Geraciís first book, "Bunco Babes Tell All," a contemporary romance centering on a group of friends who gather weekly to play Bunco, was published in May 2009, marking the beginning of a second career for the Florida resident who has worked in nursing since 1985. An avid reader, Geraci decided to try her hand at writing fiction in 2002 when her husband embarked on a three-week business trip. "When I dropped my husband off at the airport, he asked what I was going to do while he was gone and I told him Iíd probably clean the house," Geraci said. "I realized how boring that sounded, and I decided instead to try writing one of the romance books that I enjoyed reading."
For years, Geraci and her nursing co-workers had compared notes on romance novels and swapped paperbacks at work.
While Geraci describes her first book as a disaster, it didnít deter her. She joined a writing critique group to improve her prose and entered a contest sponsored by Romantic Times magazine. While her manuscript didnít win the competition, she did land an agent she met while attending the Romance Writers of Americaís annual convention. "I pitched the concept for my 'Bunco Babesí novel to her and she said if I wrote it, she could sell it and she did," Geraci said.
Her most recent release, "A Girl Like You," about a magazine editor who is asked to interview an elusive NASCAR driver whom she knew in high school, was published in August 2012 and has been nominated as a 2013 Romance Writers of America RITA finalist for a novel with strong romantic elements. Winners will be announced July 20 at the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta. "I typically work the night shift, allowing me time to write during the day and on my days off," Geraci said. "My three children are grown now, but when they were younger, I would jot down stories on a notepad while I waited to pick them up from school."
Geraci is at work on her fifth book and offers aspiring writers tips for getting published. She said itís important for them to find their own unique writing voice, which can be a struggle for many new writers. Voice is the style and the quality that makes a personís writing unique. "My agent said that I had a strong contemporary voice," Geraci said.
Geraci said itís important to write the book you want to read. "Youíre never going to please each and every reader, so ultimately you need to write for yourself and to feel good about the book youíre writing," she said. "Every character I write about is a different facet of my own personality. I also get a lot of great anecdotes and dialogue ideas from my coworkers."
Her next tip: Donít let rejection sideline you. "Several other writers started out at the same time I did, but arenít writing anymore because of the rejections they received from publishers," Geraci said. "Rejections are part of the publishing process."
Lastly, she said, find a niche, then an agent. "Once you decide what genre youíre going to write, look at similar books and learn what agent represents these authors," Geraci said. "Often new agents are also amenable to working with new writers." Writers.net also offers a free directory of literary agents.
For information on Geraciís most recent book releases (pictured above) and her other books, visit MariaGeraci.com.
Linda Childers is a freelance writer. Post a comment below or email editorSouth@nurse.com.