by Elizabeth Langston
While training for a mountain bike race, high-school senior Mark Lewis spots a mysterious girl dressed in odd clothing, standing behind a waterfall in the woods near his North Carolina home. When she comments on the strange machine that he rides, he suspects something isn’t right. When Susanna claims to be an indentured servant from 1796, he wonders if she’s crazy. Yet he feels compelled to find out more.
Mark enters a ‘long-distance’ relationship with Susanna through the shimmering–and temperamental–barrier of Whisper Falls. Curious about her world, Mark combs through history to learn about the brutal life she’s trapped in. But knowledge can be dangerous. Soon he must choose between the risk of changing history or dooming the girl he can’t stop thinking about to a lifetime of misery.
The story of how I became a published author has a happy ending. Whisper Falls releases on November 19th. But the journey took a long time and had many bumps. Looking back, here are a few key events along the way.
November 2013 – finally, we have the official release of Whisper Falls, with all sorts of cool stuff like book-signings, interviews on blogs and TV, and scouring the Internet like a crazy person for every tiny scrap of news about my book.
October 2013 – online retailers arbitrarily decide to release the paperback of Whisper Falls 3 weeks early
August 2013 – I finish the draft of Whispers From the Past (Whisper Falls #3)
May 2013 – My fourth book, I Wish, sells.
February 2013 – I finish the draft of A Whisper In Time (Whisper Falls #2).
May 2012 – My agent sends me an email with the subject line: News.
I open the message and it says: We have our first offer…
January 2012 – My college kid’s roommate wants to freelance-edit novels. I offer her a job on Whisper Falls. She is amazing!!!!
May 2010 – I start Whisper Falls. It takes me 8 months to write. Then it sits on submission with multiple publishing houses for a year, then my freelancer helps me fix it, then it sells in 4 days.
July 2009 – I sign with my wonderful literary agent. My first book doesn’t sell. But the next one does!
Summer 2005 – My 3rd manuscript finals in a big contest for unpublished authors. I finally drum up the courage to submit my work to literary agents. Many request a chance to read it, but it’s clear from their responses that my writing is still too raw. I take more writing classes. I practice as much as the rest of my life will allow.
Fall 2001 – tragedy strikes my extended family. I’m too grief-stricken to write. My writing career goes on hold.
January 2000 – I switch from a full-time job to part-time. With the extra day off, I begin to draft stories, take writing classes, read books about writing, practice, etc. It’s hard work—way harder than I expected. But I don’t give up. (Maybe I would’ve if I’d realized that my first book would release 14 years later!)
June 1998 – I write a technical article about testing computer software. I’m paid $500 to publish it in a magazine. I love being paid for writing. I want to repeat the experience. For whatever reason, that translates inside my head to “I can write a novel.” I begin to think about how I could make that work.
A final word about my journey… As most authors will tell you, the key factor to being published is to write a great book. The second most important factor is persistence. It’s believing you can do it—and it’s knowing that the amount of time it takes just does not matter.
About the Author
Hello, I’m Elizabeth Langston, and I write fiction for young adults. My debut novel, Whisper Falls (Whisper Falls, #1), releases November 19, 2013.
So here is a quick Q&A
- USA: I’ve lived my entire life in the United States of America.
- Tennessee: Memphis is my birthplace.
- Mississippi: Tupelo is the town where I was raised. Generally, this is what I answer if I think you’re asking about my childhood.
- North Carolina: I’ve lived here over half of my life. NC is home.