A SEVEN-YEAR OVERNIGHT SUCCESS
by Carey Jane Clark
I have wanted to be a writer almost as long as I can remember—since I first read Anne of Green Gables. But, although I won some writing awards in high school and continued to enjoy fiction, I never really found time to give to writing until I was in college.
As part of an assignment for one of the courses I took as part of my degree in English literature, I wrote the beginning of a novel. It was a speculative fiction. When the first three chapters were complete and the rest outlined, I submitted to a publisher. I had no idea at the time that you were supposed to have a manuscript finished before you sent it to a publisher. The editor sent back a letter saying the novel wasn’t suitable for that publishing house, but gave me the name and the direct line to another editor at another press. I made it as far as calling that number and when a voice answered on the other line, I hung up. I never called again.
I knew in my heart I wasn’t really ready—that I hadn’t learned the craft of writing well enough to finish the novel I was writing and to do it well. And, at that time, I didn’t know where to turn to learn more.
Ten years later, my son was born. I made the decision to stay at home with him, and it felt like a new beginning. I decided to take a writing course from Writer’s Digest online. The instructor and students in that course were very encouraging, and I subsequently enrolled in another course focusing on the novel. I had begun working on After the Snow Falls when I attended a small writer’s conference and met authors Cec Murphey and Randy Ingermanson.
I learned so much from that conference, and took notes that I continued to refer to for months afterward. I came home and started all over again with my novel. The things I learned at the conference made it clear to me that what I had written to that point weren’t making good use of conflict. I persevered through that draft. It was better, but I still wasn’t happy with the results. The climax fell flat.
After taking some time to analyze the story as I’d written it, I decided it needed another complete rewrite. At that point, the story was written entirely from the perspective of Celia (the main character). I realized that there wasn’t enough invested in the character of Alfie (her father) for the reader to care about him. I rewrote the story in alternating viewpoints, as it is now. There was one further rewrite, when I changed the portions written in Celia’s viewpoint from first person to third person. I was almost finished writing when we decided to move to China.
During the two years we spent in China, we were really busy learning the language and settling into life in a different country and culture. I didn’t do much writing at all during that period. When we returned home I determined to finish, which I did just prior to attending another writer’s conference this past summer. I received a lot of positive feedback about my manuscript and met a lot of wonderful writer friends. One of those friends was Karen Anna Vogel, fellow writer at TrestlePress, and author of the best-selling Amish Knitting Circle series. She introduced me to Giovanni Gelati of Trestle Press, and very soon after that, After the Snow Falls was published.
So, my journey to publication is really a story of a seven-year overnight success. When I began writing, my children were small, and now my oldest son is the same age as Caleb, Celia’s son in my novel. But I cut my writing teeth on this story, and I’m humbled by the positive reviews that After the Snow Falls has received since its release December 15th.
After the Snow Falls
by Carey Jane Clark
Trestle Press, 2011
In the middle of a soccer drill, in an awful, awkward moment, Celia Bennett's eight-year-old son Caleb lands on his face and chest in the grass. The diagnosis blindsides her, bringing her face-to-face with every parent's worst nightmare.
Desperate to save her son’s life, Celia pursues a cure through alternative medicine, but her quest ends in frustration and disappointment. Facing despair, hope walks in on the most unlikely set of legs, when her father returns after a 30-year absence. Can she release pain to embrace hope? Will it make a difference, or is it too late?
Carey Jane Clark writes to instill courage, hope and conviction in her readers. She is a homeschool mother by day, writer by night. The writing bug afflicted her early in life. She has been writing in one form or another for more than twenty years. After the Snow Falls is her first novel.
Carey shares the adventure of her life with her husband Brian and three children, whom she homeschools. She blogs at www.careyjaneclark.com/enCouragement . You can find out more about her novel at www.afterthesnowfalls.com.
What People are Saying
Carey's writing has been compared to that of Karen Kingsbury and Jodi Picoult.
"Her picturesque prose and compelling characters make After the Snow Falls a riveting story, one that will remain with readers long after...the final page." - Kathi Macias, author Deliver Me From Evil