Although I’m a published author, I wasn’t always. Once upon a time, I was a Chemical/Patent Librarian, an Art Librarian, an Archivist, and . . . a wedding gown designer. It wasn’t until I had my twins, and left my librarian and dress-making worlds behind me, that I started searching for my next creative outlet with a book by Julia Cameron called The Artists Way.
In her book, Ms. Cameron offers different exercises to help uncover “stuck” artists. I wasn’t stuck as much as shifting gears. My life had changed, and I was ready for something new. One of the exercises in the book is daily journaling which I’ve always found more of a chore than a way of freeing my mind. So instead of a diary, I bought an artist’s notebook with thick paper that could handle markers and rubber cement. Then I started my visual journal–a book where you add photos, draw pictures, etc. to the page and write around the images. It suited my need for visual representation.
After nine months, I re-read what I’d cut, pasted, and written about and realized that I wanted to be a writer. This exercise of visual journaling gave me a literal vision of a potential future. The only problem was I’d no idea how to write anything other than grant requests and thank you notes. I’d always told stories to myself, and to others, but since I didn’t know how to write a book, I thought I’d bring the ideas in my head to life visually. So I swallowed my fear and kept up the visual journal. If this is what I was supposed to do, then I figured my muse would meet me half-way.
Then the learning years started. I was still unsure about what I should write about and where to find the creative well for this endeavor. Writing was so different than designing and sewing, and I was lost. One day, as I was in a writing craft session taught by Jenny Crusie, she mentioned her “Girls in the Basement”, aka muses, and how when she needed to contact them, she’d build a collage. Remembering my visual journal, I thought “I’ll contact my muse visually too!” So I bought posterboard and more rubber cement and magazines and made collages of all of the books in my head. It helped me figure out what I really wanted to write about. Too bad I still didn’t know how!
As the years went on, I kept learning and writing. I wrote a new manuscript every year followed by more rejections. Then a friend of mine mentioned Pinterest and how it was digital version of my visual journals and my collages. Intrigued, I joined Pinterest and rebuilt my collages for all of my books, keeping my new boards secret, of course.
More years went on and, twelve and a half years after I started writing, I sold three books to Sourcebooks in my Deadly Force Romantic Suspense series. My first book, Every Deep Desire, comes out March 6 (in a few weeks!) and I just turned in revisions on book 2. And one of my marketing/promo things on my to-do list was to clean up my Pinterest board.
As I was getting ready to make the board public, I pulled out my old visual journal and collage for this story and was shocked at how many similarities there were between the original themes, colors, and ideas that ended up in the finished book–a book that was revised many, many times. Even though I’ve been working on this series for years, my “Girls in the Basement” were busy guiding me even though I’d no idea at the time what the end product would be. If I’d known, maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying.
Then again, maybe not. LOL.
Every Deep Desire is a contemporary Romantic Suspense re-telling and redemption of Romeo and Juliet. After a metaphorical death–the demise of Rafe and Juliet’s young marriage–the lovers are held apart not just by their families, but by a vicious arms dealer, a secret army of assassins who speak in Shakespearean verse, and a group of ex-Green Berets who believe the hero is a traitor.
Rafe Montfort is taking it all back
His honor, his freedom, and the woman he loves
Rafe Montfort was a decorated Green Beret, the best of the best, until a disastrous mission and an unforgivable betrayal destroyed his life. Now, this deadly soldier has returned to the sultry Georgia swamps to reunite with his brothers, and take back all he lost. But Juliet must never know the truth behind what he’s done…or the dangerous secret that threatens to take him from her forever.
It took Juliet Capel eight long years to put her life back together after her husband was taken from her. Now Rafe is back, determined to protect her at any cost, and it’s not just her heart that’s in danger. The swamps hold a secret long buried and far deadlier than either of them could have imagined…
So just in time for my debut in a few weeks, here is a link to my Every Deep Desire Pinterest Board.
Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes novels of suspense, adventure, and love. The author of the Romantic Suspense Deadly Force Series, her debut book Every Deep Desire releases on March 6, 2018 and is still available for pre-order.