June 9, 2009

Made It Moment: James LePore

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:15 am

James LePore -- The World I Never Made
James LePore is the inaugural correspondent for the Made It Moments feature. He is the author of the literary thriller A World I Never Made, which deals with international terrorism, romance, and the care and repair of one imperfect father/daughter bond.

Here’s what Jim wrote:

This is not as easy a topic as it seems. I give “made it” its common meaning, which is essentially to have succeeded, after a struggle of some substantial duration, to the top level of one’s chosen profession or field of endeavor. That being the case, I cannot write on the subject as I have not made it as a writer. However, I have observed the effects of making it on numerous artists and they do give pause for thought. We can all name any number of writers, singer/songwriters, painters, etc. whose early work is authentic and really good, who then descend (often swiftly) into churning out formulaic “art” that sells terrifically because it has their name on it. They are selling a brand that the consuming public either doesn’t know or doesn’t care has become boring and pedestrian.

I can also name a few who, after initial success, continue to strive for excellence. Sometimes they don’t hit the mark, but there is something in their work that speaks of effort and risk and humility, in other words taking the road less traveled.

Do I blame the artists who take the well traveled road for getting rich, for cashing in on their version of the American dream? No. Getting rich is probably a lot of fun. Do I want this to happen to me? The answer is, I want the option. At that point I’ll know I’ve made it. What I’ll do, I don’t know, but stay tuned.


  1. Ah,what a great thought–‘having made it’ is the ability to choose. That’s wonderful.

    I got a fantastic job offer, years ago, job of a lifetime, I had always thought. The one I always wanted. The big
    time in TV. And you know–I turned it down. I decided I would have to give up too much of my personal life. Of course, making such a decision at 40, as I did, is different than making it at 30. But I realized my dreams had changed.

    But! I had been given the option!

    Wonderful and thoughtful idea for a discussion…thanks, Jenny.

    Comment by Hank Phillppi Ryan — June 9, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Hank, and weighing in. More authors are to come, and I think they’ll all prove pretty interesting!

    But Jim’s point about how making it means having choices is thought provoking indeed…

    Comment by jenny — June 9, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  3. Jim:
    Jenny has spoken highly of your novel. I’m looking forward to reading it! And I hope you’ll share more of your actual journey.

    Great idea for a topic! :)

    Comment by Judy — June 9, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

  4. Jim, a few people who have looked at your book asked me how you found your way to its publisher, which is a unique one–perhaps perfectly suited to this changing book economy. Would you mind elaborating a bit on that journey here?


    Comment by jenny — June 11, 2009 @ 9:15 am

  5. Jenny,

    I sold my law practice in 1998 to take pictures and write. I then met Lou Aronica, an editor, who was working on a book with my wife Karen, who is an illustrator. Lou offered to edit the novel I was writing, which he did, very professionally. He helped me get an agent for that book and for a second novel, but they were rejected by the usual—and quite small—list of major publishers, some of whom were kind enough to say the books were “good, but…” My third novel. also edited by Lou, which turned out to be ‘A World I Never Made,’ was rejected by about a hundred agents. I put it away and started doing some law work for my old firm. One day, Lou called and said that he and a partner had founded The Story Plant and asked if I would be interested in having them publish “A World I Never Made.’ I said yes at the speed of light. I am working on a new novel, but we are also working on a plan to publish my fist two novels next year.

    Comment by Jim LePore — June 11, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  6. Jim,

    This is just the kind of story (true life, I mean) that I think so many writers experience. You simply can’t predict what combination of factors will tip a writer over into author territory, ie, end in publication. If your wife hadn’t been working with Mr. Aronica, if you hadn’t gone on to write more than one book, establishing your commitment, if, if, if.

    All I can say is I’m awfully glad you stuck with it long enough to make it happen for I think you’re a wonderful writer! I can’t wait for those next..three!

    Thanks for sharing and being our first featured guest!

    Comment by jenny — June 11, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

  7. Jim,

    Thanks for telling us how it fell into place for you. I personally find the entire process quite maddening!!


    Comment by Judy — June 11, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  8. In a terrible, petty, awful, “misery loves company” kind of way, it’s nice to hear that you were rejected by a hundred agents before hitting it. That’s so true of so many authors. It’s sad, but then again, if you have talent and a story and you hang in there, eventually you’ve got to have numbers on your side (right?!?). It is cool to hear this story.

    It’s funny, I remember seeing a show once where they interviewed the guy who created the “Fame” TV series. Madonna had auditioned and he had turned her down, and the interviewer was like, “Aren’t you just kicking yourself now?” And the guy said, “No. She wasn’t the right person for the job at the time.” That’s how I feel about my books in the past, and the agents who rejected it. They made the right decisions for themselves at the time, and if I ever do well they have nothing to regret. They didn’t get the best version, at the right time, for the best fit for their lists. Nothing wrong with that, and no hard feelings.

    (Except for the guy who asked why there were no vampires in my historical novel, of course.)

    Heh heh.

    Comment by Savvy — June 11, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

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