The Bittersweet Truth: An Author Update from A. R. Conti Fulwell
For those of you who are anxious for my Friday book recommendations, those will resume next week.
Some of you know my story of how I became an author, but some of you are new and may not. Hence I invite you on a trip down memory lane…
The year was 2005, I was sixteen and well defined as a reader who loved to make up stories. I had already started writing a Young Adult novel about the mischievous Noel Carlile and her best friend and partner in crime, The Romano Cheese Man. (He had a first name but it escapes me at the present). I’d also created my first children’s book out of notebook paper stapled together about a girl who works in the garage with her dad called, “My Dad’s Pop.” (Equally compelling, I know but in my defense I was like six years old). I even went as far as to enter a story contest with a tale of three sisters (no idea what they’re names were – I only remember the Crayola marker illustrations with each girl having their own distinctive color of dress, one blue, one purple, and one pink), and their chocolate lab named Brownie who goes missing.
Impressive for childhood right?
Even the illustrations.
Sounds like every other kid who has an imagination – and that’s what I thought I was. I always credit my mom for getting the ball rolling with my imagination because as a little kid I couldn’t sleep, so by her suggestion, I would dream up what we now know as “fan fiction” for my favorite stories.
What happens to Cinderella after she marries the prince?
What if Cinderella hadn’t married the prince?
What happened to Cinderella’s step sisters after the story ended?
All valid questions, right?
In 2005, the Lord lit a fire in me for music. I wanted more than anything to be performer, a professional musician. After many heated discussions with my parents we compromised my dream of performing into something more sensible – teaching – but that didn’t make the dream go away.
So what does any sensible kid with an active imagination do?
She writes a story about it.
This, of course, was nothing new for me until I found myself ten chapters in, swimming in almost 100 pages. All my other stories had stopped after a couple of chapters and I never went back to them, but this one seemed to stick. It became an outlet for me – an escape from teenage drama. I got into a rhythm of writing and eventually, I did the unthinkable – I read it to my friends.
Still not sure that I was really onto something, my friends sat around in a circle while I read my story to them. They were hooked. One of my good friend’s moms even offered to design my cover – she had read it too.
So I kept writing.
Fast forward to 2011, I’d finished my first novel, was working on my second, which would later be published as “An Angel in the Distance”, and my friends were bugging me.
“When are you going to publish something?” One of my dear friends asked me. “You promised that you would send something to a publisher when you finished your Bachelor’s degree.”
It had been eight months since I’d graduated. It was time to keep my promise.
I sent out a proposal for the first book I wrote, and promptly got a photo-copied, unsigned rejection letter which basically stated, “we didn’t have time to read your submission, but if you’d like to submit again you can.”
I was devastated.
Yet, something pushed me to try again.
I submitted my proposal for “An Angel in the Distance” to two publishers, expecting the same result again. One morning in late February, I got the email with a contract attached.
It was finally happening. I was getting published.
In August of 2015, “An Angel in the Distance” was released, followed by my other book, “When the Italian Came to Stay” in November of the same year. It was remarkable news for an unremarkable year.
Four years later, I published the sequel to “An Angel in the Distance” called, “Angels in Darkness.” While the first book in the series has a Cinderella arc steeped in 15th-Century Renaissance-Era Florence, the second book gave the villain of the series a redemption arc that took me to the brink of my creativity, stretching my imagination in new ways.
It is here that I come to the bittersweet part of the story.
I learned this week that the publisher of both “An Angel in the Distance” and “Angels in Darkness” is pausing their business endeavors and relinquishing the rights to everything they’ve published, meaning both of those books will soon be out of print.
Its sad, but because I am fortunate enough to know this publisher personally, I understand. I pray that either one day she will be able to take my titles back and publish the final book in the trilogy, or that another publisher will snap them up.
A year ago I would have been freaking out about this, but I have a different perspective now. This is a fresh start as an author. I haven’t published anything since 2019, and I’ve been working on a couple of great projects that I can’t wait to share with you! Thank you for your love and support, it means the world to me. I don’t write for my own amusement, I write because the Creator gives me the stories to put out there into the world. I do have a passion and drive for it that has never gone away, and I’m thankful for that. It is what is going to keep me going and get my next series in print.
If you’ve thought about checking out one of my books, I would recommend doing it soon before they’re out of print. Click the title links to learn more about “An Angel in the Distance,” and “Angels in Darkness.”
Thank you again for your support! I’ll do my best to keep you posted.
Happy Reading and Writing!