Answering your questions: “Where did DEAR EARTH come from?

Though I am a native Oklahoman, I have to admit up front that my heart is in Arkansas.  And though I suspected as early as grade school in Tulsa that, on occasion at least, I was a pretty good writer, was encouraged by teachers throughout school, and even edited a college newspaper, it wasn’t until my husband and I came to Spring Hollow in Arkansas that what one of my favorite authors, Mary Stewart, calls the writing virus, really caught me.  Because I loved a place, because it filled holes in my life, made me think and feel as I never had before, the writing simply exploded out of me from then on.  I had to write about Arkansas and the Ozarks.  And that’s what I’ve been doing since my first Ozarks essay sold in 1985.  The hills and hollows, the trees, wildflowers, animals, fruits of the land…all of it, really unleashed a creative rush that showed up in newspapers and magazines all over the world.

That was the beginning.  I continued to write and sell individual essays and articles about the Ozarks and our experiences there.  I had some success, accumulated quite a body of published individual pieces and, finally, in the early 90’s decided I was really writing the story of my husband’s and my transition from Tulsa city dwellers with demanding careers to Ozarks hillbillies, and I use that term in a positive light to mean self-reliant Ozarks hill dwellers.  That’s when I put previously written work together with new material in a story line that became DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow.

From the beginning of my interest in writing about the Ozarks I had been increasing my knowledge about my new profession.  I read informational  magazines and books for writers, I attended classes about writing at Tulsa Junior College, I joined organizations for writers and listened to information shared by others working as writers.  I learned proper manuscript preparation and magazine querying, then I studied book manuscript preparation, how to write a book synopsis, proposal, and query letter.  I studied publishing options, submitted my book idea, and–when requested–my manuscript.  I got rejections, and that went on for over a year.  Through all this I learned that successful writers never treat writing as a hobby…it is a profession, and it’s hard work.

In 1993 I read–in a professional magazine called The Writer— about a publishing company in New York that bought inspirational non-fiction books.  I queried, learning only later that the head of this company had recently come to the Ozarks to speak to an organization I was in the process of joining, Ozarks Writers League.  I began to have a very good feeling about this publisher, and not long after I got the big phone call…”Radine I’d like to talk with you about your lovely book.”  I was on my way as a book author.  For that book at least, the waiting and trying and trying and being rejected–was over.

Y’know…no matter how many other things I write–no matter how much I really enjoy creating my mystery series and short stories, DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow, will always be the book of my heart.

Interested in coming to the Ozarks for a visit?  You’re invited to begin by joining me at Spring Hollow in the pages of DEAR EARTH.
Radine

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