Marisel Vera, Author of If I Bring You Roses, 3 of 3

Marisel’s debut novel is available.  I’ve shown you a few pictures from her first book signing, which was last weekend.  I’m thankful she has given us these three posts about herself, her novel, and her experience as a writer seeking publishing.  If you’re available, come out and meet Marisel with other friends, fans, and readers on August 28, 2011 at 8 pm.  She’ll be at The Nervous Breakdown Reading Series co-sponsored by Sunday Salon Chicago.  The location is Katerina’s, 1929 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL.

This is the last of a three-part blog series featuring Marisel, and today she discusses her experience pursuing publishing…

What a writer needs most is Faith. I had a huge crisis of faith some years ago which I wrote about in a blog post Forgive Me, For I Have Doubted.  Your readers can read it on or It was the moment when I just had to say I am going to keep trying, even if I never get published, I am going to keep trying. From that point on, I never looked back.  That same year when I sent off my manuscript to an agent, I got an encouraging letter back.  That agent, Betsy Amster, is now my agent.  She didn’t take on my novel then but it fortified my determination to continue.  My husband has been financially and emotionally supportive throughout the whole process and our children became English geniuses so I’ve had the luxury of in-house editors for blog posts, etc. I have direct access to Puerto Ricans and especially to my mother and godmother who shared many details about growing up en el campo. I also conducted extensive research in all things Puerto Rican.

In addition to faith, I believe a writer needs to learn the craft of writing fiction.  An MFA is nice but if you can’t do that—I didn’t have that opportunity—then take writing classes, a writing workshop with a writer you admire (I did that with Jonis Agee and Cristina García), get some writing books, find a few fellow writers whom you trust and critique each other’s work in a constructive way.  Last but not least, the big D.  Discipline. Schedule time for writing and force yourself to do it.  It’s not easy in the beginning especially if you have a full-time job and/or small children.  When my children were little and I was living inOklahoma without my sisters to babysit, it was so hard!  One day I read about how Toni Morrison as a young writer was writing with her child on her hip and the child spit up on the page.  She didn’t want to lose her thought so she wrote around the spit-up before she cleaned up the child.  I found that so encouraging! I was a writer and I would write and I would do what I had to do to write and nothing would stop me.

Michael, I’d love to hear from your readers and especially book club groups. I’m open to meeting with book clubs especially in the Chicagoland area and having video or phone chats with others.  My website is

As I said, Marisel would enjoy meeting a few of you at the Series this Sunday.  And finally, if you’d like to see a dramatic reading of a chapter from If I Bring You Roses, it’s in the link below.

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