It all started with an anthology. I was working as director of public relations for the Tennessee Arts Commission at the time and my assignment was to promote this new book of short stories by Tennessee writers. As I read the book, I started feeling the need to write a story of my own. Something deep involving sweet tea and front porches.
Instead I wrote a short story called The Gymnasium Memorial. It was about a bunch of teens mourning the death of a fellow student. It was published in one of those scam publications that pays you in free copies if you “win” a fake contest. But the bug had already bitten. I wanted to write a book.
My first inclination was to write young adult. I’d spent my teen years reading YA books and they still weighed heavily on my mind. I wrote three books before I learned that there was no market for YA at the time—unless you wanted to be paid $1,000 to ghostwrite a Sweet Valley High or Nancy Drew book. I began searching for something that had that same youthful spirit but actually occupied space on bookshelves.
The answer was in category romance. Those books, which at the time were published under two major names (Harlequin and Silhouette), were extremely popular. Harlequin had a new romantic comedy line called Love and Laughter, while Silhouette had a fun line called Yours Truly. I knew then that romantic comedy was my niche.
I spent years trying to get published—I even got “close” a few times. I learned “close” doesn’t mean a thing in publishing. Meanwhile, chick lit came and went and in its wake, romantic comedy was no longer welcome in traditional publishing. But the good news was, children’s literature exploded…opening publishers up to the very types of books that I’d always wanted to write.
My writing journey is an example of the winding path many writers take on the way to publication. Everyone’s experience is different, but one thing is certain: all of us are doing exactly what we want to do. Whether we’re publishing our third book or writing “the end” on the first novel we’ve ever written, it’s important to celebrate every second of it. There’s nothing better.
And the Cover Reveal of Stephanie's new book out in 2016
Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.
Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.
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