I’m happy to welcome author Liese Sherwood-Fabre. Today, Liese shares her writing adventures and books.
My excursion into fiction writing began a little more than twenty years ago. While living in Mexico and after reading several issues of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, I thought, “I can do that,” and labored for several weeks to produce a 20-page short story quickly rejected by the publication. Regardless, I learned two things from that experience: it was possible for me to complete a story, and that I needed to learn more about how to write if I were to ever be published (not so easy when living abroad and before the Internet came into its current form).
Shortly after the rejection letter came, my husband was transferred to Moscow, Russia. Once the dust settled in our new location, the children were in school, and I took a job at the embassy, I tackled my next project, using my experience in a bi-cultural marriage as the backdrop for the story. It, too, never garnered much attention, and I started another book—this time set in Russia and inspired by a New Yorker article by Richard Preston: “Annals of Warfare: The Bioweaponeers.” He described the plight of Russian scientists following the fall of the Soviet Union and the Iranians’ efforts to recruit them for their own laboratories and weapons programs. What, I wondered, would push a scientist to agree to develop biological agents for a foreign, radical government? I gave my main character no job, a sick child, and friends with underworld connections—and Saving Hope was born.
Musa Publishing published the novel in 2012, hitting the market the same day as my oldest grandchild was born. Less than three years later, the organization folded and returned the book’s rights to me. I am finally at a stage where it will soon be in print (and digits) once again.
Any writer will tell you, as soon as you finish one book, start on the next. Shortly after Saving Hope came out, I moved on to another project: a novel involving Sherlock Holmes at age 13. This book landed me an agent. I recently completed its sequel, but so far, I haven’t found a publisher for these stories. But I have connected with a very organized Sherlock Holmes fan-base and have been sharing essays on Victorian England for publication in their newsletters. Through one contact, I heard of a call for alternate universe Sherlock Holmes stories, and submitted a story about a world inhabited by vampires, and Holmes must discover who is murdering them.
So far, 2017 has been an exceptional year for me with the release of one new book (a collection of the first two years’ of Victorian England essays), the imminent release of a second (Saving Hope) and a story appearing in the anthology Curious Incidents: More Improbable Adventures. And I just learned of plans by our local Sherlock Holmes society to publish their own anthology (sign up for my newsletter if you want to learn more about that as events develop!)
If I were to identify one key word of advice for any writer, it would be perseverance. My mother always said, “When a door closes, a window opens.” When you get that rejection or learn that your publisher is no more, seek out the window. I’ve crawled through quite a few on my journey and know they always lead to new opportunities.
What about you? Have you face some difficulty, only to find opportunities opening as a result?
Where to find Liese…