New Author Mira Lyn Kelly on Her Sale to Modern Heat
Need a bit more inspiration to enter the ? Then read this post by soon-to-be debut author Mira Lyn Kelly, who sold to Mills & Boon after entering one of our past writing contests! Mira had been writing for eight years (focusing on romance for four) and entered the in 2008. Her first book is scheduled for release in the UK by Mills & Boon Modern Heat in May 2010.
First, here's Mira's bio:
Mira Lyn Kelly grew up in the Chicago area and earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University. She met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy, only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her for the previous two years. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in rural Minnesota where their four beautiful children provide an excess of action, adventure, and entertainment.
With writing as her passion and inspiration striking at the most unpredictable times, Mira can always be found with a notebook at the ready. (More than once she’s been caught by the neighbors, covered in grass clippings, scribbling away atop the compost container!)
When she isn’t reading, writing, or running to keep up with the kids, she loves watching movies, blabbing with the girls, and cooking with her husband and friends. Check out her website www.miralynkelly.com for the latest dish!
by Mira Lynn Kelly
In early 2008 I sat at my computer, stomach twisted in knots, fingers poised over the keys ready to click SEND.
It’s a contest, I thought. An incredibly cool competition judged by the very people you want to write for. And if you place, they’ll give you some of that long sought after “direction” you’re so desperate for. What an opportunity!
Don’t be a chicken. Just send the entry…Do it.
After another half hour or so of mental berating, I finally hit send…and then went to breathe in a paper-bag for a while.
The result? I didn’t place in the Instant Seduction contest. But I did get a letter requesting my full manuscript.
Hooray!! An actual editor was going to read my story… the one I hadn’t finished writing… Yeah, that one. Agai
n, I went for the paper-bag, got my air intake under control and then sat back down at the computer and went to work in a big way.
As it turns out the manuscript I turned in didn’t work, but they liked my voice and asked if I had anything else to submit. By this time, I’d completed another manuscript, but again there were elements that just weren’t quite right…Yet.
Senior Editor, Bryony Green, worked with me to explain where the story was off mark and what it would take to bring it in line. I needed to up my alpha and expand my hero’s conflict. Search and destroy plot devices and focus on a more organic plot development. Let my characters drive the story. All in all, we were talking about substantial changes, but at last I had that blessed direction to help guide me through. She asked if I was interested in making the changes.
To all this, I answered enthusiastically, “Yes, yes, yes!”
Of course! The revision points we’d discussed made perfect sense. When the call ended, I sat back in my chair, thinking to myself, I can totally do this. No paper-bag necessary.
So I sat down with my manuscript and began to take it apart. At first the changes were a breeze. Language and mechanical stuff—no problem. Isolating areas where I could develop the hero’s conflict—Sure. Cutting those painstakingly crafted scenes that didn’t work—it had to be done. But as I delved into the layers of the story, I found myself struggling with certain changes and finally understanding what it meant to really dig deep. To know my characters down to the very essence of their being.
I needed to let go of how the story originally played out and let my hero and heroine go back and take alternate paths, make different choices, and drive the story to where it needed to go. It was tough and challenging and the paper-bag came out more than once during the process, but when it was done…I was stunned.
The story was so much more than what I’d originally envisioned. More intense. More believable. More, more, more. I loved it—now, if only Presents/Modern Heat would too!! So proofed and polished, back the revision went. My paper-bag and I spent more quality time together and the waiting resumed.
Until 8:34am, Friday, August 28th when the phone rang and it was wonderful, incredible Bryony on the line offering me a two book deal! Yay!!!!
In a life filled with some pretty spectacular moments, this definitely ranked among the best of them.
Congratulations to Mira!
Dreaming about your own sale story? For more about the Harlequin Presents Writing Competition 2009, click the image below: