I would like to start off by thanking Kate for hosting me…again.
Now, let’s get to Transformation Tuesday.
As a writer, signing that first deal can be a daunting, herculean task…but if you think your work is done once there, you are utterly mistaken. Sure, there are those writers who strike it rich with their debut novel, publishers begging and fighting for their next work, but for most authors that’s not the case. It’s a long journey to that bestseller list.
And I learned that writing and publishing The Language of Silence. I didn’t have an agent when I signed my fist deal for my dystopian series, The Lost Souls (Chosen Ones, Naturals, and Creators). I took a chance on a small publisher, and that small publisher took a chance on me. With my series coming to a close and after acquiring an agent, I decided to go on the dreaded submission with my new YA Contemporary. It was a roller coaster of emotions. My agent and I were pretty lucky. We got full requests from pretty much every major publisher we contacted. But over and over again we got turned down: the book is too dark, the voice is too different, we already have something like this on our list. And so we decided to pull it and go back to the drawing board. I was pretty heartbroken because I LOVED this story. Sure, it was all the things the editors said: dark and different. But I felt like it was a story that needed to be told. After sitting on it for awhile, I decided to return to the world of the small publisher.
Sure, you won’t get that huge signing bonus. And it will require a lot of promotional work on your part….but there is a freedom that comes with working with smaller publishing houses. They allow you to really own your work, respecting your voice and your choices. And by doing this, you really get to know yourself as an author and really perfect your skill, discovering the stories you want to tell. So, I could have let The Language of Silence fade away, but it meant too much to me as a writer. It may not be perfect, but it’s the story I decided to tell at this time in my career. I won’t make millions off of it, but I am damn proud of it, and I’d take every risk to stay true to my craft.
Excerpt from The Language of Silence:
“How’d your mom tell you?” Brett offers a short, bitter laugh in response. I scratch my chin and shake my head. “That good, eh?”
“You would think she was auditioning for a Lifetime movie or something.”
For some reason, I laugh. Brett smiles. An actual smile. The kind of smile that transforms a face. If she was beautiful before, she’s luminescent now. These sorts of moments are so rare, so precious, I feel both a need to forever stay in this place and flee it as soon as possible.
I’ve always had a crush on Brett Jensen. I’ve just been smart enough to know that I’m too messed up to ever be with her. And now, with Tristan gone, I’m pretty sure I’m damn near done. Ruined. And maybe that’s what I deserve for not convincing him to stay with us.
“Maybe she thinks Julia Roberts will play her,” she continues, pulling at the grass growing up between the cement base of the bridge. “I mean, this has movie written all over it. All-American boy dies under mysterious conditions.”
Oh, Brett. There is no mystery about it. He left us.
“More likely some has-been from one of those medical shows,” I say instead.
Brett nods. Suddenly, her hand is on mine. I feel the tension she is holding within herself by the pressure she exerts onto my skin. My cheeks burn, and I am ashamed by my body’s quick reaction to this small movement.
“You can be whatever you want now, Ed,” she whispers.
I try to pull my hand from her grasp, but she merely holds on tighter. “What are you talking about?” I manage.
“You have a get out of jail free card thanks to Tristan. You could skip school for a week or flunk the whole year, and no one could say anything. You are…were the best friend of the dead kid. Who would give you grief? You could become anyone.”
She’s holding on so tightly to my hand that I begin to lose feeling. I let her words sink in. Settle. And the funny thing is—they make sense. Perfect sense. I know how I am going to deal with all of this.
About the Author: Tiffany Truitt received her MA in literature from Old Dominion University. Her debut Chosen Ones, first in the Lost Souls trilogy, is a searing look at what it means to be other and how we define humanity, as well as a celebration of the dangerously wonderful feeling of falling in love.