My Writing Journey

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By Amy McGuire

I’m the youngest of three children of parents who were missionaries in East Africa until I was ten.  My dad was a pilot and pastor to remote villages and my mom was a nurse. I came to know Christ personally when I was seven and I was baptized when I was twelve.  From as early as I can remember, I have loved to read and write stories; happy stories, stories about princes and princesses, stories about love, joy and living life to the fullest.

I love to write.  When I write, my imagination takes over and I feel like almost anything is possible.  I write and read romance because I enjoy reading and writing about people falling love.  I’m a hopeless romantic.  I love engagement parties, weddings and baby showers because they’re all about love.  Love is the most powerful thing in the universe because the One who created love is the most powerful thing in the universe.  God is love. My favourite kind of love is unconditional and one of my favourite verses about that is 1 John 4:10 which says, “This is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  We didn’t have to earn His love.  He loves us regardless of what we say or do.

I’m drawn to love stories and love songs like one magnet is drawn to another.  I can’t resist it.  I don’t know why God wired me to have such an attraction to everything to do with genuine love but He has.  When I was quite young, I began writing stories about how my parents met, fell in love and got married.  As I got older, the stories were about me and the boy who would one day fall in love with me.  As I matured, my stories became more about fictitious people and less about anyone I knew, but the theme was always the same.  Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy asks girl to marry him and they live happily ever after.  My upbringing-a mix of parental values and Disney-is probably what created that particular formula in my mind, but even now, that’s my idea of the perfect romance.

When I started to write The Heart’s Discovery in 2009, it was kind of an escape.  My daughter was just over a year old at the time, and I had been one hundred percent immersed in motherhood up to that point.  I had weaned her, so she didn’t need me for at least one of her basic needs anymore and she was starting to put all her little naps into two long ones-one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  It was summer by this time and as my husband is a youth pastor with flexible hours he was able to stay with her at least once or twice a week while she napped.  I spent many of those naps outside our apartment on the grounds, soaking up the sun as I wrote.

I took advantage of these times to be by myself, write for the pure enjoyment of it and get lost in a world without diaper changes, breastfeeding, baby babble and everything else that comes with being a mom.  Now don’t get me wrong; I love being a mom and I wouldn’t trade my daughter for anything in the world.  But being a full-time stay at home mom can be both physically and emotionally draining at times.  So I dove back into my passion and wrote every chance I got.  I wrote on the bus or train while my baby slept in a stroller beside me.  I wrote while she napped at home and I often wrote late into the night after she had fallen asleep.

For me, writing became an outlet for my thoughts, hopes, dreams and imagination.  It was my husband who encouraged me to get my first book published.  Though the idea of someone else reading my work and thinking it was terrible terrified me, I began to seek out agents.  Rejection letter after rejection letter came my way and still my husband wouldn’t let me give up.  So, at long last I thought I had made it when a traditional publisher contacted me with a request for my first novel.  It was July of 2011 when I was told my book had been accepted to a publishing house in Michigan.  For two weeks after the announcement, I heard nothing.

Then I received a lengthy email informing me that even though they thought my book was good enough and were excited about my series, they were going to be focussing on the authors they already had.  It ended with a note saying, “We think you’ll be stronger on your own” and a suggestion that maybe I should self-publish.  Self-publishing didn’t (and still doesn’t, to an extent) get much respect in the literary world, and I remember thinking, “This is it.  My dream of becoming a published author is over.  Nobody wants my book.  I’m just wasting my time.”

I was so discouraged that I stopped writing for almost a month. I didn’t look at my book even once the entire time.  Then I finished my pity party and looked at my book from a reader’s perspective.  I sat down and read all the romantic parts and felt all mushy.  I laughed at my characters and their awkwardness and cried when they cried.  It was then I came to the realization, “Hey, this book isn’t half bad.  In fact, it’s kind of good!”  Knowing I was biased toward my own work, I sent it off to a couple friends who were also romance nuts, just for the overall opinion and some editing help.  I was surprised and thrilled with their responses.  “We want to read more!” they both said.  I had several friends who just ate it up and I even let them read the rough drafts for books two and three since I had written them at the same time as The Heart’s Discovery.  They couldn’t seem to get enough.

Sometime around my birthday in November I began to take the publisher’s comments that I would ‘be stronger on my own’ to heart and I began to research self-publishing and what it meant to be an ‘indie author’.  Then I spent the next three months editing my first book and coming up with ‘the perfect cover’ (which I would change several times after releasing the book online).  In late January I bought a book by a fellow indie author that walked me step by step through the process of selling my book on my own website (which I had since September 2011) as well as major online retailers like Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and Amazon.

On February 12 I took the plunge and my book went public.  Since then I have learned so much about marketing, cover design, editing, networking and a whole host of things I never imagined myself being a part of.  My world has opened up and I have met fellow indie authors from every walk of life, as well as a few traditionally published authors, all of whom have become dear friends.  The publisher was only partly right when she said I would be stronger on my own.  I do have more control over the whole publishing process but I didn’t do it alone.

God brought a host of people; family, friends and total strangers who later became friends, into my life to encourage me, guide me and support me every step of the way.

I took a trembling step out in faith and in His amazing love, God showed me that there’s a really good reason He made me the way He did.  I learned that I can share love with others through my writing and to never give up before I really get started.  If I had given up back in July of last year I wouldn’t be selling my book and doing what I really love to do.  God gave me a special talent and my responsibility is to use that talent to bring glory to Him.  I fervently hope I am.

About Amy McGuire

First Choice brightened upAmy is the youngest of three children of missionary parents. As a result, her childhood was spent mostly in East Africa. She now lives in Ontario with her husband, young daughter, two cats and plants that she keeps forgetting to water.  Almost from the moment she could pick up a pen she has been writing stories and poetry.  She developed a love of English Literature at a young age and considers William Shakespeare’sTwelfth Night and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudicetwo of the most romantic books ever written.  She began writing comedies in middle school and by junior high had graduated to writing romances.  Her favorite way to spend a sunny afternoon is on a lounge chair with a good novel, some chocolate and soft tunes off her rather eclectic collection of Cds.  She has written many stories but never dreamt of publishing them until her husband gave her a nudge in 2009.

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2 Comments

  1. gloriarepp

     /  August 10, 2012

    Congrats, Amy! Isn’t wonderful how the Lord uses friends to give support and fulfill your heart’s desire? I’ve found that Indie publishing IS tough, but with the Lord, it can only make us stronger. Write on!

    Reply
  2. What an inspiring testimony! I can say “ditto” to much of it since I’m also indie published. . . 🙂

    Reply

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