L. J. McDonald
I first started writing when my high school English teacher read some of my poetry and said I had talent. I was so floored at the concept that I started writing short stories. My parents weren't quite so thrilled I was doing something that took me away from my schoolwork, so I arranged to write a novel for two school credits, thereby turning writing into homework.
Over the years, I did make some attempts to get published, and I almost made it at one point, but other things were on my mind. To me, not submitting was easier than dealing with rejection slips, so I stopped trying. However, I did still keep on writing. It's true that for writers, it's a compulsion. I just never considered the idea anyone other than my husband would want to read any of it.
That changed when I picked up a book that had an ad in it for a fantasy novel writing contest where the winner would get a guaranteed publishing contract. I mentioned it to my husband and he nagged me until I entered the first three chapters of The Battle Sylph. Sometime after that, I was wandering the contest site and found a link to a page detailing what features the judges were looking for. Other than my book being fantasy, I hadn't done a single thing on the list and figured I must have lost. My husband said, okay, wait for them to confirm that, and then ship it out to the next company. You're not hiding for the next twenty years this time.
So, time passed, and the contest closed. The day after the winner was chosen, I was emailed that I'd lost the contest, but their head editor liked my three chapters so much he wanted to see the rest of the book. When I was contacted by Dorchester Publishing asking if the book was still available, I said yes, as were the four sequels. A week later, they bought the first three books in the series, and I decided I needed an agent.
Within a month, I'd signed with Michelle Grajkowski with 3 Seas Literary Agency, and the rest, hopefully, will be happy history for everyone.