In this regular blog feature, authors tell the story of how they first published. Below, Christian suspense author Dianna T. Benson tells “How I Published My First Book.” And we definitely have to say first, because there are many more published books following close on its heels! It’s so interesting how different all these first publication stories are. In Dianna’s case, opportunity has been beating down her door–even, thankfully, after a family health issue could have caused her career to come to a screeching halt. Here’s my interview with Dianna.
What was your first published novel?
The Hidden Son, Book One in the Cayman Islands Trilogy
Was it a traditional publishing contract or did you go indie? How did that come about?
I signed with my first agent in 2007. Six agents offered me representation that spring; it was a difficult choice between them since all six are top-notch. In the fall of 2007, a film agent requested a screenplay of The Hidden Son after reading the book. In early 2009, just before I completed the script, the film agent suddenly retired due to health issues; I never pursued anything further with the script.
Later in 2009, I received a four-book contract offer, but turned it down to focus on my young family of five since my husband had just been diagnosed with head and neck cancer. In 2011, I won the Genesis. In 2012, I signed with a new agent; within days I had a contract offer from B&H, a large traditional publisher. That contract was pending for thirteen weeks due to the publishing house facing difficulties (less than a year later they permanently discontinued their fiction department). Due to my Genesis win, Ellechor Publishing House, a small traditional publishing house, contacted me and requested I submit to them. Within days, they offered me a nine-book contract.
How did this make you feel? Has it been as good as you expected, or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?
Soon after my first book released, my belief was confirmed—I write novels because of my love of writing. Being a novelist is a solitary life, and frustrating when the writing isn’t going well, plus the business side of the publishing industry is a draining muse killer, but I love creating characters and storytelling with suspense plotlines; it’s as natural to me as breathing. Every career has good and bad. As a novelist, I accept the bad and enjoy the good. It’s a wonderful thing to receive fan mail praising me and highly complimenting my book—it makes all the bad so worth it since I’m not just writing for my pleasure; I’m writing for others’ entertainment.
Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.
My second novel, Final Trimester, released June 23; it’s Book One in the Quigley Triplets Trilogy. (From RG: Here’s a bit about Final Trimester):
Paramedic Jodi Duncan recognizes the work of a serial killer before the Myrtle Beach PD even suspects a connection between the deaths of two pregnant women. Despite the vast differences in the two cases, Jodi urges Detective Nate Quigley to think outside the box. After digging deep into the separate investigations, Nate finds no evidence to support a serial killer theory, and he warns Jodi to back off police business, which only fuels her passion for the cases.
When a third pregnant woman is murdered, Nate is named lead detective on the case and works to link the deaths in order to unmask and stop the serial murderer, a disturbed man who believes God and the devil battle inside his head to bend him according to their wills. As he fights both voices, his interest fixates on Jodi when he discovers her obsession with ending his rampage.
I’m currently finishing up revisions on my third novel, Persephone’s Fugitive, Book Two in the Cayman Islands Trilogy, which releases March 16, 2015. The other six books in my contract will release every 9-12 months after that.
Where can we find your books, Dianna?
My releases are available wherever books are sold. Below are the links to Final Trimester at the three largest booksellers:
Dianna T. Benson is an International Best-Seller and a 2014 Selah Award Winner, a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010 Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, she signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House. She’s the author of The Hidden Son, her debut novel. Final Trimester is her second and newest release.
After majoring in communications and a ten-year career as a travel agent, Dianna left the travel industry to earn her EMS degree. An EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative since 2005, she loves the adrenaline rush of responding to medical emergencies and helping people in need, often in their darkest time in life.
Dianna lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children.
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