The last time I did Journey of a Novel, I shared my experience of the publication of my first book, Sleeping with the Lights On. But Sleeping wasn’t the first book I’d written. Sleeping with the Lights On was more of a break during the writing of another novel that I labored on for several years.
|Dad and Mom 1947|
As a young girl in Phoenix, Arizona, I’d listened to stories my mom told me about growing up in the 30s and 40s. Her mother died when she was three years old, and her father didn’t stay anywhere too long. He mostly worked in the fields, harvesting vegetables and cotton. Mom hopped freight trains, slept in hobo jungles, and traveled all over California and Arizona until her pre-teen years.
I wanted to use her life to tell a story. My first attempt covered about thirty years…and was awful. A couple of days ago, I threw out a stack of rejections I’ve hung on to all these years. Back then, we submitted to agents and publishers by snail mail. The rejection letters were form letters. Only one agent gave me personal advice. She told me to hone my story and to stop trying to cover so much.
I followed that advice, threw out twenty-eight years, and Honey On White Bread was born. But I still had a long road to publishing. Because my characters are seventeen and twenty when the book begins, the advice I got was it had to be a YA novel. I didn’t think the subject matter would interest the young adults of today…and neither did the agents and publishers I submitted to. Then I met the owner of a small e-publisher in Minnesota who listened to my pitch and wanted to publish it as Women’s Fiction. I was thrilled and so was Mom. I sold a few. Unfortunately, that publisher didn’t really have a Women’s Fiction line, and I knew nothing about promotion. The book languished with little recognition.
Eventually, after I’d published several books with The Wild Rose Press, and at a time when they expanded the genres they accepted, I requested and received the rights back from the small publisher. I submitted it to TWRP, and they loved it. The book went through a rigorous editing process and came out so much better as Post-War Dreams. It’s a 1945 historical of which I am proud.
World War II has ended and the soldiers are coming home. After years of following her crop worker father, motherless Claire Flanagan is also coming home. If she can keep her father in one place long enough, she plans to follow her dreams to Hollywood. Until she meets Benjamin.
Benjamin Russell has been working since he was fifteen to support his mother and siblings. What he most wants in life is to own a construction business and take care of the family his father abandoned. The last thing he expects is to fall for his younger sister’s best friend.
Life, however, throws cruel twists and turns into the path of romance. And when an unrequited love seeks revenge against Claire, and Benjamin learns his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, will lost dreams of a future together be the only thing they have left?
Manic Readers Reviews
Whiteside is a lovely story teller, who gives us vivid mind’s eye pictures of the people, the surroundings, & the emotions of her characters.
Still Moments Magazine
The author’s descriptive voice places the reader into the historical setting. The story is filled with intense emotion, captivating scenes, and unexpected twists. An enjoyable read.