GIVEAWAY: Read until the end of the post to see what we have in store for you! Join us in celebrating Leigh Ann Edwards’s final book being released in the Irish Witch Series.
I’m so happy to be featured on the Tule Blog today, on this the release day of A Witch’s Destiny, Book Seven, the final installment in the original portion of my Irish Witch Series. It has been such an exciting couple of years. I have loved every single portion of it even when I sometimes stressed over my struggles with technology or upcoming deadlines.
Often during my book launches or book club and library author visits, I am asked what inspires my writing or where I get my ideas. Readers also have many questions regarding whether I have a specific time of the day I write, or where I prefer to write, etc. I think I have answered most of these questions in previous blogs, but readers also tend to be very curious about when I began writing and how I became published. I know those topics haven’t been discussed on the blog, so I thought I’d share some of that information today.
I first starting writing novels back in 1994. I had always enjoyed writing, and at one time I wrote every day, but other than a short story published in my high-school yearbook, I hadn’t had anything published, and after I began working at my first job in a bank, which I never was content with, I think it stifled my creativity and I stopped writing for quite some time other than the occasional letter.
When my two daughters were still quite young, I began to feel the need to write again, but I didn’t believe I had the necessary time available to commit to writing, even though I always recognized it was my passion.
After a period of a few years of reading several fantasy novels and time travel novels which I thoroughly enjoyed, I went through a time where I couldn’t find anything I really wanted to read, and the novels I did read, seemed to be disappointing. So in 1994, instead of spending most of my spare time reading, I switched it up and began writing again. When I think back, I was very ambitious as that was when I began writing novels. The very first novel I wrote was quite long and I actually wrote it long hand in cursive handwriting. After I finally bought a typewriter, typed the manuscript, and photocopied it to be put into huge binders, I had a couple of dozen people read it. Some were friends and family, but others merely acquaintances or friends of friends. The response was unquestionably positive. Literally everyone who read it adamantly encouraged me to attempt to get it published. Even to this day some of those people sometimes question me as to whether those first books will ever be published as apparently they are still waiting.
Although I felt I had researched the topic thoroughly, and read most of the information available regarding query letters and how to send your manuscripts to publishers, it was much different back then. You had to send the entire manuscript to some publishers, while others wanted only the first three chapters. I eventually sent my manuscript to eight different publishers back in 1995. The responses were discouraging as four replied saying they weren’t taking new authors, two said they didn’t take authors who didn’t have an agent, and two said it wasn’t right for them at this time.
I wasn’t really sure where to go from there, and perhaps I should have pursued it further even then, but my daughters were still young, and involved in many extracurricular activities, so I put my writing on the backburner for some time, until after they were out of school and living on their own. It wasn’t until 2008 after returning from a trip to Ireland that I become completely re-inspired.
Something in seeing all the beautiful ancient castles, being surrounded in so much history and sensing magic all around me, seemed to make my creativity flow, and I came back home and wrote The Farrier’s Daughter, The Witch’s Daughter, and The Chieftain’s Daughter. At that time, I was hearing a lot about self-publishing and I began researching and inquiring into it. I thought with the competitiveness of the publishing industry, I would try that route. So I did self-publish the first two novels, the first in 2014 and the second in 2015. While it was mostly a very positive learning experience and I certainly don’t regret it as I definitely had some success and developed some contacts and readers began following my series, promoting and marketing your own novels is especially challenging and daunting.
My wonderful journey with Tule began the summer of 2015 when I met with Danielle Rayner, an editorial assistant from Tule Publishing while I attended a writer’s conference in Calgary Alberta. It is so difficult to believe that was nearly three years ago, but a lot has happened in that time.
I do truly believe in fate or destiny, because initially I had not been slated to pitch my series to Tule. The first day of the conference I had pitched my books to a publisher who leaned almost exclusively toward publishing in the fantasy and horror genres. When I came out of that session, I sensed my books really weren’t what they were looking for. However, being there did ultimately prove to be beneficial for the attendant working at that location told me there had just been a cancellation for the next day, and that Tule Publishing, a publisher from California, who focused on publishing romance novels, now had a spot open up and she wondered if I would be interested in pitching my books to them.
Although I had heard of Tule, in reading over the list of publishers who would be at the conference, I wasn’t certain my books would be a good fit because I was under the impression most of the books they published were modern, contemporary romance novels. But, I did feel ultimately, even though my novels were historical and fantasy or paranormal, the heart of my novels was the powerful romance between Alainn and Killian, so I thought it couldn’t hurt to meet with Tule to gain experience if nothing else. Then, I nearly missed the session because even though I was at least fifteen minutes early, the location had been changed last minute because the room had been double-booked. After racing across the length of the entire complex and through several buildings, though I was more than a little short of breath, thankfully I made it on time.
When I met with Danielle, she was so sweet. Her lovely smile and her calming, down to earth demeanor, immediately put me at ease. She asked a lot of questions and seemed genuinely intrigued by the storyline of my novels. She assured me Tule was branching out into historical romance and paranormal romance and she thought the Tule team might be interested in taking a look at my manuscript. Although I had self-published the first two novels, I had several more instalments written or partially written, so I was completely thrilled at the prospect of Tule possibly wanting to publish my series.
Sure enough, to my elation, the following week Danielle emailed me and said Tule was very interested in reading my first novel. She asked me to email her the manuscript. But anyone who has read my books knows they tend to end with a cliffhanger, so I decided to it would be better to send the manuscripts for the first and second books.
Several weeks passed and I didn’t hear anything more so admittedly, I thought in all probability, that was the last I would hear from Tule. However, much to my delight, in early December, I got one of the most exciting emails I have ever received. Danielle explained, the reason she had taken so long to get back to me was that the entire team at Tule had read the novels and they had quickly fallen in love with them. She said she was interested in speaking with me, so after a very long phone-conversation, and a couple more emails, Danielle eventually emailed me to say Tule wanted to sign a contract for the first three books.
I was on cloud nine, to say the least. At that point I knew I had wanted to go forward with the series and possibly self-publish book three. My husband and I had agreed we would go that far and see where it took us, but having a publisher believe in my writing enough to publish my first three novels was wonderfully exciting and so encouraging. It made me hopeful I would truly be able to see my entire Irish Witch Series available to readers.
After the first three books were completed and published, they met with good reception and really encouraging reviews, and soon after, I signed for another three books. When writing and adding to Alainn and Killian’s story, I was very pleased when Tule agreed to a seventh in the series being added.
It has been such an amazingly terrific experience working with the team of ladies at Tule. Although Danielle and Lindsey, two of the ladies, I first had contact with are no longer with Tule, I am grateful to have worked with them. I am also extremely appreciative to Meghan who has been with me through every step of the way and Michelle who came on board shortly after. I am so thankful their continued support, and for their knowledge and expertise in every aspect of publishing. They have always been so encouraging and patient with my numerous questions throughout the publishing of the seven books. The editors and cover designer have added much to my series as well. I really can’t say enough about each of the people who have helped me so much throughout this entire fantastic experience.
I love writing so very much. It has always been my passion, so to be able to create my stories and have the opportunity for many people to read them has brought me a great amount of joy and it really is a dream come true. I have had readers from four different continents contact me to tell me they are loving my series. That makes me very happy and proud to have come this far. I owe so much to Tule Publishing for believing my series should be published and helping with marketing and promotions.
As I said in my last blog post, I was extremely sad in writing the last chapters of A Witch’s Destiny. I was dreading knowing I would soon be made to say farewell to people who had been a very important part of my life for the past ten years. I really do dislike goodbyes. The closer I got to the end of the novel, the more uneasy I began to feel. In fact, because of this unexpected reaction, after planning the ending for well over nine years, I changed it completely. But by altering the ending, this created many new possibilities for further adventures and different storylines in future series.
Now I look forward to the next chapter of my writing career as well. I am so excited to say, I am presently working on the proposal to pitch the next series to the Tule team, and then soon after I’ll be proposing the following two series as well. I’m hoping Jane, the team at Tule, and all my faithful readers will be as eager to continue this fascinating journey as I am.
Although the next series, The Second Witch, would be a sequel, it is actually the first series I ever wrote, therefore it will always have a special place in my heart. In fact, I was on chapter twelve of A Farrier’s Daughter, the first novel in The Irish Witch Series, when I decided I would connect the two series and the original series would become a sequel to The Irish Witch Series with the heroine, Arianna, being a magical descendant of Alainn’s.
I can’t even begin to express how fired up I am about the exciting possibility of introducing the Tule team and the readers to Arianna and Darius. This young couple have a very passionate love, and many dangerous, but thrilling adventures in Massachusetts Bay Colony in the late sixteen-hundreds during the witch hysteria, and the perilous and uncertain times the early settlers faced. I am so eager to share their story. I believe you’ll fall in love with them as well as all the many secondary characters in their world. As with the original series, it is unique, unpredictable and there are many sub-plots, twists and turns that are sure to keep you wanting to read more.
So wish me luck… the luck of the Irish. Here’s to hoping my future stories will work their magic, and I’ll be back on the Tule blog one day soon for the release of the beginning novel in the series, The Second Witch. Until then, it’s an honor to be one of Tule’s authors, to have been on this blog seven times now, and to continue to share my stories. I am exceedingly grateful and will continue to enjoy absolutely every minute.
Magical wishes, Leigh Ann
GIVEAWAY: We will be giving away a full print copy set of the entire Irish Witch series. Leigh Ann dislikes goodbyes, so post a comment with something you’re afraid of saying goodbye to as well!
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Since she was a child, Leigh Ann Edwards has always had a vivid imagination and lots of stories to tell. An enthusiastic traveler and author for over twenty years, her adventures in Massachusetts, Ireland, and the UK inspired The Farrier’s Daughter and its sequel novels in the Irish Witch series. Edwards adores animals, history, genealogy, and magical places—and Ireland is filled with many magical places. She lives with her husband and two cats in the lovely city of Edmonton, Alberta.