Friday, October 1, 2010

Lauren Hammond: My Journey to Publication

So you've done it! You've put your blood sweat and tears into your current literary piece, and now you have to ask yourself, what's next?

Writing has been a great part of my life since I was a kid. I won my first essay contest in 1994 and it was onward and upward from there. In high school, I carried around a notebook full of poems I had written and constantly told myself, one day, I'm going to write a book. Then life happened and I put that dream on the back burner.

I didn't make initial move to write a book until 2006. A very close friend of mine died in a house fire along with her three children. At that point I was determined to write a book and start a scholarship for them. My first novel, The Aloria Chronicles: Curse of the Kingdom Sorceress was released in June of 2007. Only it didn't do as well as I thought it would. I had reached a road block in my life where it seemed like nothing was going how I wanted to. And even though I wanted to give up a million times, I didn't. I knew what I was capable of, I knew I had the drive, and I've always known that I write from the heart.

Cara Jones, the main character in Love Sucks came to me in a vision. From that moment, I knew her story had to be told. I originally wrote Love Sucks as a screenplay back in 2007 then, a year later, I went back to it. I had to start from the beginning. I wanted my readers to put themselves in Cara's shoes. I wanted them to feel what she felt. After another year, I had the completed manuscript and sent it out. A few people were interested but then it seemed to screech to halt. Then Punkin House Press gave me the go for publication and I can't even begin to express what that feels like.

Nothing about getting published is easy. You face a thousand rejections, and you have to learn to develop thick skin. And if you think after you get published it gets any easier, think again. It takes hard work, passion, and dedication. And can't stress how important self-belief is. You have to believe in yourself. You have to keep at it. You have to keep writing. No matter how many times I told myself to give up, I never did. And no matter how many people told me to give up because I'd never make it, I never listened to them. For me, I truly believed that positivity is the key in this industry. Who knows where I would be if I would have given up?

-Lauren Hammond