Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mary's Rants - Guest Blogger: Marie Higgins

Good Morning everyone, I invited, Marie Higgins, to be our guest today. She's going to give us a bit of wisdom on writing and changing genre's. 
Write What You Know

For years the phrase write what you know has been drilled into my head, and for many years I couldn’t figure out what it meant. Write what I know? Really? And this is supposed to make my romances come alive? Hmm… I just couldn’t see that happening. After all, my life is boring! Well, except for the time when my 16 yr old daughter got pregnant, married a wife-beater, then he took her and my grandson away to another state without letting us talk to her or even know where they were staying. Other than that, my life has been boring. For many years I worked, came home, fixed dinner, took care of the kids, and took them to school activities. I tried to do my best at the terrible day job, tried to be a good mother and wife, and attended church regularly and fulfilled my church duties. What could I possibly write about that would keep people interested?

So for years I wrote what I didn’t know… I wrote sensual romance. I created worlds with yummy heroes bent on seducing the heroine. I wrote lusty heroines who although put up a good front, they really wanted the hero to seduce them. And, all this time, I used a pen name because I didn’t want my extended family and church family to know what kind of stories I wrote. Heaven forbid someone in my church would read one of my stories! I didn’t want to be responsible for giving someone a heart attack. For years I tried to catch an agent’s interest. I wanted to show her how my writing was different from the other thousands of sensual romance writers out there. I was rejected time and time again.

Then the first of this year (2010) I decided to try Christian romance. It was a light bulb moment for me because then I realized THIS IS WHAT I KNOW!!! I was born a Christian and I’ve been going to church every day and believing in God, praying, etc. I also realized I wouldn’t be competing with thousands of other writers because the number of Christian writers are not as high as the number of sensual writers.

After making it a goal to get a Christian romance published, I took one of my previously published sensual romances and…converted my characters. Yup, I took out the sexual tension (and sex scenes) and I added in faith promoting ideas. The first publisher I submitted to rejected my story but told me they liked my writing but my characters were just a little bit too sensual. (Really? Where did that come from? lol) So I went through my story again and cleaned it up. This particular publisher wanted snail mail submissions, and it just so happened that I didn’t have any paper to print and I was out of ink, so I couldn’t send my story back to them until payday. During that wait, I found another Christian publisher who took email submissions. The editor read the first chapter of my story and was hooked – and they contracted me within three weeks!!

Making the journey from one genre to another (sensual to inspirational) wasn’t a hard one for me to make, only because I was finally writing what I knew. Do I miss writing the other way? Nope! Not one bit. My stories still have action, adventure, mystery, and humor…and especially a love story with three or four twists throughout. My publisher, Walnut Springs Press, has told me they’re very happy with the sales of my two books – Winning Mr. Wrong (romantic comedy), and Heart Of A Hero (historical), and we already have the next three stories for next year scheduled. The next one to grace the bookstores will be a paranormal mystery. I thought it would be fun to write my heroine as a ghost from 1912. We’re still deciding on title, but what for it’s release in February 2011.

Thanks, Marie, I've heard the same thing, I guess now I need to find out what "I know" so I can write about it.


Mary Martinez said...

Good Morning Marie,
thanks for dropping by to the M&M blog today.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Marie Higgins said...

Mary, thanks for having me on your blog and letting me tell my story! Love ya!


stanalei said...

Congratulation Marie! Your success in this new sub-genre is a tribute to your faith and perseverance. Keep up the great work.

Marie Higgins said...

Thanks, Kim! I feel like this is the right decision for me!


darceeyates said...

Marie, I've seen your comments on the Utah RWA loop for more than a year. It's nice to know the 'rest of the story'. Also nice to put a picture with your name. You are not who I thought you were! lol. Good Luck, sounds like figuring out what you know has worked for you.

Brenda J Weaver said...

Awesome Marie!
You are a great writer! I know your inspirational romances will do great!
Keep up the good work and good luck on your new stream of success :)

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Marie,
Wow, now that is a really great story, talk about chalk and cheese, but when you really think about it, maybe the differences aren't so great, after all, just the way in which we write it. Let's face it, there are plenty of sexual things mentioned in the bible.

Best of luck with all your projects. You are a great writer, so I am truly glad to hear you have finally found your niche.



Melissa Blue said...

Write what you know and write what you love! Marie, you have told me that more times than I can count. Wonderful advice. Wonderful blog too. And as one of your very best friends I can assure you that you are NOT boring!


Marie Higgins said...

Thanks, Darcee, Brenda, Margaret, and Melissa. You ladies are wonderful to say that about my writing! And I have found my niche!

And Melissa, you're too funny. My life is far from boring, but the drama that happens on a daily basis with my family doesn't count. hahaha


Anonymous said...

Wow, Marie, I had no idea you switched genres. Can't say I haven't given it some thought, too.
Glad your new work is so well received. Sonja :) (who is having trouble with my password, so today I'm anonymous)

Marie Higgins said...

Thanks, Sonja! It has been a while since we talked, hasn't it? I'm glad you posted your name, though. I am quite pleased with my new style of writing!


Ciara Gold said...

I loved your sensual romances, Marie, but it was because they were great stories. I imagine this change will make those stories so much more.