Lisa's Thoughts on Seeking the TruthWhile Seeking the Truth is the first book I released, in terms of my writing of my novels it was the sixth novel I wrote. While writing the first five novels I had hopes of getting published with Harlequin. I wanted my books to be on book store shelves. It seemed that Harlequin owned 99% of the space of book store shelves in the Romance area. Therefore for years I would manually print out a book on bond paper, submit the thick envelope to Harlequin, wait six months for a reply, get the gentle rejection, work on another one, send it in to Harlequin, and so on. It was a long, slow process. It seemed that the main reason they were rejecting me was the lack of explicit bodice-ripping activity in my books. What they would say was "read our published novels to get a sense of what we are looking for in a book". When I then went and bought and read those novels, they were all chock-full of sex.
Finally, when it came time to write Seeking the Truth, I decided to take a make-it-or-break-it attitude. I would deliberately write a book in as sexual a way as I felt comfortable with. I would push my limits. If, despite going above and beyond, I still could not meet Harlequin's standards, then it would be time to accept that we were not meant to be. I had to give it this one all-or-nothing shot.
At the same time as I was doing this, I was interviewing Karen Allen for my Mused Literary Magazine. Karen Allen is famous for her role in Raiders of the Lost Ark. One of my absolute favorite screen scenes of a strong, independent woman has got to be her drinking contest, the way we are introduced to her character in that movie. I soon decided that I wanted the introduction of Seeking the Truth to be a homage to that scene, to demonstrate that women were not shrinking violets, but could be strong and feisty and take on challenges.
The rest of the story flowed very naturally from there, the characters almost writing themselves. It always seemed clear to me what would happen next, given their motivations in life. The real challenge was reining in the story, keeping it to "only" 114,000 words.
I submitted Seeking the Truth to Harlequin, and as you can probably guess, they still found it to be not sexual enough. I had friends offer to "ghost write" in sex scenes for me, but I just did not want to do that. I like my books the way they are, and this was now a clear indication that working with Harlequin was not meant to be. My novels were simply not a good match for Harlequin's purposes. And that is fine. It means that I accept I won't be on book store shelves, and I focus my energies on self publishing and the web.
So in many ways this novel was a turning point for me. It is the most sexually charged of my novels, since it was written deliberately for that purpose. It was the point at which I accepted my path of self publishing, meaning the novels I wrote after this point were done without any concerns at all about what a publisher might expect. Also, it features one of my most take-no-prisoners heroines, which is always fun to write and read.
I'd love to hear what your thoughts are on this novel!
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