Summer Book Club Part 5: Victorine Lieske
Summer Book Club time again… And the first ever MWi post from sunny England. Minus the sunny, of course.
Just a few hours ago I fleetingly met the infamous Saffi herself,and over the coming weeks we’ll be getting together properly to get the new book back on track and chase up numerous other projects, but here at MWi, just a few days late, it’s the next installment of the Summer Book Club.
In theory this is all about Victorine Lieske, but first a quick rewind to last week’s SBC guest, Scott Nicholson.
Because Scott this week became the latest of the SBC gang to acquire a publishing contract with Amazon imprint Thomas & Mercer, hard on the heels of the contract signed, also with Thomas and Mercer, by SBC member J. Carson Black.
For anyone who missed these stories, check out David Gaughran’s coverage while I was skiving off-line.
And by coincidence of timing David will be here in e-person on MWi tomorrow with a post of his own, actually arranged some weeks before either of the deals mentioned. Serendipity at work again!
Just time here also to mention SBC member HP Mallory has launched her book How I Sold 200,000 E-Books: A Guide for the Self-Published Author. For reasons as yet unclear it’s only available on amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, so not much use for us this side of the pond, but sure to be a valuable resource for those who can access it.
Okay, back to today’s SBC member, the one and only Victorine Lieske.
Here Victorine talks about her New York Times bestseller Not What She Seems. Yep, Victorine made the NYT bestsellers’ list with her debut indie-published novel!
Needless to say we’re all jealous as hell, especially as this side of the pond that’s the sort of media acceptance we can only dream about. Here in the UK the media are doing their best to pretend e-books don’t exist (although Louise & Mark are doing a great job breaking down that particular barrier). The UK has a long way to go to catch up with the US in that respect.
Having written an unquestionable best-seller Victorine has now gone and written in a very different genre, with total disregard for the gatekeepers’ rules (even progressive agents like Rachelle Gardner sadly are still fighting the one-genre-is-compulsory battle). I’ll be dragging Victorine back here as soon as I can to tel us more about that.
Meanwhile, here’s Victorine on her breakout debut novel Not What She Seems:
You know, it’s funny, I never set out to become an author. I thought it would be cool to be able to tell people that I wrote a novel. That was my whole motivation. It’s really kind of a silly thing, now that I think about it.
And of course, being a silly thought, I wasn’t very serious about it. I started a novel once, then about ten pages in I lost interest in it. Years later I started another one, but got busy and it never went anywhere.
Then, one day I was getting my daughter out of the car and my back seized up. I literally couldn’t move. I was put on bed rest to heal. Since I was stuck in bed with nothing to do, I decided to write that novel I always wanted to write. Easy, right? I set my laptop on my lap and just started typing. I wanted to write about a rich business man going incognito and meeting up with a woman on the run. I thought it would be fun to combine a light romance with a suspenseful mystery. I finished the first draft of Not What She Seems in one week. (I had no idea that was fast for a first draft. I knew nothing about writing.)
After finishing that first draft I thought I was done. I didn’t know writers edited. Funny, right? (Really, it was more scary than funny.) Luckily I decided to figure out if my book was any good. That’s when I found critiquecircle.com. I submitted my book, chapter by chapter, through the critique website. I learned that my first draft needed work. A lot of work! In fact, I threw out the last half of the novel and rewrote it. Then I submitted the book again. It took me four years to get the book into shape.
But I knew I had something interesting when I got comments from other authors telling me they couldn’t wait to read more of my book. They would ask me why my book wasn’t published already, and ask when the next chapter would come out. Honestly, this is why I kept going with it. I loved hearing the feedback from people who enjoyed reading my story.
Even though I’ve sold over 113,000 copies and made it on the NYT’s best seller list and signed with an agent, I can honestly say my favorite part of this whole journey is when I get an email from a fan. It makes it all worth it.
Keep your eyes on the Summer Book Club Facebook page, Victorine will be giving away a free signed paperback copy of Not What She Seems.
Thanks for joining us, Victorine.
One week to write the first draft, four years to get it to the stage where she was happy to publish. And didn’t that wait pay off!
Victorine mentions critiquecircle, but there are many other peer review sites our there, like youwriteon, authonomy, protagonize, etc.
So what’s your experience of peer review sites? I know many regulars here, including Tom Winton, Marion G Harmon, Dan Holloway, Prue Batten, Miriam Longman, Charley Robson and Gerry McCullough are old hands at the peer review sites. What’s your experience of them? Good or bad? Or have you totally by-passed them?
Come on, guys. Spill!