Message From The Author

Author's Message

No Rest for the Wicked

AMERICAN TITLE II CONTESTANT DENISE EAGAN SHARES SOME SECRETS TO PUBLICATION SUCCESS

I started writing because I ran out
of good books to read," says debut author and American Title II contestant Denise Eagan. After gobbling up books by Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney "until there were no more," Eagan started writing her own stories in junior high school. She began writing for publication when her first son, Sean, was born. "That was 18 years ago," she notes.

The northeastern Massachusetts resident was even beaten to publication by her younger son, Nathaniel (Nat), who wrote his first book at age 12. "He printed it out on his computer and sold 10 copies to his friends," she says of her now 16-year-old son. "He had orders for more, but got sick of it. You can imagine my pride and frustration
that my son, on the fly, made more money at writing than I had in
14 years -- and he stopped writing because he was bored!" Eagan adds that Nat also won a bike in a writing contest. "It's a sad day when you're envious of your own kid," she says ruefully.

But Eagan's story, like all good romances, has a happy ending: Wicked Woman, her Victorian-era romance, will be published this
month by Kensington's Zebra imprint.

Wicked Woman, which started life as Wicked Widow, was Eagan's entry in the American Title historical contest, held in 2005-06. She made it to round three before bowing out with her romance, which judge Leslie Kazanjian deemed "different -- and quite daring."

Though she didn't win American Title II, Eagan learned a lot from participating. "When I entered the contest, I'd never even considered a website," she says. "But when I was chosen as a finalist, suddenly I was 'talking' online with all these women who had websites and blogs!" Though she admits to feeling intimidated at first, Eagan soon "got on the bandwagon" and created her own website. After that, she was off and running, creating a loop and blog group of Victorian-era writers and joining up with the Moody Muses, another writers' blog.

Eagan, whose sequel to Wicked Woman, Wild Card, is due out next year, says the contest changed her life in many ways, teaching her about promotion and giving her renewed confidence in her writing. She also utilized another strategy for building self-assurance. "When I became part of AT II, I bought myself some hypnotism CDs for confidence. They really did the trick. When I went in to pitch to Hilary Sares -- who bought the book -- I wasn't nervous at all." While that solution isn't for everyone, Eagan also has some very down-to-earth advice for fellow writers: "Keep submitting your manuscripts, in spite of rejection.
It took me many years to find publication, because I stopped submitting. But you can't
get an acceptance if you don't send it out."

-- Liz French


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