Saturday, September 7, 2019

Ten Years and Still Kicking by Joy Preble

This month marks the 10th anniversary of my debut novel, DREAMING ANASTASIA. Ten years. A decade. In publishing years, I think that's like a million. Possibly a million and one. A long, darn time.

Our topic this month asks what we'd change, knowing what we know now.  Honestly? Probably nothing. Which is not to say everything was perfect. It wasn't. But things have a way working out, especially when you don't know any better!  Contract could have been stronger. But my first novel was getting published! Losing my editor a few months before publication date wasn't spiffy. But he was replaced by someone who loved the book. And okay, there were two or three more in the course of a trilogy, which was also a struggle, but it all led to places I could never imagine.

The book wasn't front list. Actually, ten years in, I've never had a front list title. Never hit a major list. Never gotten star. Not yet, anyway. Yet, here I am. Seven books and some anthologies later. So don't let anyone tell you that a career works only one way. It doesn't.

But as I've mentioned before, Dreaming Anastasia broke out anyway. It was an in house bestseller. It was on its third or fourth printing before the end of the year. It is still in print. Still for sale. Still being read and reviewed. One kind soul at a university analyzed the entire trilogy for a thesis paper. The fairy tale sites generally like it. It made me contacts and industry friends for life, people who are dear to me in so many ways.

It led to everything else that has come after.

Are there portions I'd probably re-write? Yes. The writer I am today is not the writer I was over ten years ago. But it will probably always be the book closest to my heart, the book influenced by love of fairy tales, fantasy, girl power, all things Romanov, and an obsessive Buffy fandom that combined to make me write about a girl who didn't want to be chosen but was chosen anyway, who didn't want witchy power, but got it anyway, who fell in love with someone who she had to fight for and who had to fight for her, whose family was a mess and whose best friend was loyal as they come. She was brave and funny and wildly imperfect and sometimes very selfish, but when you're the hero sometimes you have to be.

DREAMING ANASTASIA was the product of every hope and dream I ever had for a writing career that I had to fight for, that I had to be selfish for, that was messy and imperfect but was where I needed to be if I could get there.

So. Would I change anything? I don't have a clue. I chose it. It chose me. We're both imperfect but still hanging in there.

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