I first "met" Kaki in 2007 when I was the coordinator of the Barclay Sterling, a now defunct contest that offered a real bang for the buck. With the help of many Seekers, we were able to offer stellar judging in multiple categories and that's how Kaki caught my eye. I love good writing. Kaki's all that and more.
She double finaled in the Single Title category with Pieces of Sky and Open Country, first and second place respectively, and a bunch of us got a glimpse of something rare and beautiful: Kaki's writing. Seeing her now contracted, with Pieces of Sky newly launched makes me proud to have been part of that story, that road to her success. I brought coffee to jump-start the day after a weekend of partying and revelry, fireworks and some interesting late night activities it would seem. (Has ANYONE seen Bruce since Saturday???)
Grab a mug of joe, a quiet cappuccino or a cup of tea and allow me to introduce you to Kaki Warner, author.
I’m sure you’ve read the headlines:
LATE BLOOMER BABY BOOMER STUNS LONG-SUFFERING FAMILY WITH THREE-BOOK PUBLISHING CONTRACT.
It was an accident, of course. The thing was heavier than I thought and it kind of slipped out of my hands. Once they came to, we started reading it over. Page after page of itty-bitty writing with a lot of cross-outs and margin add-ins. Scary. I signed it anyway and was pathetically eager to do so. Twenty-five years is a long wait, after all.
Not that I wrote nonstop for the entire quarter century—that pesky family thing kept interfering—but like a hound dog with a dried-up snakeskin, I kept coming back to it every now and again, just to make sure it was still a dead issue.
Then one day a while back, my husband and I were throwing out junk—his, mostly—and I came across the manuscript and decided to give it one more read before I tossed it into the burn barrel. It wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t that good, either. So I dusted it off, did another rewrite, changed the name to PIECES OF SKY and entered it in several literary contests to get some feedback.
Contests are good for several reasons. The readers are experienced writers or published authors, and they might be able to offer insights you haven’t considered. Plus, the final judges are usually editors and agents, and if you’re lucky, they might ask you to send a copy of your completed manuscript for their consideration.
Which I was and they did.
So with the breathless anticipation of a timorous virgin at her first Tailhook Convention, I shipped out my beloved tome, then grabbed a sandwich and a lawn chair and sat down beside the mailbox to wait.
It was thirteen months before one editor sent the standard rejection letter, and I never heard back from an agent who had truly seemed interested. Maybe he died. Probably keeled over from pure delight when he read my work. It could happen.
Undeterred, I bought the latest edition of Guide to Literary Agents and started sending out query letters. Three months later I had a brilliant agent, a discerning editor and a contract with enough heft to knock an entire family off its feet.
So…let’s see. Twenty-five years of worrying and hoping and rewriting=nada. Three months of research and sending out query letters=success.
You do the math.
Kaki, I love it! Kaki is giving away a copy of her debut novel "Pieces of Sky" to one lucky commentor. Be sure to leave your e-mail in your comment so that Kaki can contact you and grab your snail addy.
And Kaki, thanks so much for being our guest in Seekerville!