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When Stubborn is a Good Thing

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In my German family, the term “Stubborn German” gets tossed around a lot, sometimes in a lovey-dovey kind of way. But it’s mostly uttered through clenched teeth because said “Stubborn German” isn’t giving in and doing things our way.

Over the years, though, as I’ve pursued this dream of fiction writing, I’ve found stubborn can be a good thing, even a necessary thing. Without that deep-seated, dogged determination I find so annoying in beloved family members, I would have quit and pursued another career long ago.

Back in 2004, I thought my time had finally come. I’d been writing for about six years, had acquired towering stacks of rejection letters, but finally, finally, I sold a story–one I loved, absolutely loved. I worked with a freelance editor, Ramona Richards–who loved the story too. We smoothed out some “edgy” parts while I happily deposited the publisher’s advance check.

But several months before release, the publisher said they still had concerns about the story. Ramona and I toned it down some more. But then they said unless I changed some key elements, they couldn’t publish it. I was stunned. Ramona and I both felt that making the changes they wanted would take the heart and soul out of the story. How could I? After some serious soul-searching, I realized I couldn’t.

The contract was nixed. I was crushed.

I had an agent by then who said not to worry; we’d sell it elsewhere. Which he tried to do–for the next year. Nobody wanted Angel Falls.

As my frustration grew, he suggested I write another book. But when I sent it to him, he wasn’t sure he could sell a gator-trapping heroine to Midwestern readers. We parted amiably–he’s a great guy and a great agent–and I took up crying as a part-time job.

Family and financial issues finally forced me out of bed and I decided to try something new. I became a boat captain–and loved it! Still do. It gives me a chance to get outside on the water and provides my regular people-fix, too.

But at heart, I’m a writer. I didn’t write a word for several years. I couldn’t.

Eventually, though, the stories called me back and I decided I could take risks again. TRAPPED! is the story of my gator-trapping heroine, which I sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008. Then in 2009, I had the chance to write the screenplay for the movie, Catch of a Lifetime, which is available now. I’ve completed several other manuscripts since then, but Angel Falls has always been the book of my heart.

In 2010, I saw that Ramona had taken a job at Abingdon Press. The same day I contacted her, she said she’d been thinking about me and Angel Falls. I was blown away…and humbled that she remembered this story after all this time. (Do you know how many manuscripts an editor reads on a regular basis??)

Another 1 1/2 years went by while she championed this story with Abingdon Press. (She’s determined, too!) Then I got an email from her that began: “I know you thought this day would never come…”

The paperwork is done and I’m thrilled to say that Angel Falls is scheduled for release in March 2013– TEN YEARS after I first started writing it.

I can’t wait to take you to Brazil and introduce you to Regina–my switchblade-toting orphanage director who will do anything to protect “her” kids. And Brooks–a big, scary burned-out Army Ranger who never wants to protect anyone again. Together these two damaged, courageous people will risk everything to save one small child–and find hope and healing along the way.

If you are discouraged today and your dreams seem impossibly out of reach, I hope this will encourage you. Never, ever, ever, EVER give up on the dreams God has planted in your heart. His timing may not be ours, but it’s always perfect.

Thanks so much for celebrating with me!

And if you have your own “stubborn” story, I’d love to hear it!

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    The Conversation

  1. Congratulations! I’m the same way. I write what I love, not what seems to be popular in the current market. I had a lot of trouble getting my first romance, a Civil War time travel, published, but The Wild Rose Press contracted Erin’s Rebel. The reward was great reviews, as well a being a finalist in a published writers’ contest. My journey wasn’t as long as yours with that book, but it went through a couple of complete revisions before finally finding a home. I had to put it aside and work on something else and almost gave up on it. So glad I didn’t. And I continue to write what I love. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

  2. What an inspiring tale of perseverance. You go, girl.

  3. That’s an amazing story, Connie. Guess it’s a case of ‘Just get on with it’ and maybe even ‘Never ,say Never!’ Congratulations on it getting published!

  4. Susan Mason says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, Connie. I’ve been writing for over 10 years and know in my heart that one day I will be published. In the meantime, it keeps the hope alive reading stories like yours. One day, I’ll have my stubborn story too!

    Cheers,
    Sue

  5. Carol Post says:

    Connie,
    Loved your story. I can so relate. I began writing in the mid-90’s, wrote a book, got rejected, quit for a few years, wrote another book, got rejected, quit for a few years. Then I wrote my third book and discovered and joined RWA and my local chapter, along with Faith-Hope-Love in 2010 and decided I was going to stick with the dream God had given me. January 27 this year, I got the call that Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense is going to publish that third book, and on March 26, I found that it had finaled in the Golden Heart. So I’m with you–never, never, EVER give up on your dream.
    Carol

  6. What a story! I love how you stuck with it and it has turned out awesomely! Thanks for sharing, Connie, and congrats!!

  7. Great post, Connie. I’m so glad Regina and Brooks are finally having their day, even if it did take a decade for that to happen. Love edgy heroes and heroines, and I thank you so much for sharing this. Even some of us who do have a stubborn gene sometimes need that extra kick to keep us going, and this was definitely the day when I needed to hear your story.

    • Connie Mann says:

      Darcy, I am so glad my story encouraged you–right when you needed to hear it!! That’s what it’s all about! Thanks so much!

      Keep going. Don’t quit!!!

  8. Ruth says:

    I’m so excited for you, and I cannot wait to read ‘Angel Falls’! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.

  9. […] I’ve been doing lots of planning for the March release of my new book, Angel Falls. I’m super excited. But preparation requires some mental housecleaning. It means, gulp, peeking […]

  10. Brenda says:

    Connie,
    Just wanted to add another “thank you” for this post. I hope my stubborn German background will help me when I finally get around to submitting something. Someone once told me (or perhaps I read it), you have to have the skin of an armadillo to be a writer. Rejection is one of my biggest fears. That’s why your article, “Today’s One Thing” really spoke to me. I have to be willing to take that first step-actually submitting something, and trust God to do with it what he wants.

    I need to remember that simply being obedient to Him is my responsibility, what happens with the writing submission is His.

    Keep writing. You are an inspiration for all writers, especially those of us who struggle with many of the same things as you do.

    • Connie Mann says:

      Hi Brenda, I am so glad the post encouraged you! That is always my goal: to encourage people to take that next step. So go for it–send that project out there! It’s scary, but you’ll be glad you did! I hope you’ll let me know how it goes.

  11. […] I am living proof that plodding along, one word, one paragraph, one chapter at a time will eventually get you where you want to go. (For more on the story behind Angel Falls, check out When Stubborn is a Good Thing.) […]

  12. […] As most of you know, my new romantic suspense, AngelFalls, releases in just a few days. After a ten-year journey to get here, I admit I’m equal parts terrified and excited. (If you’d like to know more, please read my post, When Stubborn is a Good Thing) […]