Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hi, Books We Love Readers!

By way of introduction, I'm Sydell Voeller, and so far you'll find three of my titles live on Amazon, thanks to this very fine publishing company. My books are: Sandcastles of Love, The Fisherman's Daughter, and Summer Magic. I hope to have more out soon! But before I talk further about my books (most likely in my next post), I'd like to take a moment to share a little about myself and the circuitous road I took to becoming a writer. So here goes!

I grew up in Washington state, an only child, so I had plenty of time to spin stories in my head and get them down on paper. After I entered high school, I became the assistant editor of the school newspaper and editor of the creative writing magazine. I also kept a journal, which I still have and treasure.

My childhood dream, however, was to become a nurse, so writing professionally never crossed my mind. The following years, I attended a nursing school, affiliated with a nearby university, about 50 miles from my home. Sadly, though, I believed I was too busy then to keep up with my journal, so I let it go. Yet every year, when it came time to publish the nursing school annual, there I was, penning prose for the opening pages. Obviously, I just couldn't stop writing. And believe it or not, writing term papers rated high on my list of favorite assignments!

Later I married and moved to Oregon, where my husband and I've remained. We raised two wonderful sons, and in order to be home with them as much as possible, I cut back on my nursing to volunteer as a school and camp nurse. I also worked part-time at the Student Health Center at our local university, for the county public health department, and at a local family practice clinic--not all at the same time!

When our second son had barely turned 3, we discovered he had acquired a rare degenerative hip disease. The days that followed were filled with medical work-ups, hospitalizations, traction, and two major surgeries. Because I spent most of my time in the hospital with my son, I had ample opportunity to contemplate my uncertainties and fears--and my thoughts once again turned to keeping a journal. It wasn't long until I even began dreaming about getting parts of my journal published, so I sent the manuscript off to Redbook. Months later it came limping back to me with one of those notoriously "wonderful" form rejection notes.

Meanwhile, I'd been perusing writers' magazines and had come across an article about how to write teenage romances. Immediately I thought about my high school journal and realized I had in it a treasure trove of ideas.

The following summer, with my pink Smith Corona typewriter propped on the kitchen table, I crafted my first young adult romance (while my two sons popped in and out of the kitchen for any number of reasons). What an exercise in concentration!

Later, I joined a critique group and worked harder than ever. I can't begin to tell you how much I learned from the members there, most of whom were already published.

After I'd revised that first manuscript several times and began sending it out to publishing houses, I started work on my second and third. Imagine my excitement a couple of years later when I got a call from the editor at Silhouette's young adult line, offering me a contract on the first manuscript! The following December, Merry Christmas, Marcie was released--the best holiday gift I'd ever received.

Now twenty-some years later, I've published many books, articles, and short stories. I love sharing my knowledge with my approximate 100 students whom I mentor for a popular "distance learning" writing program. I've also established a great website that I'm very proud of. Please stop by and sign my guest book!