The 27th Annual Fabulous Five contest for unpublished authors and authors not published in book length fiction in the last five years is open for entries. WisRWA is pleased to be able to offer entrants of the 2018 Fabulous Five contest a chance to win one of eight detailed critiques from a published WisRWA author. We wanted to introduce everyone to each of these authors, and share a little bit about their writing journey. Without further ado, please meet our first author: Amy Sandas.
Amy writes historical romance about dashing, and sometimes dangerous, men who know just how to get what they want and women who at times may be reckless, bold, and unconventional, but who always have the courage to embrace all that life and love have to offer.
She lives in Northern Wisconsin where she spends her early mornings writing then heads to her “other” job, dreaming of the day she can write full-time. The rest of her time is spent trying to keep up with the kids and squeeze in some stolen moments with her husband.
WISRWA: How long have you been writing? Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication?
AMY: I started writing romance in little scene snippets and false starts when I was still in high school. It wasn’t until college that I finally committed to starting and finishing a complete manuscript. It took me seven years. And the story was horrible. At that time, I was not yet a member of RWA so I researched online how to write a query letter and synopsis and how to submit to agents. I received a lot of lovely rejections and tucked that poor wreck of a story into a dark corner—never to be seen again.
My next finished manuscript was better—still not great, but good enough to hook an agent. Unfortunately, she left the business while she was still shopping that title around and I was left hanging for a while. I’m positive that manuscript wouldn’t have been published as it was, but I hope someday to revise it and give it another go. The story that followed interested my current agent and was my debut novel with Samhain in 2012.
WISRWA: What is something that you learned along the way that proved to be a light bulb moment and still is relevant to your writing today?
AMY: A light bulb moment for me came when I got The Call from my agent telling me we had an offer on what became Rogue Countess. I had envisioned that moment so many times in the years leading up to it that when it finally came, it was sort of a let-down. I didn’t scream or jump up and down or pop open a bottle of champagne. My only thought was “Okay. What’s next?” Because in that moment (and in all the significant moments that have come since in my writing career), my focus was on the fact that there was more to come. More to DO.
Each milestone I reach pushes my gaze forward to the next one. One novel does not make a career. And a career as a full-time author is what I have wanted from the start. For me, that pragmatic approach keeps me motivated when that ultimate goal feels so far away.
WISRWA: What is one piece of writing or industry advice you can offer to unpublished authors?
AMY: Since the industry is often still a great mystery to me, I’ll offer some writing advice that continues to help me out. Whenever a story feels off and I can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem
is, I go back to my characters. I’m usually struggling because I am trying to force my hero and/or heroine into behaving in a way they wouldn’t.
So, I stop everything and complete a handful of character development worksheets that I’ve found to be helpful. I dive deep into who these people are and then I look at my story on a big scale to seen where they might have gotten off track. After that, I go through each scene to see if they are acting and reacting in a way that is true to who they are. Once those necessary adjustments are made, things tend to get rolling again.
It’s all about the characters!
WISRWA: Any new books coming out in the near future?
AMY: In June 2018, the first in my Western Historical series will be coming out. The Gunslinger’s Vow kicks off my Runaway Brides series about three high society ladies from Boston who decide to take a chance on freedom, adventure, and love in the American West of the 1880’s. The second in the series, The Cowboy’s Honor, is expected to release in fall of 2018, while The Outlaw’s
Heart should be out in the first half of 2019.
For a chance to win a detailed critique by Amy, don’t forget to enter the Fabulous Five contest. She will be offering a detailed a detailed critique for one lucky entrant in the Paranormal category. For more information about the contest and to enter, click here.