I've written fiction for the last eight years. But only be default. I wrote fiction because no publishing house would take my non-fiction. Non-fiction was what I really wanted to write. I wanted to be known for books that changed people's lives, gave them principles for living. Instead, I ended up writing a fiction book about crazy southern people and rigged beauty pageants where women tape their boobs and spray their butts. Not actually the profound impact I was going for. So, once Savannah from Savannah was published fiction simply seemed to be where life would land for me.
I did try a couple times through the years to get a non-fiction book published from a Bible Study I had taught. But again, the rejections piled up and the fiction opportunities were the only one availing themselves to me. It seemed I was going to be destined to write about certifiable characters and southern settings.
But a couple years ago things changed. After thirteen years of marriage I walked through a heart breaking divorce. During that season I walked away from a new three-book fiction book deal and from all of the teaching that I was doing and plunged head long into the healing of my heart. And a big piece of that healing came from journaling my journey. Each day I poured out the pain in my heart, the joy of new discoveries and the fear of all of the unknowns of my new life.
As my heart began to heal I decided I would see what fiction was still inside of me. My agent got me a new fiction deal but at one of our lunches he asked, "Would you be willing to try to publish your journals?"
"You've walked this journey in a beautiful way. I think people could benefit from how you've lived this out."
"Is that a no?"
"My personal journals? The pain of my divorce? Let people read that?"
"You're already doing that on your blog for singles. Why not let's just pitch it and see what happens."
I had tried to get non-fiction published and now something that was never meant to be a book, that held my deepest pain and darkest places my agent was asking me to unfurl for someone else to peruse through. "I don't know if I can do it."
"Just think about it. I think it could be life changing."
About six months later I sat down with my old journals and began to see if I could form a story out of my outbursts of emotion. Four months ago I received an offer for my first fiction book. A book never meant to be a book. Flying Solo: A journey of divorce and healing with a very present God will come out in January of next year.
For almost twelve years I've tried to get non-fiction published. What will finally come out would have never been anything I would have wanted to go through or would have planned on sharing. But because my agent saw something in my journey worth telling, because he genuinely believed in what I had to offer, something my heart has desired for years is finally a reality. Everyone should be so blessed to have an agent like I do...sounds trite I know. But nonetheless true.
Denise Hildreth makes her home in Nashville, Tennessee with her two shih-tzu's. She enjoys good friends, good food and Coca-Cola and every now and then she writes a few books.
www.denisehildreth.typepad.com "Flying Solo"