Please welcome my guest, Cate Hart!
So I’ll start at the beginning. My mom read to me every night. As a teacher, reading has always been a very important part of her life. When I could read to myself, I devoured everything I could get my hands on – Carolyn Keene, Beverly Clearly, Judy Blume, Laura Ingalls Wilder, everything. But it was in the 3rd grade that I discovered what it was to write my own story.
My teacher, Mrs. Little, let students who’d made a 100 on their spelling test try something different with the vocabulary words the week of Halloween – we got to write a story using all the words. Ironically, I think that little assignment also set my path toward paranormal. Of course, in that list were Vampire, Ghost, and Haunted House. After the assignment, I found I liked writing stories and continued to write a few more.
I’ll just briefly say that when I was in high school, I spent a large part of my time writing. But it was primarily fan fiction, though at the time I had no idea what that was. I wrote to entertain my friends, and they’d read my stuff while we sat out in gym class. I hated gym class. Then I focused on graduating and getting into college – writing took a backseat. Until I picked up a book my mom was reading over summer vacation. When I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, the story resonated and I realized two things: I wanted something else to read with as good as a love story; I could write it myself. Hahaha. For me that was the first turning point. I knew that people made a career out of writing and I wanted to do that. This was also the naïve part where I had lofty hopes and absolutely no idea what writing entailed beyond getting to the end. I believed if I could just type the last word of the story I’d made it.
I spent another ten years sporadically working on that first manuscript, an historical romance. By that point, I wanted to become published, and I thought that was the story that would get me there.
A year and half ago, the spark of a new story reignited my passion to write. And I never imagined I’d write Young Adult. I found that my writing voice was a sarcastic, seventeen year-old girl still trapped in my body. So I set a goal, met it, and ended with one fabulous first draft novel – okay maybe not fabulous. But I was excited that I had it completed.
On January 1, 2009, I started the real journey to publication, stepping from a naïve writer to diligent learner of the craft. Over this past year, I have found how valuable critiques partners are to show you the imperfections in your writing. I have learned so much about the industry from published writers, agents, and editors who willingly reveal their processes to aspiring writers so that they can achieve success. I have submitted to several agents and faced the rejections as another learning experience. And I have successfully been asked for my full manuscript from an agent and I am in the process of seconds edits for her. I hope I’m ready for the next step, moving from aspiring writer to agented author in search of publication.
Every day I wonder if I am crazy to pursue this dream, but I realize how passionate I am for the written word. I dream and want to put those dreams on paper and to share them.