How long did it take you to write your first book?
My first book was written in about 1993 (that’s nineteen ninety-three – the font looks wacky here) on a word processor that only showed maybe four or five lines of type at a time. It had a cartridge and ribbon in it and held I don’t remember how many pages of text before I had to put a piece (single) into the carriage and hit print. It was more of a glorified typewriter. So, given that it took me longer to write than you can imagine. I wrote it, but knew it wasn’t good. Nowhere near ready to publish. I completed it in about 3-6 months, maybe. Then stuck it under a bunch of stuff in a drawer and started on the next book. By this time, we’d purchased our first computer that ran Windows 95. What a revelation that was to my craft. I actually could correct as I went and print later. LOL. Flash forward many books and programs later – to about 2004 (?) I was at the New Jersey Romance Writers annual conference and was going to pitch to TOR books. Well, I hadn’t planned to pitch the book I did, but when I got my pitch envelope it said they wanted PNR. I had planned to pitch and epic fantasy. I had to switch gears and fast. So, I pitched that first book I wrote with the understanding that I had to dust if off and rewrite it. And I did. I started from the first sentence, first word and rewrote the entire book in 3 months. I switched things up and condensed a few characters together. That book was passed on by TOR but I ended up signing it with Samhain. It was released in 2006, I think, and was titled By A Silken Thread. It was a mystery/PNR about near-death experiences.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been a storyteller. To myself, to pass the time. On break between summer and fall I’d sit in my room and type out short stories in junior high and high school. It’s been a dream that I made come true. When I first mentioned it to my fiancé (now husband of 26 years) he encouraged me to make it happen and I haven’t looked back.
How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?
That first book – 2. I wrote that first horrid copy, and then the one I sent to the publisher. There had been about a 10-year gap between revisions and I learned so much in that time and had honed and worked on my craft with other books, so it’s hardly a fair comparison.
How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?
Oddly, the first thing I had published wasn’t the first book I wrote. In between writing By A Silken Thread first and second drafts, I read all kinds of writing publications. Writers’ Journal used to do these writing challenges where they printed the first slug of sentence and the author had to come up with the story behind it. I decided to give it a try. First prize was $50 and first print of your story. The slug I used was “Cars were still going by…” Well, me being me, I couldn’t make that be anything other than dark, so I finished the sentence with, “on the way to the cemetery.” – Thus, the short story “Grave Dancing” was born. I had no idea I’d won the contest until I found a free copy of the magazine in my mailbox one morning. I opened it and there was my printed story with my byline. I was so excited. You’d think I had won a Pulitzer or something. After that I sold an erotic romance novella to Red Sage Publishing.
How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?
I used to be more of a plotter than pantser. Now, I’m an amalgamation of them both. Publishing has changed completely, since I’m mostly publishing indy now and have only 3 pubs I still have books with. I’ve gotten all my rights back to the other books I had with other publishers.
How many books have you published since then?
Somewhere in the 30s. I lost count. Too many coming and going and republishing and such. I have no head for that kind of accounting.
Interview with MK Mancos aka Kathleen Scott, Kate Davison, and Cassie Sweet