June 30, 2011

Made It Moment: Jacqueline Seewald

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 7:50 am

The Truth Sleuth

As soon as I saw the cover of Jacqueline Seewald’s latest book, I knew I had to write and tell her how lovely it was. Encounter led to encounter and soon I’d asked Jacquie to contribute a Made It Moment. How funny when I read it and found that a much earlier cover both figured into her ideas about making it–and one of the inevitable disappointments that often lie along this making it path. Many writers have said here in this forum that they haven’t fully “made it”–and some don’t even want to. To paraphrase one recent author, What would I do once I had? But Jacqueline Seewald has a slight different take–one I think many readers may relate to. I know I did. Please read on.

Jacquelyn Seewald

Never too early, Never too late

You never forget your first experience as a published author. What can I say? It’s definitely a “made it moment.”  When my gothic novel was accepted, I was thrilled. I recall bursting into tears of joy. I was finally an author. I had been recognized. I had arrived!

I had stopped working as an English teacher several years before and was spending my time as a full-time house frau, mother of two toddlers, and part-time writer. My dream had always been to write a spectacular bestseller. The fact is, I started writing way back in elementary school, winning several school essay contests. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. And I thought this was the start of making that dream become a career reality.

I was delighted when my book came out in paperback. It even had a tasteful, beautiful cover.  Unfortunately, my “advance” of $500 as promised in the contract was never paid.  Worse still, I soon discovered that the publisher had gone into bankruptcy.

My husband and I visited the publisher’s office in Manhattan. The editor-in-chief met with us and offered 50 copies of my novel.  We loved the cover art and he promised the original copy would be included as payment as well—but no money.

I did receive the copies of the novel, just not the painting of the cover.  The experience turned out to be a disappointing one overall.  But I never lost my enthusiasm for communicating the written word, never gave up on writing, or trying to get my work published. There is great satisfaction in seeing one’s words and ideas in print.  It’s a unique and special experience.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with many forms of written communications: essays, articles, novels, plays, short stories and poetry.  The creation of each work is much like giving birth to a child.  There is pain but also pleasure not to mention pride.

It is not possible to get everything one writes published—nor should writers consider all their work worthy of publication. I for one am not on that kind of ego trip. I’m still trying to write something outstanding, still attempting to produce that best-selling novel, still hoping to be “discovered”.  Truthfully, it will probably be my last thought on my deathbed.  But I have no regrets. I could no more stop writing than I could stop breathing. I write because I can’t not write. It’s simply what I do and who I am.

I’ve had a great deal of work published since that first experience. Every time something is accepted, published and paid for, I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment and elation.

One of the benefits of retirement is that I can now indulge myself. I have time to write professionally which I was denied when I was working full time as an English teacher and later on as an academic librarian and an educational media specialist while raising a family.

When my husband convinced me to take an early retirement so that I could start writing full time and also spend more time with him, since he was already retired, I insisted on only one thing.  The condition for me leaving my job was that we immediately buy a new computer with internet capability for our home. My retirement has given me the opportunity to do what I always wanted to do, namely become a dedicated, professional freelance writer.

My latest novel, THE TRUTH SLEUTH, third in the Kim Reynolds mystery series, was published by Five Star/Gale this month and is starting to appear in libraries all over the country. Have I succeeded in making my dream come true? Well, let’s just say that it’s still a dream in progress, but I’m working on it!

Multi-award winning author Jacqueline Seewald has taught creative, expository and technical writing at the university level as well as high school English. She also worked as an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Eleven of her books of fiction have been published. Her short stories as well as poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies. Her paranormal romantic mystery novels, THE INFERNO COLLECTION and THE DROWNING POOL, have been widely acclaimed. The third romantic mystery in the Kim Reynolds series, THE TRUTH SLEUTH, is a new release. Her recent historical romance set in the Regency period TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS is available in both hardcover and large print editions. A young adult novel, STACY’S SONG, was also published to excellent reviews.


  1. What a journey! Congratulations on keeping on track to achieve those dreams. Sounds like retirement is agreeing with you, and that means more stories for us. Thanks!
    Happy writing,

    Comment by Nancy Naigle — June 30, 2011 @ 9:03 am

  2. Your story is all our stories in many ways (particularly those of us who can’t not write!). Most of us, even the big name authors, weren’t an over night success. Yeah, there are a few, but behind most “over night successes” there is usually a story of struggle and of persevering when there seemed to be no reason to keep going. Congrats on all your success and on not giving up. ;-)

    Comment by Pauline Baird Jones — June 30, 2011 @ 9:42 am

  3. Loved your “made it moment,” Jacquie. It’s so difficult to get published, and then to have your publisher mess around with you . . . well, that just sucks. Unfortunately, you’re not alone, but at least you persevered. I’m glad you recovered from that blow and continued to write and submit!

    Comment by Alice Duncan — June 30, 2011 @ 10:26 am

  4. Jacqueline I also love the new cover and thank you for sharing with us your “made it moment”. I can’t wait to read it

    Comment by debbie — June 30, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  5. Congrats on your new release. It is, indeed, a struggle to make that first sale after so much disappointment. Then to have it all come tumbling down as yours did, must have been a big blow. All of us writers certainly know how hard it is to keep going in the face of adversity. Glad you kept up.

    Comment by Joyce DeBacco — June 30, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  6. Nancy, Pauline, Alice and Joyce,

    Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts. “Making It” is often a state of mind. I know people who feel they are successful writers because one poem was published. What matters is how it makes us feel.

    Right now, I’m pleased because THE TRUTH SLEUTH has started garnering some lovely comments from readers. That for me is very important.

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — June 30, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  7. What an inspirational story, Jaquie!

    Love it that you prevailed and keep putting out great stories! Good for you!

    Comment by D'Ann Linscott-Dunham — June 30, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  8. Thanks for sharing! While it’s never pleasant to go through things like you did with your publisher, it’s always nice to think about things like that to help put all the good things in perspective.

    Comment by Gary Hoover — June 30, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  9. Hi, Gary,

    There are a lot of sharks out there in the publishing world, but a lot of honest good people as well. As writers, we just have to be careful.

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — June 30, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

  10. Way to hang in there,Jacqueline. I wish you the best of luck. No lesson learned is a bad lesson.


    Comment by rick Murcer — June 30, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  11. What a great story! I love that Jacqueline didn’t let that first publishing experience stop her. We’d all love for our first published book to take off but that rarely happens. Sticking with it and pursuing your dream in small steps is very admirable. It take a lot of patience and endurance if you want to make it in this industry. Jacqueline seems to have both!

    Comment by Kelly Hashway — June 30, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

  12. I think it’s odd (and I realize it happens frequently) that publishing houses renig on deals. How can this happen? I guess they figure they have attorneys on retainer and us “little folk” have nothing. I would bet that word gets around somehow, and that other writers do not use these unscrupulous houses. It sure is hard to know who to trust … And Wow, her husband encouraged her to retire to write full time. As Dory said in Nemo – “Just keep swimming!”

    Comment by Karen S. Elliott — June 30, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

  13. Thanks, Rick. I’ve learned to be careful with publishers. Sometimes it’s
    better not to accept a contract. Live and learn!

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — June 30, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  14. What an absolutely lovely story. Thank you, Jenny, for introducing her to me.

    Comment by sandy wolters — June 30, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  15. Thanks for all the equally lovely comments, everybody. I agree, Jacquie’s is a story that reflects at least a part of all our journeys. I’m so glad you all were here for it.

    Comment by jenny — June 30, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

  16. This is such an inspiring story – thanks so much for sharing it!

    Comment by Alison DeLuca — June 30, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

  17. Jacquie’s first experience with a publisher was bad but at least she had been accepted by one. That in itself must have been enough to encourage her to carry on writing. There are many of us who may never be seen or accepted by a mainstream publisher but cannot help but write.I suspect Jacqui would have been one of those had she not been discovered. The words are there and just have to find a way out. In my case I started writing by accident and late in life though I’d always had ideas. I know I may never be discovered but at least Ihave the thrill of seeing my name in print through Lulu and have the pleasure of pleasing my family who love my stories, I’m lucky also that so do all the people who’ve bought the books and compared me to P G Wodehouse or James Herriot for descriptiveness. That makes me feel much better and gives me hope. Thanks for the inspiration to keep going Jacqui even if it is to the deathbed thoughts of discovery.

    Comment by David Prosser — July 1, 2011 @ 1:29 am

  18. Thank you all for the kind and supportive comments. If there’s one thing I have learned as a writer it’s that although writing is mostly a solitary profession, it’s really important to interact and connect with other authors. It makes all the difference.

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — July 1, 2011 @ 5:31 am

  19. I love what you said about writing because you can’t NOT write. Truthfully, that’s whats at the heart of it, always.

    Comment by Karyne — July 1, 2011 @ 9:25 am

  20. It’s good that you reminded us that not everything a writer writes deserves publication. True for everyone! I’m sorry about your first novel–what a bummer. I wish you much success with this series and hope it continues on and on!

    Comment by Kaye George — July 1, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  21. As Ben Franklin said, experience is the best teacher. As far as writing, we do improve the quality of our work by continuing to write. Rewriting and editing make a real difference. My goal is to always continue writing better work. Hopefully, each new novel reflects this.

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — July 1, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  22. I really enjoyed the interview. I loved learning more about you, Jacqueline.

    What a first experience into the writing world you had. Wow.

    I hope one day to write full time, too. I’m with you. I write because I cannot imagine a world without doing so.:)

    Take care and I wish you the very best with your books. :)

    Comment by Karen Michelle Nutt — July 2, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  23. Thanks, Karen. I wish you success with your new western. I love the genre myself.

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — July 3, 2011 @ 8:48 am

  24. Congratulations on your stamina! And the very best of luck with all of your books, which I am going to check out right now. We do not get the chance here in Australia to buy a lot of the novels published in other countries, so the internet is a blessing for me.
    I love the photo of The Truth Sleuth; it’s intriguing and makes me want so much to turn the cover and delve right into it :)

    Hugs from Australia,


    Comment by Diana Hockley — July 5, 2011 @ 2:16 am

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