Rummanah Aasi

  Today is the last day in the Tempting Tuesday read along event. I would like to thank again the incredible Chloe Neil for writing her awesome urban fantasy series Chicagoland Vampires and to my fabulous co-hosts, Jenny, Tina, and Missie. Ladies, we must do this again! A big very big thank you goes out to the participants who have made our Tuesday extra special by joining in the discussion. As promised, today we have a guest post from Chloe and the winners for the awesome prize pack.Without further ado, here is a letter directly from Chloe to her readers. I hope you enjoy!

Dear Reader:

Is it surprising to learn that I used to get panicky about writing assignments? That my only English class in college was "African Novel"? that I promised myself I would never, ever get a job that required me to write?

And yet, here we are. :)

In high school and my first year of college, I thought I was headed for a career in the visual arts. A "starving artist" of the New York variety, or maybe an illustrator. (I didn't know much about commercial graphic design back then, or surely it would have topped the list, too.)  I did not like to write; hated it, in fact. I wasn't good at constructing sentences, and the act of doing it made me nervous and fretful to the point of distraction.

It was probably a fateful decision, then, that I attended a liberal arts college that prized writing over multiple choice exams . . . and that led me away from studio art in my second year. I wrote a paper as a sophomore, a short essay intended to examine the women's rights movement.  Instead of jumping into a discussion of the history, I started by writing the story of a fictitious woman named Hillary.

In other words, instead of simply writing a summary, I wrote a story. It got a good review from my professor, I recall, but that didn't change my mind one iota. Writing was not for me.

The song didn't change after grad school, or in a summer job as I watched my employers lock themselves in their offices to finish drafts. The proposition of having to write for a living, on a deadline, horrified me.

But then, after a string of random occurrences, I got a job as a kind of pseudo-reporter. I watched things happen; I wrote about them. I wrote about them every day for months on end. And in that process, I got more comfortable constructing sentences, putting clauses together and shaping paragraphs.

I learned, in the most basic sense, how to write.

Still, that was it. I read--had always loved to read--but I was quite content to leave the fiction writing to others. It didn't even occur to me to write fiction. After all, I only barely liked writing at my job. Why do it for fun?

Unfortunately, one sad day around that time, an important relationship ended. I healed by reading. And then reading more. And more and more and more. I devoured 8 or 10 paperbacks a week, usually romance, usually in a series of some type because I loved recurring characters and inside jokes.

Eventually, I ran out of things to read. I couldn't find a series I enjoyed or a romance with enough sparkle to hook me.

I thought, at first, I'd try my hand at fan fiction. I loved Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. Since I read faster than she published, I decided to imagine myself into the books to fill time until the next episode was released.

After about 2,000 words of Dark Hunter fan fiction, I felt silly. These weren't my characters; they were hers. It felt weird to play the game using someone else's cards.

So, on Labor Day in 2005, I opened a Word file and I started to write.

When I wasn't in class (grad school, at the time), I was writing. Weekends, I was writing. I wrote the same way I'd read--voraciously. I created a family of characters and a bevy of sarcastic inside jokes. I plotted seven books in a paranormal romance series, one romance per book, and I plastered a wall in my apartment with sticky notes--ideas and quips for later books.

I finished the manuscript on New Year's Day. It wasn't very good--and I have a rejection letter to prove it. But I'd done it, and it hadn't been nearly as bad as I'd imagined.

A few months later, I started my second manuscript, which I called The Prodigal Daughter. (Seriously. Isn't that terrible?)  It took six months to write and six months to edit. When I was reasonably confident I was done, I sent it to one publisher--Penguin.

A few months later, we mutually decided that Some Girls Bite was a much better title. :)

Today, I have a day job (in which I write) and a writing career (in which I write). I write a LOT, and there are still times when the words don't come and the fear rises up. But I'venow written ten novels, and each seems to reinforce one central idea: A book is crafted one sentence at a time. Don't worry about the last sentence in the manuscript--worry about the next sentence in the manuscript. You can deal with everything else later.

Thanks for listening. And reading.

Winners of the Read-Along Contest

Grand Prize Winner:
Christy @ Love of Books

Charmfall Winners:
Heidi @ Rainy Day Ramblings
Chantaal @ Wandering Fangirl

Congrats to the winners!
3 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Yay Chloe! Thanks so much again for hosting Rummanah, I can't wait to do this again:):)

  2. Rummanah, I'm so glad you joined out co-hosting team! I had so much fun chatting with you all through e-mail. :)

  3. Prangon Says:

    I am too bad at writing, I would need a miracle and then some to have a writing carrier o_o

    Great post Chloe, so glad that you continued writing :D

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