Monday, May 18, 2015

How I Started Writing . . . by Kate James



I always wanted to write. While I was attending university, I started two manuscript. But after graduation, my career took off and those partially finished manuscripts were relegated to a storage box in my basement. Fast forward a number of years. My husband and I were on vacation in the Caribbean. My husband likes to sleep in a bit when he's not working, but I’m always up early so I use the time to catch up on business-related e-mails, read or find other ways to occupy myself. I was sitting outside by our pool one morning, sipping my coffee, when I happened on a notice for a short story writing competition. I wrote the story, entered it in the contest and placed 52 in my category. Now that might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but the contest received over 12,500 entries! Still, I put it aside. (Ultimately the short story became my first Heartwarming book, A Child’s Christmas.)


A few months later, it’s my birthday and I am opening the gifts from my husband. I am a very hard person to buy gifts for because there’s not much I can think of that I want or need, and I virtually never give hints. Yet, my husband almost always finds the perfect gifts for me. On this particular occasion, one brightly wrapped package contained a beautiful white laptop. I smiled graciously at my husband and thanked him profusely, all the while thinking what the heck do I need another laptop for, when I have a perfectly good one from work that’s with me nearly 24/7?

But my husband knew better than I did. As I spent so much time on my work laptop, the last thing I was inclined to do was use it more during my free time to write a book. The fact that my personal laptop was white instead of the normal business black, made a world of difference, too. It didn’t look or feel like my work computer, and it created an entirely different mindset.

In six months, working very early in the mornings before work and late at night after our evenings ended, I wrote my first book, Silver Linings. Six months later, I had a contract and another six months after that, my debut novel was in print and in book stores! Silver Linings did well considering the publisher was a small press. It received first place honors in two out of two reader’s choice contests as well as some other recognitions. The fall of that year, I took the most significant step in terms of career change. I left my “day job.” I am still involved in business but not on a full time basis, enabling me to put considerably more time and energy into my writing and associated promotional efforts. It also gave me the opportunity to seek a relationship with a larger publisher, and I am thrilled to be now writing for Harlequin.

I suppose the moral of the story is that my husband knew best, and I owe him a big thank you! That white laptop was the start of a very enjoyable journey for me.

The Truth About Hope has just been released and is available in print and e-book formats.

Buy Link

Next up will be the first book in my K-9 trilogy, When the Right One Comes Along. It's scheduled for release in October, with the second book following in January 2016. I am grateful to the York Regional Police and PC Jim Hilton and his explosives detection canine partner, Max, for their invaluable assistance with my research.






As always, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below, or contact me through my website, on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy reading!

Kate


30 comments:

  1. I loved your husband's idea!! He's a smart man. He put a lot of thought into that gift. I'm happy for you that his gift put you on track to your writing career. I'm looking forward to reading The Truth About Hope and your first book in the K-9 trilogy. Congratulations on writing for Harlequin. That's truly something to be proud of.

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    1. Yes, I am very fortunate to have such a smart (and considerate) husband, and he often does know me better than I know myself!

      Thank you for all your support for the Heartwarming authors, Laurie! I look forward to hearing how you enjoyed The Truth About Hope, once you've had a chance to read it.

      Happy reading!

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  2. What a great story. Supportive husbands are truly a gift. My hubby has encouraged me so many times in my career, I can't imagine taking the journey without him. Congrats on your successes. So glad to be a sister Heartwarming author!

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    1. Thank you, Tara. Yes, we are fortunate to have the support of our husbands, and to be able to write for Heartwarming!

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  3. Kate, we're all so lucky your husband believed in your talent and in you. I just finished The Truth about Hope and it took the rest of a Kleenex box you know. What a touching story. You have indeed found your calling. Looking forward to the K-9 stories.

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    1. Aww...Roz, you just made my day!

      You know I am a huge fan of yours--after all it was Annie's Neighborhood that convinced me I wanted to write for Heartwarming--so your feedback means so much to me.

      I am glad you enjoyed The Truth About Hope!

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  4. What a great story, Kate. Do you still write on the white laptop? Good luck with your new series!

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post, Jill.

      My husband replaced that original laptop a few years later. It, too, was white, but sadly it came to an untimely end because of one of our rescue pups decided it might make a good chew toy. Good thing we love our dogs unconditionally! :-) You can read that story here: http://heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.ca/2014/09/a-dogs-life-by-kate-james-and.html

      Thank you for the good wishes for the series.

      Happy reading!

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    2. What a great story and wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing, Kate!

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    3. What's an electronic device or two in the face of all that puppy love! (I did keep the laptop, though, because of its special meaning!)

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  5. Kate - congratulations on having the sense to pick such a good man, on being such a good writer, and for landing in the middle of all of us, also dream-chasers, dog-lovers, seekers of the perfect romance, in the perfect setting, with the happiest ever-after. It's just the beginning for you!

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    1. What a sweet comment, Muriel...and coming from a lady who knows the true meaning of picking a good man! Actually, if not for our (then) dogs, my husband and I probably would not have met!

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  6. I loved getting to read about how you started writing, Kate. Thanks so much for sharing your story. And it was a nice bit of trivia to know that short story eventually became a Child's Christmas. :)

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    1. Thank you, Cerella. I honestly believe that if not for that laptop, my dream to be an author would never have happened!

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  7. It's always great to hear about how authors get started. Best of luck with all your journeys and releases!

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    1. Thank you, Melinda. As I noted above, my first full manuscript would probably never have been written if not for my husband and that birthday gift!

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  8. I'm with Mel--writers' origin stories are always my favorite. So glad you came full circle back to your stories, Kate. :) Here's to many, many more sales!

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    1. Thank you, Anna! I look forward to hearing how you got into i!

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  9. Your husband is a keeper! And I so enjoyed reading about your writing journey. I am so far behind in reading, but your books are on my TBR stack!

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    1. I think so, too, Patricia! :-D As you work to catch up on your reading, please make sure you take the time to keep writing your beautiful stories!

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  10. DITTO TO EVERYTHING SAID HERE. We are the lucky ones that you were given to us. I loved your story and God bless your hubby!

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    1. Oh, Catherine! You always say the sweetest things! Thank you.

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  11. So great getting to know you a little better, Kate! Your post proves that good things happen when people listen to Life's little cues. I'm sure many agree: Thank you for listening to those cues, because if you hadn't, the literary world would have missed out on your beautiful stories! Can't wait to read your next book! :-)

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    1. Loree, I am privileged to have gotten to know so many wonderful, talented and supportive authors along this journey! Thank you for you kind words.

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  12. I love how having a white laptop made all the difference. I don't use my laptop for work either. I take it to work, and I'll have it on my desk during lunch when I write. I swivel to my desktop for research.
    Great story :)
    Neat husband.

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  13. A great story, Kate. Sometimes husbands do now best.

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  14. Okay, KNOW best. One day, I will be a writer.

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    1. He does his best now, too! :-D

      Thanks, Liz.

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