wait, that’s not me.
The truth isn’t quite so dramatic. In 1997,
I was a nurse and a mom but I desperately wanted to stay home and raise my
children so I was trying to figure out what I could do to work from home. I had
always known I could write. While other kids were freaking out in highschool
because of the dreaded essay at the bottom of the test, I was thinking “What’s
wrong with these people? That’s the easiest part!”
So, I started writing really stupid
greeting cards and rhyming fruit books with obnoxiously blatant morals and a
few nonfiction articles—one of which actually got published. Fast forward a few
years to 2003–I decided since I had very little success in getting anything
small published that it just made good sense to try to get a novel published.
Six weeks later, I had a book that killed
off the antagonist about 2/3rd of the way through the book. I took what was
sure to be a best-seller to my first writers conference. The Blue Ridge
Mountain Christian Writers conference. There I met some folks that are still
very much apart of my writing journey. I’ll
never forget pitching an agent my book in one of those one on one meetings. He
squinted at me and said something like, “No offense, but I’m with (big name agency).  We
represent the biggest names in the CBA and you’re just starting out….”
If you would have told me then that that
first novel would never be published, I’d have given up in despair. However, by
the time my first four novels had been rejected and I was pitching number five,
I had lost my desperateness to get published. It was replaced with a new mantra
“let it all tumble” and a desire to write the best novel I was capable of, even
if no one ever read it but me and my two critique partners.
When an agent and I decided to work together, I
was pitching novel three I think, and pretty much everyone had turned it down. 
My first novels were suspense and since I’d
grown up reading Stephen King, I naturally figured that’s what I should be
writing. So I was working on another suspense when I began to change what I
read. I went back and caught up on some classics and discovered really
excellent books like Peace Like a River and Memoirs of a Geisha, etc, and I
decided to try something a little different. I presented my agent with two
different novel proposals a couple years back, one a medical mystery, and the
other was Crossing Oceans. My agent didn’t hesitate when he told me Crossing Oceans
was more my true voice.
When I went to ACFW in 2007, it was the
first time I had a publisher set up a meeting with me instead of me trying to
chase them down. It was quite different for me.
Karen Watson with Tyndale House made it clear
she was interested in my novel and before I knew it I was getting a phone call
from my agent while I was at work (I’m a registered nurse by day), telling me “It’s
okay to scream, Gina. They want to publish Crossing Oceans.”

I had to sit down. After years and years
and years of rejection, just like that, everything changed.
How long did it take you? Would you have continued to write if you would have known just how long and how many rejections it would ultimately take?

Leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of Driftwood Tides. 

Holmes weaves a superb story of discovering how to forgive.” Romantic Times

“[Driftwood Tides] moves like a serene sea: gentle,persuasive, and transformative. Much in the same way time and the elements turn driftwood into something beautiful, Libby and Holton learn that they, too, can change for the better. Readers will delight in this story of redemption and growth.” Booklist