From Romance Writer to Songwriter
by Anita Mae Draper
I thought I'd change things up a bit and show you a video at the start of the post today. It's only a min and a half long, so take a peek and then I'll explain why I'm so enthused about it.
Isn't that nice? The song was written by Janet Tronstad and her friend, David White.
Janet is the author of the Dropped Stitches and Dry Creek series of books from Harlequin Love Inspired and Love Inspired Historical.
|Janet Tronstad and David White (Taken from the video)|
I've known Janet since 2006 when I joined the eHarlequin Community and started hanging out on the forums - specifically the writing and Steeple Hill boards. It's a great place to learn and hone the writing craft and make friends at the same time. I don't know how many of the 2,000+ eHarlequin members are published, but it's a huge percentage and they're willing to help the unpublished join them.
I received my first rejection - a 3 line form letter - back in 2007. Since I'd submitted that first manuscript to Steeple Hill Love Inspired, it was only natural for me to go looking to the Steeple Hill forum for answers. Okay, I admit... it was a lot of crying, too. But it was the only place I knew where people understood what I was feeling.
How could they reject my query and not tell me anything except that it wasn't suitable. Not suitable? I'd read over 200 Love Inspired novels by that time. Of course it was suitable! How naive I was back then. I thought it was the editor's job to tell me why my manuscript was rejected. I said on the forum, "How am I supposed to fix it if I don't know what is wrong?"
And that's when Janet stepped forward and offered to help. She said she'd give me a quick 30 min turnaround of the first three chapters of my manuscript. I jumped at the chance and emailed it to her. Within 20 mins she replied with several things she thought I was missing. The biggest one was lack of conflict, followed by goals and motivation. Yup. The big ol' GMC.
I'll always be grateful to Janet for steering me in the right direction, as well as the encouragement. She said I had potential and one of these days I'll prove she was right.
I still have much to learn however, if that last rejection is anything to go by. And one of the best ways to learn is to read from someone who's mastered the craft. Like Janet Tronstad. I believe at this time Janet has 29 books in print and I've read 24 of them. Four are sitting in my to-be-read (TBR) pile, and one (with Jillian Hart) was just released.
Last month I received my 6th rejection - my 4th from Love Inspired. And surprise! This time the editor gave me a whole slough of reasons. But instead of telling you what she thought I was lacking, I want to tell you what Janet does right and how I hope to gain insight from her writing to improve my own...
Amy was only 15 yrs old when Wade kissed her on the church steps, said he'd marry her - right before he left town. She waited for him. She turned down dates so she wouldn't betray him. She ignored the gossip and turned away from pitying looks. Until she saw the neighboring newspaper photo of a woman giving Wade a kiss along with his rodeo trophy. He'd been so close but hadn't tried to see her. Hadn't appeared to lack for company, either. That's when she knew his kiss hadn't meant anything to him and she was free to find someone else. But first love roots deep and she'd never met another man who hitched her heart like Wade.
That's all in the first chapter of Sleigh Bells for Dry Creek. I've glossed over the facts, but Janet tells it with such heart-wrenching emotion, I'm locked into the book. It's the little details like Wade keeping the packet of gum because it reminds him of her. I care that Wade doesn't know Jesus. And I empathize with Amy because she feels God has forgotten about her. I want everything in their path to be cleared away because they're hurting and the only way to happiness is if they are reconciled together and with God. Yet, the four of us have a long road ahead.
And I loved every minute of it. Janet's song has the same emotion but on a different level.
The YouTube version is only part of the song as Janet has released it as an MP3 download on Amazon. That means for 99 cents, you can download the complete version to your MP3 for your own convenient listening pleasure.
Download "Denim Sky (Montana Quilting Song & Dry Creek tribute)". If the link isn't working, go to www.amazon.com and click on MP3 store in the left dropdown sidebar. Type in "Janet Tronstad" and this comes up, Or click here.
Read Janet's blogpost where she explains how she puts her books into song. Visit Janet's website for more info about her and her books.
Do you know of any other authors who use music to promote their books?