I am again submitting my novel, “Mental,” for publication. The first round of submissions, around twenty, took place in May. I am using AUTHOR.me, an engine that repopulates matching publishers each time you submit because I don’t know much about publishing companies that are medium-large, who publish literary fiction (which is my genre) on my own. I have had a few offers from medium-sized firms, one located in downtown Manhattan, but these were offers where I would either have to do a lot of the work myself or pay a fee to get published. These weren’t the real deal.
I am holding out for a traditional, big fish publisher that will assign me my own editor, do the marketing and advertising for me, and give me tens of thousands of dollars and an extensive, all-expenses paid book tour! Why not? Gotta dream large to live large and have a significant audience to entertain, right? How will my words be remembered for the ages everywhere if I don’t land a contract with a large, traditional publisher, get on TV and garner an audience pool to write my third novel for?
I am thinking of ways to change up my pitch to reach mainstream, traditional publishers. There’s still a chance that some publishers from Round 1 are still considering this novel for publication because the turnaround time after a submission is around 3 months. However, I am in deep thought about how to promote this novel more successfully in a submission so that at least this website is clicked on and at least I spark some interest.
“Mental,” a tongue-in-cheek title for this serious novel, is a tale I started during my senior year of high school. I have been working on this difficult novel off and on for 23 years! On the surface, “Mental” is a novel about two twins, Lilly and Evelyn, as Evelyn finishes college early to start teaching high school English and then proceeds to have a total nervous breakdown and can’t figure out why. Lilly, the narrator, goes through the events of Eve’s life one by one as she pens the novel for a college workshop class, trying to figure out which event(s) caused the nervous breakdown. This main character, Eve, processes her current life experiences with friends, a boyfriend and her suicidality while busy in therapy and after quitting her perfect teaching position.
Eve finally understands that her breakdown wasn’t caused by leaving school early or being a high school English teacher at the age of 20, but rather by the troubling self-revelations of what her father really did do to her during her parents’ divorce which happened while she was a senior in high school. She realizes there are events from that year, an event in particular which she remembers as a nightmare, that really happened and she works to get her memory back so she can accept the incest experiences of her past in order to continue working on becoming a happy, well-adjusted adult who has the capacity to move forward without sticking points or an unhealthy mindset.
“Mental” is written in magic realism style, one found in Lewis Carroll’s “Through The Looking Glass” and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” The novel is full of dream sequences, mystical experiences, a running metered poem, and a novel within a novel. [Read: I have inserted “Leaves Subsiding (2010), self-published, in the middle of this second novel because they both deal with the same themes.]
My writing style can be described as a journalist who is looking inward. In my teens and twenties, I was a serious journalist who got into, but did not attend because of a lack of scholarship money, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, arguably rated the best program for journalism in the world and an Ivy. By then, I was hard at work on this novel, and the writing which was pouring out was about my difficult though seeming perfect childhood, my serious boyfriends, my mental illness. I had already begun writing about these topics with deadly serious intent, and people reading these early drafts could tell…
You are supposed to write about what you know, after all, and the thing I know best with the most certainty is me and my life experiences. So, I take straight from my life, even dialogue people in my life really said, and approach this content like a critical journalist. I’ve never read a book written like this, to such an extreme degree, and my husband doesn’t like it because he is a private person who doesn’t want his personal life splashed all over the pages of a book or the blog posts of this website. (Rest assured, Chris McCurry–your personal feelings are no longer a part of this website, but you will be featured in my third novel about marriage, our marriage! You knew I wrote this way before we married!)
I must warn you, “Mental” is written graphically yet tastefully in parts and is full of my personal and family secrets. This novel deals with themes like finding and losing first love; having a creative dream and doing whatever you can to make it come true; being and interacting with society’s outcasts; dissociation, what it really feels like to have a serious breakdown, a suicide attempt and psychiatric hospital stay; dysfunctional families, lifelong friendships, drug use, sex; and, how to pull yourself together and deal with ugly truths so you can come out on the other side intact. It also has great flow and beautiful turns of phrase. If you are interested, you can read a few chapters of “Get Over It” on this homepage link. Happy Reading!
Pursue Your Dreams–It’ll Make You Whole!
Think Big! Write Bigger!