I don’t think I’ve done this before on my blog… introduced a wonderful person who not only writes awesome stories, but who I consider my kindred friend in the world of writing (and drinking wine, for that matter!).
I met Trisha Leaver via www.absolutewrite.com. It was August 2009, I had a new story swirling around my computer called SWELL, and after having my idea for flash forwards batted about in the general forum, I realized I needed the careful eyes of a good beta reader. Would my idea fly? Was it easy to understand? And most of all, would the beta reader love it?
I found three readers – one was a nice guy who read some of the chapters. Another was a girl who requested chapters and never got back to me (groan). And the third was Trisha, a savvy writer from Massachusetts who lit the fire under my butt to complete SWELL and make it, well, as swell as it could be.
Late summer and into early Fall, Trisha encouraged me to keep going with SWELL, asking for chapters and telling me she’d dreamt about my characters. She wanted to know what was next, and questioned things I’d written that I later went back and strengthened… or eliminated. Trisha “got” the characters and their problems… from Beck’s addiction to alcohol and Christian’s distancing behavior, to Hillman’s deviant personality and a lust for Beck that is so strong he’d stop at nothing to have her. Even more, Trisha understood the timing of the story. These things, in addition to her pep talks and thorough edits of each chapter, brought SWELL to a close after only six weeks.
After the beta read and all through the query process, Trisha was with me, and I with her. See, she had a unique and beautiful story called Cedar, about a mountain girl from West Virginia who struggles to get out and be her own person. There is nothing on the market like it, and I couldn’t help but devour the story with as much hunger as Trisha had felt for SWELL. We queried our stories together, and within six months of each other were welcomed with open arms by two amazing agents. We’d arrived.
But more than having arrived, we’d made friends. There is nothing stronger than a bond between people who just understand you, and no greater reward than seeing them succeed. I feel this way about my writer friend, and look forward to seeing Cedar and all of Trisha Leaver’s amazing stories go far and deep into the hearts and souls of readers.