From Smashed TV to Best Selling Author

Posted: September 14, 2016 in Announcements, guest post, Recommended Reading
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throw-out-the-tvMy name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. One morning, about five years ago, I went crazy. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story. I threw it up on a writing site on the Internet just for the hell of it. A few months later I was notified that it was to be included in an anthology of the best short stories of 2011. I even got paid for it! I’ve been writing ever since.

Debra has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure, so I thought I’d tell you how it came about.

It all started way back in 2012 . . .

My first book was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing, and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.

So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!

redemptionI had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months; then sent out query letters to agents.

Less than a month later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in New York City emailed me that he loved the story. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults in the Old West. And just for the record, the final word count is 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status in its category on Amazon (twice) and won the Editor’s Choice Award for best Western of 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.

But not quite.

My agent then wanted me to write a sequel, but I had other plans. I was in the middle of editing down my first novel (that had been rejected by 1,876,324 agents . . . or so it seemed) from 164,000 words to the present 142,000. However, he was insistent about a sequel, so I started to think about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I tied up all the loose ends at the end of REDEMPTION, so there was no way I could write a sequel. And that is when Molly asked me to tell her story. Molly was a minor character that we met briefly in the first chapter of REDEMPTION, and then she is not heard from again.molly-lee

So I started to think about what ever happened to her. After a bit of time—and 100,000 words—we find out what did happen to Molly. It is an adventure tale where Huck Finn weaves through the periphery of a story driven by a feisty female lead. Molly Lee was my second book, which achieved #2 status on Amazon.

Now I was finished with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer for good and could go back to my first novel and resume the editing process.

But not quite.

It was then that Huck and Molly ganged up on me and demanded that I resolve their lives once and for all. It seems that I had left them hanging, so to speak. Hence, RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. Here is the blurb from the back cover of the book:

12resolutionIt is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

There you have it. Now, if you nice people will just go out and buy RESOLUTION, perhaps Huck and Molly will leave me alone long enough so that I can get some editing done on my first novel.

~~ Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

WEBSITE: http://andrewjoyce76.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Yellowhair1850

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7242284.Andrew_Joyce

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Comments
  1. aj vosse says:

    So gratifying to read of a writer who kept at it and turned into a bestselling author!

    My first (unpublished) novel is much the same… historical adventure… more that 125K words… shelved because no one wants to look! Anyway… I have sufficient ideas for sequels/ part two/ three…

    Now… I’m not going to ask for any tips or advice… merely for the short story site where Andrew placed that first story. You see, I write them too and have a few to contribute, wherever I can! I also want to live on a boat… along the European canal system! Imagine all those tales!!

    Thanks for a great post!!

    • I know what you mean! I’ve contacted the author to let him know to check in on your comment. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! Have a great day!

      • aj vosse says:

        Thanks for getting back to me!! Your LI post has got me preparing a WP post for tomorrow!! (I’ve included all the links) I blog by the name of AJ Vosse at Ouch My Back Hurts so that’s how you’ll see it. 😉

    • Andrew Joyce says:

      I know you didn’t ask for advice or tips, but being of Irish descent, I’m gonna give you some advice anyway. Here goes: Self publish.

      I am greatly indebted to my agent. He got me started when I didn’t know the first thing about the publishing business. But after a while we went our separate ways. It was a mutual thing. His other clients were world famous and sold millions and millions of books. So he was a bit busy with their affairs. Anyway, no matter how well connected your agent is, you’re gonna have to do the marketing yourself. Unless you’re Stephen King, no publishing house is going to expend too much energy marketing your book.

      Edit your book to death. (My historical novel is being published this month. I got it down from 164,000 to 140,000 words.) Also have another set of eyes go over it. I read my manuscripts twenty times and in between my editor reads them at least ten times. Together we hone it to a fine edge. And then when we know it’s perfect, we read it once more and find at least thirty mistakes and twenty sentences that could have been written better. Remember, that’s after we thought the damn thing perfect, and four months of editing eight hours a day, seven days a week.

      Then get it formatted for an eBook and put it up on Amazon. Then the real fun begins — the marketing. How I hate to market. But I’ll save that for another day.

      The site where I put up my first story is, alas, no more. You can find sites that will post your short stories. One is call Booksie and there are many more. But be leery of scams. If anyone wants money from you run, and run fast.

      Good luck with your writing. I’ll leave you with this one last thought, When I first started writing a friend, a writer, told me it was all about the process of writing. That is what counted. Of course, I did not believe him. I wanted to be the best known author in the world and no self publishing for me. But as time went on, I came to realize that he was right. I’m never happier than when I’m writing. And God help me, I’m even beginning to enjoy editing.

      All the best,

      Andrew

      • aj vosse says:

        Fantastic! Thanks a million for your reply! (OK, I’ll stop with the exclamation marks, I believe the trade hates them.)
        I will take all your advice on board and thanks to Debra’s post and reading a little of your site, I must say… my mood has lifted significantly! (Life’s woes, no work, no money… health ect, ect)
        I will delve into the writing side of things with renewed vigour and re-edit my short story compilation again. The editor in chief, my good lady, is the linguistic specialist so she’ll get another few cracks at editing as well. Then it will be Amazon for me too. I can’t wait!
        Thanks again!

  2. […] leading to strange thought-provokers. The above is a comment I posted on a fellow blogger’s site. A blogger who I would never have discovered if it weren’t for a post on LI by a contact who […]

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