Getting to Know Your Writing Mentor: Kathryn Johnson
When I started writing with the dream of becoming a published author, I discovered something surprising. The most difficult task wasn't putting words on paper. It was getting honest, knowledgeable feedback on my writing. What was I doing right? Where were my weaknesses and how could I write better? Did my manuscripts look like the work of a professional, or had I unwittingly left little clues that I was a rank amateur? After years of writing and submitting to publishers, the only thing I had to show for my effort was a pile of rejection slips.
Then something magical happened. I found a few talented individuals who became my mentors. They were experienced, published authors with dozens of books to their credit. Time and again they'd been down the road I wished to travel. They had learned to develop exciting plots, create fascinating characters, and market their fiction to major publishers. They had successfully pitched their stories, won contracts, worked effectively with publishing professionals and seen their names emblazoned on the covers of their nationally distributed books.
These pros pulled no punches. Sometimes I left a coaching session flying high, secure in the knowledge that my story was on track. Other times I departed from my mentors fighting back tears of frustration. How could I have made such foolish mistakes? But I took every word they offered to heart. And I wrote, wrote...wrote.
Suddenly, the rejections were no longer form letters. Editors dashed off notes suggesting revisions and resubmission. Some passed on my current book idea but asked to be remembered when my next novel was ready. Then "the call" came from an editor at Macmillan in New York City who wanted to buy my novel, Pocket Change.
I can't say that it's been all roses and rainbows since then. I still get my share of rejections, but I continue to sell to major publishers. I've now written and successfully sold over 40 of my novels under my pen names (Kathryn Jensen, K.M. Kimball, and Nicole Davidson). Most thrilling of all, many have been translated into foreign languages for readers around the world!