Expecting was my second novel. My first novel, Can’t Keep, was written several years before Expecting. Fiction was a new experience - I’d worked as a film and television writer for years and after taking a short fiction class, I was sufficiently inspired to attempt a novel. And how did it go? Attempting a novel? 500-plus pages? So much harder than I had imagined. It was brutal.
Until the joy kicked in. Filling a page with prose wasn’t soul-crushing, it turned into bliss. All I wanted to do was write – when I woke up in the morning, when I wasn’t writing I was thinking about writing. When I was done, I rewrote Can’t Keep several times and cautiously showed it to a few friends. They seemed impressed. One of my film agents also liked the novel and showed it to a book agent who called and offered praise, but rejected the book. Other agents had the same reaction (“Love the writing, but no.”). I rewrote it several more times and the first agent read the new version.
And rejected it again. Eventually he agreed to go out with it and although there was no sale, the feedback was positive and he encouraged me to write another novel.
Write another novel? After spending years on the first one with no luck? At least rejection in TV and film comes quickly. (My favorite TV rejection story – I wrote a pilot about a sorority for a network and when the network execs called after reading the first draft, they sounded unhappy. Their first note, “But why is it all about girls?”)
Obviously I eventually sat down and wrote a second novel. There wasn’t the same first time joy and delicious discovery as with Can’t Keep, but when I was writing Expecting, I knew I’d learned from the first book and was a better fiction writer.
The most amazing moment in the process was probably when my agent called to tell me someone wanted to publish the book. I didn’t care about the money – I was happy enough to see my name on the cover of a real book. To have the thrill of walking into a bookstore and seeing Expecting on a shelf. To hear a friend say, “We’re reading your book for our book club.”
It’s clear that writing for film and television helped with writing a novel. I know how to create characters and I’m not afraid of (and actually like) rewriting. I’m not afraid of notes either - in fact, I love notes when they’re good. The editor at Sourcebooks knew exactly the story I was trying to tell and her notes made the book much better. Another advantage of working as a professional writer is I’m realistic about writing as a nine to five job. It’s not about inspiration, it’s about routine. Planting your butt in a chair and writing or typing or dictating or however you do it, but telling your story.
And you have to have perseverance. Because if you don’t, forget it. Rejected twice by the same agent, first book not selling, and yes, I could have given up and no one would have blamed me. But I stuck with it and the end result – only slightly short of miraculous - I have a book.
Expecting: A Novel
Author: Ann Lewis Hamilton
File Size: 943 KB
Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (July 1, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link
About the book:
A mom, a dad, a baby...and another dad.
Laurie and Alan are expecting, again. After two miscarriages, Laurie was afraid they'd never be able to have a child. Now she's cautiously optimistic — the fertility treatment worked, and things seem to be different this time around. But she doesn't yet know how different.
Jack can't seem to catch a break — his parents are on his case about graduating from college, he's somehow dating two girls at once, and he has to find a way to pay back the money he borrowed from his fraternity's party fund. The only jobs he is qualified for barely pay enough to keep him in beer money, but an ad for the local sperm bank gives Jack an idea.
Laurie and Alan's joy is shattered when their doctor reveals that Laurie was accidentally impregnated by sperm from a donor rather than her husband. Who is Donor 296. And how will their family change now that Donor 296 is inarguably part of it?
About the author:
Ann Lewis Hamilton has written for film and television. Her first novel Expecting will be released in July 2014.
Ann Lewis Hamilton's television credits include, among others, Grey's Anatomy, Stephen King's Dead Zone, and thirtysomething. She co-edits a small online literary magazine, Hot Valley Writers, and writes a blog, Book Club for One. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia in a house full of typewriters - her grandfather was the editor of the local newspaper where her father worked as a reporter and her mother wrote for the society page. Ann's goal was to write and draw for MAD magazine, but instead she graduated with a BA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from UCLA. However, she still has a subscription to MAD.
When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time as a amateur astronaut. (Not really, but she has seen Gravity three times and would consider being an astronaut if she got to meet George Clooney.)
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children. Visit her at www.AnnLewisHamilton.com.