Today Dana Romanin has stopped by the blog to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Dana…
You’ll read in my bio that when I was little I would sit under a grove of forsythia bushes and pretend that I was Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I did sit under the bush with ants crawling on my leg and dream of being a writer. But, dear reader, that’s all I did—dream.
I rarely wrote. I spent most of the time dreaming about what it would be like to be a writer.
When I actually tried to write under that forsythia bush, I was rudely ripped from my pretend Anne world with the cruel reality of how difficult writing can be.
But I still dreamed of writing.
I wrote stories, rewrote the endings of books, and continued stories long after I finished reading them—in my mind.
This went on throughout my high school years and soon it was time for me to head to college. I got into Virginia Tech. Since I only seemed capable of writing in my mind I thought it best to get a degree in business. I decided to major in marketing management and minor in psychology. Little did I know at the time how much those majors would actually help me in my writing career.
After college, I was an analyst for a consulting firm in Washington D.C. I remember one day when one of my managers complimented me on my writing skills. To me, that was one of the best compliments I could have gotten. Even if it was about testing a new billing system for a major telephone company. I yawned just writing that last sentence.
I got married and jumped at the chance to work from home as a sales engineer. I sold fixtures to manufacturing plants to test circuit boards. Huh. What happened? I dozed off there for a second.
But I still dreamed of writing.
Writing a book seemed impossible. I’d start a book. Then stop in exasperation. It was just too doggone hard.
After having my first child, I quit my sales engineer job because it involved a lot of travel and did I mention it was boring? Anyway, I settled in to be a stay-at-home mom.
But I still dreamed of writing.
I started taking an at home course on writing children’s books. But I stopped. It was too time-consuming.
And then I got involved with helping out with my church’s youth group. And, dear reader, teens are in a world of hurt.
Fast forward about ten years, three kids, way too many pets, a bazillion youth group meetings, and I finally found my “why.”
Why I wanted to write. And that made all the difference.
You see before I was writing for myself. But about six years ago, I discovered that I wanted to write for teens. To make them happy. To make them smile. To give them hope.
Once I discovered my “why” nothing would stop me. I attended conferences. I read every book I could on writing. I got involved in a critique group. Entered contests. Started a website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Wattpad. Basically, I went social media crazy. But most importantly, I focused on developing my writing skills.
I no longer dreamed about writing. I actually wrote.
It took about six years of writing, critiquing, social media frenzy, and going to conferences until I finally caught my break. I entered one of my books, Abby’s Letters, in the ACFW Genesis Contest and it semi-finaled. Soon after, I got my agent, Cyle Young, and my contract at Clean Reads publishing for Abby’s Letters.
My story isn’t over, of course. I still have a lot of writing to do. But now that I know my “why ” I’m not going to stop—not while there are young adults out there in this world who could use a laugh or even a good cry.
Abby’s Letters Back Cover Copy:
For years, Jane’s mom told her horror stories about her time spent in foster care. Now she’s determined to keep her little sister from suffering the same fate.
Seventeen-year-old Jane Sanders has had to take care of her alcoholic mother and little sister, Abby, since her dad died seven years ago. And now Mom had to go and die too. Authorities determine it was a homeless transient who died in the fire of the old manufacturing plant, but Jane knows the truth.
There is no way she’s going to let Abby go into foster care which leaves her with one option—fake her mom’s life. As far as Abby knows, their mom is in rehab. And Jane wants to keep it that way. She’d be eighteen in a few months then she could become legal guardian to her sister. With the help of her best friend, Clark, it should be easy, right?
Juggling nosy neighbors, a concerned school counselor, and an oblivious new boyfriend turns out to be harder than Jane thought. But the real problem begins when Abby starts writing letters to Mom. Through Abby’s letters, Jane sees a different side to their mom—a side she could have loved. And loving Mom is something she didn’t plan on. Because loving somebody makes it harder to ignore their death.
Barnes & Noble
“Heart-wrenching, beautiful, and complex, Abby’s Letters is an exquisitely written treatise on mother-daughter relationships, forgiveness, and love. Romanin skillfully tells this fragile family’s story with tenderness and grace, highlighting the interplay of a young woman’s painful past, uncertain future, and unflinching sisterly devotion. Each moment in this novel is a treasure shaped by masterful prose and lyrical storytelling. Do not miss this book. This is a story that should be read by anyone who is a mother or who loves one.”
–Megan Whitson Lee, author of Suburban Dangers and the award-winning novel, Captives.
“Dana Romanin’s debut novel is a poignant tale of love and lives lost, and one girl’s attempt to keep what’s left of her family together, despite all the odds. A wonderful and thought-provoking read.”
–Diana Sharples, young adult author of Running Lean.
“Dana Romanin debuts on the YA scene with a heartfelt story of holding on, letting go, and growing up. I was immediately invested in the characters and was hooked from the beginning until the very end. Romanin has a fresh, authentic voice that delivers for YA readers of any age.”
–Nicole Quigley, award-winning author of Like Moonlight at Low Tide
Dana Romanin has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl pretending to be Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables). She used to write under a forsythia bush, but now she writes in a messy office that she shares with her sewing obsessed daughter.
Dana’s short story, The Silence of Sand, was chosen for adaptation into a short film performed by the Blue Man Group. Dana has also published short fiction for teens in Encounter—The Magazine and had a short story published in a Family Fiction anthology, The Story 2014. Her first novel, Abby’s Letters, releases in June 2017.
She lives in a small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with her wonderful husband, three beautiful kids, and a lot of persnickety pets.
You can find her blog and awkward videos on her website http://www.DanaRomanin.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@DanaRomanin) and her Facebook fan page (DanaRomaninAuthor).