By Leslie Tentler
It was exactly three years ago this month that my debut novel, MIDNIGHT CALLER, came out. But what still stands out most to me about that time isn’t the book’s actual release date, but a related out-of-town trip.
You see, I live in Atlanta but had a scheduled appearance in another state to promote the book on a local, popular morning talk show - something that had been set up for weeks. What I didn’t expect was that a snowstorm would also be traveling into that area, so I had to leave much earlier than expected to beat it, or else I would have to cancel. And that wasn’t happening as a friend of a friend had gone to a lot of trouble to get me the spot.
I arrived, my knuckles white on the steering wheel, just before dark and just as the first fat snowflakes had begun to fall.
The reason I’m telling you this?
Because until then, from the point of getting “The Call” to finding out that two more books were wanted – stat – to make my single novel into a trilogy, I had never really had time to enjoy the fact that I’d achieved a big dream: Someone was going to publish me.
Instead, I’d been so caught up in trying to reach daily word counts to meet deadlines, making editor-suggested changes to the next book, setting up a website and taking part in the promotional whirlwind – not to mention a demanding day job – that I’d never really had much of a chance just to savor it all. But as I sat in the hotel’s nearly deserted restaurant, alone at a table and without Internet access, I was forced to just sit and really think about what was going on.
And it finally hit me. I was an author.
I ordered the restaurant’s best glass of pinot noir with my dinner and watched the snow come down.
There have been some big highs, including MIDNIGHT CALLER being a finalist for “Best First Novel” at ITW’s ThrillerFest in 2012. There was also the thrill of finding out that one of my favorite authors had run across my third book, EDGE OF MIDNIGHT, and liked it enough that she not only mentioned it on her blog but also provided me with a wonderful blurb. It’s definitely been a blast seeing all three books translated into foreign languages and recorded as audio books.
Two years have now passed since my last release in the trilogy and interested readers often ask me when another book is coming out. Admittedly, I peeled away from writing for a while – for a number of important reasons, among them the fact that I was still grappling with the self-doubt I’d assumed would diminish after being multi-published. But then I began writing again, somehow unable not to. I hope to have news to share soon.
The bottom line: It’s truly a great time to be an author. There have never before been more paths to publication, more ways to get your stories into readers’ hands. My best advice is that whatever path you choose, just be sure to build in time to enjoy the ride. You’re only a debut author once.
My other advice: If your book releases in the winter, have a backup plan for snow.
Leslie Tentler is the author of the Chasing Evil trilogy, which includes MIDNIGHT CALLER, MIDNIGHT FEAR and EDGE OF MIDNIGHT, and is published by MIRA Books. Visit her website at www.LeslieTentler.com or chat with her on Facebook.
The writer becomes the story when crime reporter Mia Hale is discovered on a Jacksonville beach—bloodied and disoriented, but alive. She remembers nothing, but her wounds bear the signature of a sadistic serial killer. After years lying dormant, The Collector has resumed his grim hobby: abducting women and taking gruesome souvenirs before dumping their bodies. But none of his victims has ever escaped—and he wants Mia back, more than he ever wanted any of the others.
FBI agent Eric MacFarlane has pursued The Collector for a long time. The case runs deep in his veins, bordering on obsession…and Mia holds the key. She'll risk everything to recover her memory and bring the madman to justice, and Eric swears to protect this fierce, fragile survivor. But The Collector will not be denied. In his mind, he knows just how their story ends.