Brief History of Desiree Finkbeiner’s writing:
I’ve been writing and illustrating since grade school. My mother had kept dozens of my little books in her keepsake chest, and we got them out a few years ago to share a laugh. Though, in the beginning I was more interested in art and poetry, entering my work in shows and contests. I won certificates and awards all through grade school, middle school and high school but most of them were for my art.
I wrote my first middle-grade, fantasy chapter book at age 12, called ‘Trail Of Faith’. It was a high fantasy about four friends who were separated by a “saprin wind” (similar to a tornado, but it sucked each of them through a portal into other realms). The story was about their journey back to find one another. I had intended to seek publication for it back then, but I had written it on my father’s old Tandy1000 computer, with a DOS operating system, and lost the entire work when the system crashed. It was 30,000 words and I was devastated because I had not backed it up on a floppy.
Discouraged, I didn’t write another ‘novel’ until I was 17. It was called ‘Us and Them’, an urban fantasy about vampires that I never showed to anyone. In high school I wrote a lot of short stories and published my own little magazine full of poetry and skits. I was inspired by a creative writing teacher who really sparked my love for writing.
I took several more writing courses in college and always looked forward to hearing encouraging comments from my professors, but since I was an art major, I focused more on building my portfolio and playing music with my rock band than writing. Though I did publish quite a bit of poetry in college, the writing bug didn’t really bite me until after college.
I had given up music to run a business and start a family, writing a little in my spare time as I sold and licensed my art. But writing inspiration didn’t hit me again until after I had divorced an abusive man that seemed to kill my desire for creativity. I remarried and found such happiness that writing came to me easily. First, I wrote a biography documenting my life as a battered wife (to get it all out of my system) and once I felt purged of the hurt, I was finally able to write again.
In 2010, I wrote a 155,000 word novel called, ‘The Establishment’ and shopped it around but got nothing but rejections. One publisher asked for the full manuscript but finally decided against it. It was a political thriller/urban fantasy. I set it on the backburner trying to figure out how I could improve character development and overcoming my plotting issues.
So I took another creative writing course at the local college to force myself to form better habits. The critique group there really helped me build confidence and broke me of some really bad habits. The following winter, I wrote the first book in the Ethos series. Within a couple weeks of sending it out to publishers, I had three offers on the book!
All that hard work and studying finally paid off.
It wasn’t until I married my wonderful husband, Carl, that I found the courage to really pursue my writing as a career. And though I don’t think he’s ever read a book cover to cover in his life, he has really encouraged me to do whatever makes me happy.
So my advice to aspiring writers is this… avoid people who do not lift you up as an artist/writer. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are, who will be happy when you have small victories. People who constantly criticize your attempts to become great, will never achieve anything, because they aren’t willing to strive for greatness themselves. Keep writing!
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