by Tamera Alexander
As far back as I can remember I’ve loved history. When I was nine years old my family took a trip to Europe. It was a fabulous experience. Touring the castles in Germany was a defining moment for me, though I didn’t know it then. I remember standing in one particular castle on the Rhine River, touching the stone walls, and thinking to myself that I wished I could know the lives and details of the people who had lived there. When I was older I read a ton of Regencies, and when I studied American History in high school, I fell in love with the American Frontier 1840-1880s. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I’ve always loved writing but never seriously considered writing as a career until recent years when God unearthed the love of writing again.
The first novel I wrote in 1999 is one I targeted specifically for Bethany House Publishers (BHP) and their historical line. It got to the final review board but then was ultimately “passed over” in early 2002. There were problems in that novel and in my writing that needed major work, so BHP was wise to let that manuscript slip through their fingers. After that experience, I realized that if I was going to have a good shot at being a serious writer, I needed to get serious about learning the craft of writing and in addressing the weaknesses in my writing.
I joined American Christian Fiction Writers and began dissecting novels—books that I’d loved and read multiple times—with the goal of finding out what made them ‘tick’ for me. I also asked God to bring people into my life who would help me become a better writer by telling me what I needed to change, how I needed to grow. And He did.
The Inheritance (Women of Faith Fiction) is actually my first novel that was rejected—several times. After receiving numerous rejections, I put the novel away and spent subsequent years learning how to write. Then I started on a brand new story. But when Thomas Nelson approached me about writing the first historical for Women of Faith Fiction, I immediately thought of this novel, still tucked away in my drawer and within me.
The Inheritance is a complete rewrite of that original manuscript. I literally chucked the old manuscript (it had way too many issues), and I wrote the story again with where I was at that current point in my life and in where I was at that point skill-wise. I added some new subplots and new characters, but the hero and heroine remained much the same. It was wonderful to revisit these characters—Wyatt Caradon and McKenna Ashford—and to see their story finally come to life. And to the printed page.
So, fellow writers, if you’ve gotten rejected manuscripts stuffed in desk drawers, don’t lose heart. And don’t toss them. It could be that that rejection isn’t God saying “Never.” But rather, “Just not right now.” I blogged on Rejection’s Silver Lining on my blog.
Tamera Alexander is the bestselling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, and From a Distance and Beyond This Moment, all novels of bestselling historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Tamera's The Inheritance, the first historical for the WOMEN OF FAITH fiction line (Thomas Nelson Publishers), released in March 2009 and joined her other books on the bestseller lists. She and her husband, Joe, make their home in Nashville, Tennessee with their two adult children who live near by. To learn more, visit Tamera’s Web site and her blog. Within My Heart released October 1, 2009.