Brigid Amos and her Path to Publication

Today I’m excited to host Brigid, a fellow Clean Reads author who has generously agreed to share her Path to Publication story. (And she’s a fellow Western/Historical fiction author!!!) Without further ado, here’s Brigid…


brigid-amos-headshotI’ve always wanted to be a writer, but never seemed to have a work schedule conducive to the long stretches of time needed to write a whole novel. In the mid-nineties, disillusioned with my career in science, I took a part time job in an independent bookstore in Grass Valley, California. I could barely support myself on the money I made there, but what I finally had was time to write. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, I wrote a young adult historical novel about a sixteen-year-old Missouri farm boy who travels west with a wagon train to make his fortune in the gold fields of the Sierra Foothills.  Then, as my husband likes to say, life intervened. I enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I worked in agricultural research for many years after receiving my Ph.D. My Gold Rush novel sat in a box in the basement, nearly forgotten.

But I hadn’t forgotten my desire to write. I joined a writers group in Lincoln, and resumed working on a second novel that I had started before leaving California. My second novel was set in the gold mining town of Bodie, California and focused on a fourteen-year-old girl struggling to keep her family intact. But again, I made scant progress. Unlike my job at the bookstore, a full time research position, combined with teaching duties at two different universities, was hardly the “writer’s life.” I know there are dedicated and prolific writers who somehow work demanding jobs, but I was not one of those. I needed time again.

Finally, I left my work at the university. At the same time, my parents, who lived in Alabama, were facing one health crisis after another. I found myself traveling back and forth between Nebraska and Alabama, fitting in writing whenever possible. Eventually, I moved my parents to Nebraska in 2013, and while their care consumes much of my time, I finally was able to complete my second novel.

I wasted a huge about of time and energy trying to market my first Gold Rush novel to literary agents. While they often praised my writing, they would usually say it just wasn’t for them. I honestly think that it is very difficult to get a literary agent if they think your book will not be a huge bestseller. This is understandable, as they make their money by taking a commission from the author’s royalties. Just as I was giving up on my first book, I took a workshop with Nebraska author Karen Gettert Shoemaker. She shared with us her similar frustration with finding an agent, and said she finally decided to submit her novel directly to publishers who accepted submissions directly from authors. I followed this approach with my second novel A Fence Around Her. The first publisher I sent it to, Clean Reads Publishing, accepted it. So I am now a published author. I plan to dig out my first novel, dust it off (literally!), and send it to my publisher. (Just kidding! I’ll submit a digital copy.) To any writer weary of rejections from literary agents, don’t despair. There are many paths to publication these days, one of which is to send a manuscript directly to a publisher.


Can a girl break free from her mother’s past?

Having a mother with a past is never easy. For Ruthie Conoboy it becomes the struggle of a lifetime in 1900, the year Tobias Mortlock arrives in the gold mining town of Bodie, California. Ruthie is suspicious of this stranger, but her trusting father gives him a job in the stamp mill. Soon, Ruthie suspects that her mother and Mortlock have become more than friends. Can Ruthie stop this man from destroying her family?

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About Brigid Amos:

Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. A produced playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the board of the Angels Theatre Company. She is also an active member of Women Writing the West and the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart behind in the California Gold Country, most of it is in Lincoln, Nebraska where she currently lives with her husband.


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