Monday, November 3, 2014

My First Time: Andrew Eddy

My First Time is a regular feature in which writers talk about virgin experiences in their writing and publishing careers, ranging from their first rejection to the moment of holding their first published book in their hands.  Today’s guest is Andrew Eddy, author of Revontuli, a novel which depicts one of the last untold stories of World War II: the burning of the Finnmark, a land above the Arctic Circle where Norway and Finland meet.  Andrew conducted extensive research to write Revontuli, including traveling to the Finnmark.  He was born in Vancouver, Canada and grew up in Western Quebec and in the Gulf Islands, where he developed an appreciation for nature and became hooked on a rural lifestyle.  He has also lived in Paris, Burgundy, Montreal, Knowlton, and Leiden.  In 2010, he found a home with his family in Simiane-la-Rotonde, in the hills of Provence, where he farms an ancient grain called einkorn, indulges his passion for history, and prepares his next travels.  Andrew is married and has five children.  Click here to visit his website.

My First of Many Firsts

In 2009, after several years of writing and re-writing, I finished the manuscript of my “first” book, a spy thriller called The Strange Men.  It occurred to me that I knew nothing of publishing, so I signed up for the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, where I figured I would meet an agent, and probably also an editor, sign a contract and get my book published (in a few months).  I had after all just completed my first novel, and was sure that I had done the most difficult thing in my life.  The sense of accomplishment was astounding, and I had absolutely no idea of the challenges that lay ahead.

SFWC was a watershed event for me–it opened me up to the world of publishing.  Oh so different from that of writing!  I made friends that have become my writing companions in an on-line writer’s group I founded that very year.  And I struck out with every agent I was fortunate enough to meet at SFWC.

I came back in 2010, most of my next novel completed (in four years’ less time), ready to find an agent that would believe in me and bring my book to the market.  I had already met her at SFWC 2009.  She was eager to read Revontuli, a love story set in the Finnmark, in far Northern Norway, during WWII.  By May, I had an agent, and felt I was on top of the world.

Almost two years later, I came back a third time.  Despite many leads, Revontuli was still unpublished, and I had only heartbreaking rejection letters from editors and publishers that loved my story but would not make it their book.  Finally, in early 2013 my agent found a publisher and Revontuli would become my new “first” book.  It was published by Booktrope Editions in Seattle in November 2013.  It’s selling well on Amazon, has 59 mostly five-star reviews, and is actually on bookshelves in a dozen bookstores in North America and Europe.  I’ve done my first book reading–exhilarating!–and my first book club meeting.  I’ve even had my first-ever book signing flop, a joint event with another author where the only books we sold we sold to each other.

As I put the final touches on the next manuscript and get ready to send it off to the woman I hope will remain my first and only agent, I’m hoping my third book is my first break-out novel success.  The Miller’s Curse, an unconventional love story, is set in Provence in 1900.

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