Sittin’ on the porch today sipping tea with Author Mya O’Malley, I’m reminded of my own writing journey. Not for the faint of heart, but having friends and family to support you counts for so much. Mya shares a great deal about what she’s learned along the way. Let’s listen…
My journey in writing has been eventful, challenging at times, but overall it has been an exciting and rewarding endeavor. I’ve learned a lot during my journey, but I know that I have so much more to discover.
I’ve always loved to write and I started creating my stories for my grandmother around the age of eleven. My first series of short stories revolved around a mermaid theme, which is interesting because I’ve just finished writing a young adult mermaid book. My grandmother was so excited to devour these tales of mythical creatures that it encouraged me to write more. I wrote plenty, more short stories and poetry. Flash forward many years and my poetry continued, although I never really considered publishing any of my poems, perhaps because I considered them to be my own private thoughts.
I focused on a career as I received a bachelors’ degree in special education and became a teacher. Before long, I had a beautiful young daughter to enjoy. Writing was always in my thoughts, but I was busy creating a place for myself and writing was pushed to the side for a while. Throughout the course of my career, I maintained the belief that one day I would write a novel. I wanted to convey my passion for my experience as a special education teacher, making a difference in the life of others. With the dream still in mind, I pursued a graduate degree in reading and literacy and then thirty additional graduate credits. I was in the routine of writing essays for my courses and truly enjoying the process. I remember feeling pride when I was finally finished obtaining my graduate credits. I was proud of my accomplishments and I knew right then and there that I would start that novel because I was back in the writing mode. This time, my writing would be for myself and I could finally pursue my dream of creating a novel.
Where There is Love initially took me over two years to write. I felt lucky to have my summers off to focus on my writing. My main character is Mia, a special education teacher. I wanted Mia to help a troubled high school girl reach for her dreams. In the process I wanted Mia to experience a sense of fulfillment and purpose. It hit me that Mia should have a challenging past, one that she struggled with in her adult life. I like the idea that as a teacher, Mia served as a role model for her student and that sense of responsibility enabled Mia to reach for her own dreams and overcome her past obstacles in the process. I submitted my story to many publishers and agents, only to be turned down. I realized that I would need to develop a thick skin if I wanted to publish a book. Because writing is my passion, I kept at it, considering and implementing some of the suggestions that I received during the submission process. The story changed many times, even after I received a contract for publication. I revised it until the manuscript stands as it is now, a story about a young woman facing her past and opening her heart to love. Although Where There is Love, published by Solstice Publishing, is not my first novel to be published, it will always be special to me since it was the first novel that I wrote.
My very first novel to be published is At First Sight. This is a fun story of a divorced young woman out in the modern dating world. Pressured by her friend to give online dating a try, my character Annie initially resists the idea, only to find herself giving in. Annie’s experiences are hilarious and disheartening. Annie would like to believe that love at first sight truly exists. The question is, will Annie find it? I was thrilled when Astraea Press offered me a contract for this manuscript and even happier to see my story out there for others to enjoy. Working with so many wonderful authors in the company was a great experience for a new author, I’ve learned so much about writing and marketing from fellow Astraea Press authors.
Discovering that writing contemporary romance was something that I was so passionate about, I wrote a paranormal holiday romance in which a widow is visited by her late husband in disguise. This story is absolutely one of my favorites, it’s sweet, funny and heartbreaking all at the same time. Astraea Press offered me a contract and If You Believe released on November 18, just in time for the holidays.
Once I gained more experience in the writing and publication process, I found that I had many stories to share with my readers. I’m excited that another manuscript of mine was accepted by TouchPoint Press. The Calm After the Storm is another one of my favorites. I got the idea for this story several years ago during Hurricane Sandy. I had some time on my hands because school was cancelled for days and my house lost power for over a week. Looking around, I saw the devastation, it was all over the news. An idea struck me when I noticed utility trucks coming to help restore power in my area. These vehicles were workers from down south, Georgia, Florida and Texas. It was wonderful that these workers traveled to help those affected by the storm. I thought to myself, what if one of these workers fell in love with someone in the northeast? This book took me about a year to write and was put on hold for a while as I was revising and working on other projects. When was I was offered a contract by TouchPoint Press, I was excited to accept. The Calm After the Storm is due for a February release.
My journey in writing has been filled with many emotions, happiness, frustration and excitement. I would tell aspiring authors to keep at it. Have others critique your manuscript, accept advice, don’t be discouraged. There’s nothing quite like holding your own book in your hands, it makes up for all of the challenging times. My journey in writing has filled me with happiness and a sense of purpose. I now spend a big chunk of my writing time marketing my books and thinking up creative ways to reach my readers. I have recently started writing another contemporary romance and I look forward to experiencing the entire process once again, starting right from the beginning sparks of an idea.
Wow, what a journey, Mya. Thanks for spending time on the porch with me. Find out more about Mya on my Porch Guests page.