Julie, here, and it's no secret that I absolutely LOVE everything Irish!! So, it's little wonder that I jumped at the chance to read the debut book of today's guest blogger Nancy Herriman when our mutual agent Natasha Kern asked. A very smart move, it turns out, because The Irish Healer was everything I'd hoped for and more. Here is my endorsement: "Possibly one of the best regencies I have ever read, The Irish Healer is a haunting love story that held me spellbound me from the first sentence to the last, denying me sleep until the wee hours of the morning. A stunning debut for Nancy Herriman." Without further ado, please welcome a dear friend and fellow lover of all things Irish, Nancy Herriman:
I can very clearly recall the worst rejection I ever received. For you writers out there, can you? Mine came on a bright sunny summer’s day, a few weeks after I had mailed a slew of agent queries, a few weeks spent breathlessly watching both the physical and electronic mail box for a kind letter asking for more. Which I was certain would come. And then it arrived, this tiny blue postcard with a generic three-sentence rejection basically saying ‘not interested’ but sounding an awful lot like ‘why would we bother with you?’. The salutation wasn’t even addressed to me personally. Couldn’t they see all the blood, sweat and tears I’d poured into that query? Didn’t I deserve a ‘Dear Nancy’? Didn’t I deserve a kind word or two encouraging me to persevere, to soldier on?
I know I shouldn’t complain, because I’ve heard worse stories, of authors (now bestselling) who were told to never contact the particular agent/editor again, that they should stop writing and find another job, that no one but no one was interested in such a story and they would never sell. Ever. So I suppose my little blue generic postcard wasn’t all that bad, in the greater scheme of things. At the time, though, I was angry and then I cried and then I threw it in the trash can. Now, I rather wish I’d kept that postcard. A memento of the many barriers, the many negatives in this business we writers both love and loathe in, often, equal measure.
After more than 10 years of writing and several manuscripts, both finished and unfinished that have been consigned to the metaphorical box-under-the-bed, I finally wrote the book that would make it easy to smile over that postcard. In the end, the terse rejection toughened me, and made me all the more grateful for the day when my agent called with those blessed words that someone wanted to buy The Irish Healer. All the more aware that, if I had quit after that rejection and the others like it, I would never have enjoyed seeing my words in print, at last.
The need to persevere doesn’t end with that first contract, however. Only in hushed conversations do published authors reveal the dark truth that Life-After-The-Call can be more fraught with stress and upset than Life-Before-The-Call. That it’s harder to receive a negative comment from a reviewer than it is to get one of those generic rejections in the mail. That your career as a published author is never certain. That balancing deadlines with your ‘regular life’ can be challenging and sometimes dispiriting. For example, here is my past year went: I received The Call, went through the multi-step editing process, wrote my contractual second book, began work on publicity for The Irish Healer, all while getting a diagnosis of breast cancer and enduring surgery and five months of chemotherapy. Oh, and I still have children at home! Thank heavens for the support of precious friends and the enduring strength obtained through faith, or else I might have given up.
So, here are my parting words of encouragement for all writers in all stages: persevere. If I can overcome nearly a dozen years of rejection and life-changing health issues, so can you. And if you get one of those generic rejection postcards, keep it.
A blurb about The Irish Healer:
Acquitted of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal and vows to never sit at another sickbed. She no longer trusts in her abilities—or God’s mercy. When a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, though, she is forced to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. James Edmunds, wearied by the deaths of too many patients, has his own doubts about God’s grace. Together, they will have to face their darkest fears...and learn what it means to have real faith.
Nancy Herriman abandoned a career in Engineering to chase around two small children and take up the pen. She hasn’t looked back. When she is not writing, or gabbing over lattes about writing, she is either watching history shows on cable TV or singing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and sons, and wishes there were more hours in the day. You can learn more at her website, www.nancyherriman.com, where you will also find a link to the opening chapter of The Irish Healer along with a book trailer.
If you participate in social media, please join her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Author.NancyHerriman or on Twitter (@Nancy_Herriman).
In addition, one lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win a copy of The Irish Healer in either print form or audio book. Good luck!