This is a FIRST! I am finally sharing the title and summary of my book, eek! The House That Fixed Me is a WIP Women’s Fiction/Romance set in the Hamptons and North Fork of Long Island. Think Something Borrowed meets Virgin River. It is currently back on submission, so I could use all the good thoughts I can get.
Let me start by saying anyone who dares to crack their hearts wide open and write you have all my respect. Then, to begin the querying process to find an agent and publisher to bring your quiet thoughts to the masses, you have all my compassion. Writing takes guts, but to withstand rejection time and time again is a whole other level of guts that not everyone has. It’s called grit, and I wouldn’t say I enjoy that part, but I am determined and believe in this story.
I want to be very open and transparent in case anyone out there has a desire to write and publish their own book. I was incredibly naive about the process, but maybe that was a good thing because the journey was entirely unexpected. If you are in the throws of writing and you genuinely love it, and you take every step to hone your craft, don’t give up. Even if you feel discouraged, take a break and keep going. When it gets hard, harder than you ever imagined, that’s when you know the degree of your commitment.
It took me over 100 queries, six full and eight partial manuscript requests to secure a literary agent. With every rejection came an enormous amount of self-loathing and reflection. With every critique came growth. I took the criticism and decided I could do better, so I did. There is tons to learn about writing fiction, but the great thing, it’s all out there to find. I could easily find everything from writing podcasts to webinars to online conferences. If you want more information on my favorites, leave a comment below.
Taking the summer off from blogging wasn’t part of the original plan, but when I got an email from my literary agent saying the last two publishers passed because of a structural issue, I knew it was time to decide my next move. My book spans 17 years and has a lot of history, essentially, it could have been split into two books, but women’s fiction typically doesn’t work like that. I had to decide to take my chances the way it was, do a rewrite or give up altogether because mentally, it was draining. In early April, my two books went to acquisitions (to decide on purchase) with a large publisher. It was my decorating book and this one. A few weeks later, I got the news they passed, my hook wasn’t strong enough to compete with the others they purchased, also a structure thing, and my actual name, Jennifer OBrien, wasn’t searchable enough. So yes, a roller coaster ride, and by June, I was in a mental deficit.
The decision wasn’t an easy one, but I did the rewrite. All summer long, I dissected this story and the characters I love so much and put it back together again. It was hands down the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. But I did it! The story starts in the right place, and you can feel like you’re standing in Lanie, my POV character’s shoes.
The House That Fixed Me by Jennifer OBrien (me)
Lanie Hansen, a lifestyle blogger, and house flipper, is about to turn 40. She is faced with a new adventure after an unthinkable tragedy. Although she is lost and broken, she’s not willing to give up or throw in the towel just yet. Lanie, her son Beau, and rescue dog Ollie leave their fifth flip behind, along with all their memories, in order to heal. She sets sail for a new season and a new house, this time a tear down on the ocean. Lanie’s resilience is tested as she embarks on a home journey like no other, with a true “fixer-upper,” and battles the demons of her boundless grief. She must navigate the ins and outs of managing a high-risk and challenging home remodel for the first time on her own. As her seasons change, she readjusts her sails and follows her heart back to where it all began. She reconnects with Cole, an old love from her post-college Aspen days, whom she once saw forever with. The Ocean Cottage tests her resilience and gives her the clarity needed to embrace a second chance. In the process, she discovers how capable, valuable, and resilient she is, answering the question, can a house really fix her?
Does this sound like a book you’d like to read? Please say yes! And say a prayer, will you:).
Have a happy day!