Today I am hosting a fellow Rebel. Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy.
I asked Lee Ann how she came to be a published author. Here’s her story!
My Back Story as A Writer
From the time I was in elementary school I dreamed of becoming an author. I read with a voracious appetite, everything from Laura Ingalls Wilder to Louisa Mae Alcott. In fifth grade, I began writing a novel in the back of my blue binder, a story set in the Civil War south. It reflected my own enthusiasm and love for Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind and I called my Magnus opus Good-bye Dixie. Although my father applauded my efforts, my early attempt at novel remained in the desk drawer, a conversation piece and testament to my dreams.
Fast forward through my life, through high school and college, to a career in broadcast radio and discover my first serious efforts at writing. I published a few articles, a handful of short stories in various journals but dreamed of becoming an author. I married, had twins, and became a full-time stay at home mother. My husband encouraged my dreams but the early years of our marriage were focused on the girls, my twin daughters Emily and Megan, now seventeen. By the time my son came along, I wrote daily and he grew up watching Mom type on a keyboard in between everything else.
Somewhere between the bottles and diapers, however, I wrote a few things and when the girls were two, I had an epiphany. I realized if I didn’t start a novel soon, I might never make the attempt. I could envision the future and could imagine myself as an older woman, one who regretted never taking the chance. So, at a time when most people in my close circles thought I must be crazy, I began a novel. I finished it and began another.
While the first one sat in a computer paper box, the second one began to take shape. I finished it, rewrote it twice, and revised it. I called it Kinfolk and soon realized I’d written a romance novel. I sent it out to various publishers and agents. I received some nibbles, a little interest and then, several years and eighty tries later, a contract offer from Champagne Books.
Kinfolk debuted in July of 2011 as an eBook and went to paperback a few months later. By the time it released, I had three other titles out and today I have more than thirty with more titles set to roll out including Pink Neon, my first interracial romance on July 3 and Hear The Wind Blow, Love, another historical romance on September 3, both from Rebel Ink Press. Some of my works are available only in electronic format, others in both eBook and paperback fashion. What began as a dream has become a full-time occupation. Although I’ve written for several publishers (Champagne Books, Evernight Publishing, Astraea Press, Rebel Ink Press), I’m now Rebel Ink exclusive as part of the Rebel Ink Press Elite team.
Best of all, my titles are in the library, the local facility in the small town, Neosho, Missouri where I now live and also at the main library (and my old neighborhood branch) in my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. As a lifelong reader, a dreamer, and now an author, I think my books’ presence on library shelves constitutes the most realistic, physical expression of my dream. Yes, I have readers. I even have fans but the fact someone can check out something I wrote from the library delights me most of all.
When Cecily Brown roared into the vacation hotspot of Branson, Missouri, she had nothing on her mind but distancing herself from her life in Chicago. She planned to make her long standing dreams of owning a boutique called ‘Pink Neon’ come true and forget the decade she spent trapped in a hellish marriage to millionaire jeweler Willard Bradford VI. Yet once she arrives, she finds she’s a minority among the tourists with her corn rowed braids and dark skin. But Cecily is determined to stay.
Her cousin calls to tell her the news, her ex-husband managed to get murdered on the steps of his mansion but Cecily doesn’t care. Her old life is history and she’s eager to move forward with the grand opening of her boutique. Her first customer at Pink Neon is a man, dark and mysterious. She pegs him for a criminal or a cop but their attraction is intense. So is their first date, which ends in intimacy. Soon she’s all but inseparable from Daniel Padilla. He carries his own old baggage, too.
Life’s good until Padilla admits he’s an FBI agent sent to check Cecily out. She reacts with anger but as she learns she’s become the FBI’s favorite suspect, she has to trust Daniel. If she can trust anyone at all. As the investigation heats up, she ends up heading south with him to Texas, then deep into Mexico as she and her FBI lover try to discover who the real killer of her ex-husband might be. But danger lurks and it’s going to get rough before they straighten things out. If they can.
Keep an eye out for her upcoming novel Pink Neon!!