Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How a quirky little beach read was born from the ashes of rejection by Tawna Fenske

My journey to publication was sometimes bumpy.

That’s a bit like saying strippers occasionally dress provocatively.

The short version of the story is that I wrote a couple crappy novels before selling a book to Harlequin’s “Bombshell” line in 2005. Then my editor called—on my 32nd birthday, the same day my cat died and I was told I’d be fired from my job for disobeying the company’s pantyhose requirement—to inform me the line was being cancelled a month before my scheduled debut. I spent the next several years cycling through an agent that didn’t quite work out and writing manuscripts that almost-but-didn’t-quite sell.

When my agent landed me a three-book deal for my romantic comedies in 2010, the joy was somewhat dampened by the fact that my marriage of 13 years crashed and burned that year like a short-circuited vibrator hurled angrily at the bedroom wall.

*cue the violins*

It’s okay, I don’t need sympathy. I’m doing great now, with multiple published books at three different publishing houses, awesome feedback like a nomination for Contemporary Romance of the Year from RT Book Reviews and cool publications like the Chicago Tribune not only spelling my name right, but writing things like, “Fenske's wildly inventive plot & wonderfully quirky characters provide the perfect literary antidote to any romance reader's summer reading doldrums.”

I’m also in a pretty amazing relationship with an awesome guy, so like I said—it’s all good.

Well, sorta.

See, the thing about writing is that it’s rarely a straightforward trajectory from typing “the end” and eating bon-bons while a shirtless male model gives you a piggyback ride to the party celebrating your #1 slot on the New York Times bestseller list. There are bumps and bruises along the way, and if you’re lucky, you’re able to see them as learning experiences instead of reasons to hide under your bed rocking back and forth and humming “I’m a Little Teapot.”

Take my new novella, Eat, Play, Lust, for example. Wanna know how that story came about?

The novel I'd written as the third in my three-book romantic comedy contract with Sourcebooks was deemed excellent, but "not the right next book for your career." My editor and I were struggling to see eye-to-eye on what the right next book would be, and I was frustrated, exhausted, and—I’ll admit it—as close as I’ve ever been to throwing in the towel.

“You need to take a break and write something fun,” my agent told me. “Something to remind you why you started writing in the first place.”

She suggested I try my hand at a short novella for Entangled’s Flirt line. “Just 10,000 to 15,000 words,” she coaxed. “You can do that.”

So I sat down and thought about the things that make me happiest. Gourmet cooking. Yoga. Standup paddleboarding. Tater Tots. Sex. Men with facial hair. Sunshine. Risqué humor.

I smushed it all together and took off running with a story about a yoga instructor with secret cravings and a hot gourmet chef with a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. The story flowed easily, and I finished Eat, Play, Lust in record time. More importantly, I found myself in love with the writing process again.

So that’s the behind-the-scenes story of how a lighthearted romantic comedy novella was born from the ashes of something not all that lighthearted or comedic.

Questions about my writing journey or general sanity? Leave ‘em in the comments, and I’ll be happy to answer!

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Eat, Play, Lust
Tawna Fenske

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, Flirt Imprint

Date of Publication: 8/26/13

ISBN: 978-1-62266-245-6

Number of pages: 57

Book Description:

Cami Pressman is a yoga instructor with a lifelong secret love of junk food. Not even an irresistible man can replace the mouthwatering wickedness of her favorite foods.

Until, that is, Paul Hammond signs up for her class. He’s a gourmet chef looking to score some fitness tips, and a date with Cami. Suddenly Cami’s lust for junk food isn’t the only thing making her tingle.

When this sinful chef and hot yoga teacher eat, play, and lust together, they just might bring their obsession to a new level.

* Tawna will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Eat, Play, Lust to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.

About the Author:

Tawna Fenske traveled a career path that took her from newspaper reporter to English teacher in Venezuela to marketing geek to PR manager for her city’s tourism bureau. An avid globetrotter and social media fiend, Tawna is the author of the popular blog, Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing, and a member of Romance Writers of America.

She lives with her gentleman friend in Bend, Oregon, where she’ll invent any excuse to hike, bike, snowshoe, float the river, or sip beer along the Bend Ale Trail. She’s published several romantic comedies with Sourcebooks, including Making Waves and Believe it or Not, as well as the interactive fiction caper, Getting Dumped, with Coliloquy.

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1 comment:

Eva Millien said...

Thanks for sharing Eat Play Lust and the giveaway. Sounds like a great book. evamillien at gmail dot com