Monday, September 12, 2011

My Personal Path To Publication - Lindsay Downs

My guest today is a fellow author at Astraea Press and an author of mystery/suspense novels as well as romance.  There has also been a brief dabble into YA (at my request) but Lindsay is first and foremost a writer and lover of a good mystery.  The next offering you can expect has a most unusual protagonist, a collie named Dakota, who is a partner of the other protagonist, Emily Dahill, CID, the lead character as well as the title of the book.  I don't get lucky enough to interview Dakota here, but I reserved the right with Lindsay to get her in the future.  Here now, enjoy Lindsay's journey:

1. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing with an eye toward being published since 2006 when I joined Romance Writers of America (RWA). Before then I did a newsletter which was part fiction, part non-fiction, depending on the stories I could find. I’ve also written for a weekly newspaper. In total I’ve been writing since the mid 80’s. 1980’s that is.

2. Are you published and if so, how long have you been a published author? If not, what’s your
Besides Astraea Press I have stories with two other presses. The Wild Rose Press gave me my first contract in 2008 for a historical romance. I’m also published with another press, who will remain unnamed. I have a romance also through them. Even though I have two romance stories out in cyber land I’m much happier writing mystery/suspense.

3. Which route did you choose for becoming published, the traditional route, with an agent, the
“indie” route, going directly to the publishers yourself, or deciding to self-publish?
I’ve pitched to both agent and editors at conferences. To date I’ve only had one story sold that way, Somewhere in North Africa and that was to The Wild Rose Press. So, I guess you could say I went the ‘indie’ route and am glad, correction ecstatic, to have found Stephanie Taylor at Astraea Press. I did try putting out a book via the self-publishing route but decided to pull the book due to bad reviews. I’m planning to rewrite that story and then submit it to publishers.

4. Why did you choose that particular route?
I chose to go the small press route because I feel there is so much more hands on with them. You develop a relationship with the staff and are given personal attention. You’re not lost in the crowd of other authors.

5. How long did it take you to write your first novel?
That’s really a tough question to answer. My first story, a short, that I was contracted for probably took about six months. This was back when I was starting out and learning how to write. Which, I must add, I still am to this day.

6. How long did it take you to publish it?
I pitched the short at a conference when after getting rejected on the spot for a full. The editor asked if I had anything else and when I told her I had a WWII historical I gave her the unprepared pitch and sold the story.

7. How many times did it get rejected before it got published?
As you can see from above it never got rejected. However, the full I wrote several years later has been rejected with every publisher and agent I submitted the story to. That’s the major reason for rewriting the book. A few of the rejections gave me suggestions on how to improve the story and I’ll be implementing them in the rewrite.

8. Tell us about worst rejection letter.
All rejection letters are bad. I can’t, even though I have them all, pinpoint any one in specific as being worse than the others. Rejection letters are all part of the writing process and if you take them personally then maybe this isn’t the right job for you.

9. What was the best news you ever got in your writing life and how did it make you feel?
The best news wasn’t so much my first contract but the latest one with Astraea Press. How did it make me feel-like I finally made it. Here was a new press that had the same faith in me and my characters, Emily Dahill, CID and her very unusual partner, Dakota, as I did.

10.         What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?
Whatever it was I forgot what it was or took it and reversed the advice into good and applied it to my writing.

11.         Now, tell us the best!
Write what you know. And it wasn’t necessarily romance but military. Since then I’ve focused on having some or all my characters in the Army. That’s how I ended up with mystery today.

12.  What’s the one thing you would want an aspiring writer to take away from your personal
path to publication?
Learn the craft, which is an ongoing process. Develop your own voice. And have faith in you, your writing and your characters.

13.  Where can we read your blog? Buy your books? Connect with you on Facebook? On 
Twitter? Your website?
Twitter: ldowns2966

Back cover blurbs for Emily Dahill, CID Part 1
Final Mission-After being seriously wounded in a copter crash in Iraq Sgt. Emily Dahill meets her new partner as she embarks on her new Army career as a CID agent. Who could this new partner be?
A Body in the Snow-Emily and her partner, Dakota, cross bullets with their most determined foe. Who will survive?
Right Place, Wrong Day-On leave to hang with friends Emily gets the surprise of her life.
Dog on Fishing-When it comes to knowing how to fish, and catch the big ones, never underestimate your partner. He might surprise you.

Exciting, right?  I know I can't wait to read this and the rest in the series.  I happen to know there are more and Lindsay is readying them for release as we speak.  Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the rest in the series.  And the next time you see a beautiful collie, think of Dakota.  Somewhere, somehow, an attractive detective is relying on a surefooted canine for a partner.  And she always gets her man!


  1. Thank you for having me here today. It's a pleasure and honor to be part of this blog series. But, and I've got to point it out before Dakota reads this, he's a he not a she. But, he'll forgive you because in Spellbound you've got some awesome dogs as protectors of Logan, Serena, Tabitha and Jade.

  2. Lindsay .... You are all over the net indeed this week !
    Love that advice ---> "And have faith in you, your writing and your characters"

    Great interview!

  3. Terrific interview, Lindsay. Nice to learn things about you I didn't know. Love mysteries, too. Hope to write those when I run out of love stories.

  4. Great background info, Lindsay. And wonderful advice!

  5. Oops. Tell Dakota I am sure sorry! You're right. I made the mistake because all the guardian dogs in Spellbound were female! I definitely owe him a steak for that one!

  6. He said for a one inch thick Porterhouse you've forgiven

  7. Great interview, ladies. Good pieces of advice, Lindsay!

  8. Thanks everyone for stopping by today. And believe it or not but it took me quite a while before I started taking my own advise. And now I'm glad I did.
    Keep your eyes out for the next story coming from Astraea Press- A Body in the Attic.

  9. Interesting interview and great advice.