I didn't set out to write a romance, and was surprised when everyone who read Where Love Once Lived thought it was one. Perhaps the title mislead them. Thinking my writing classmates might be right, I moved my story closer and closer to a romance as it developed. I joined the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and submitted the manuscript to romance contests. It won first place in the romance division of the Writers' League of Texas manuscript contest and third place in an RWA chapter contest in Houston. I queried White Rose Publishing and, after they read the first three chapters, I was asked to send the whole manuscript to them for consideration. After a short time, the editor suggested deleting some of the subplots. It sounded as if that was all it would take to get a contract, so I made the changes and resubmitted it. Here is what I received next:
Thank you for submitting to White Rose Publishing. I still enjoy your story, Where Love Once Lived, and it’s always wonderful to see characters get a second chance at love. I sincerely regret that I must pass on it.
Your story is well-written and the characters are realistic, but while there is romance in the story, it’s not the main focus. For a story to be considered a romance, the relationship between the hero and heroine should be the main focus and take up a majority of the pages. The hero and heroine should be together as much as possible and thinking about each other when they’re apart. Where Love Once Lived is a story about Brian’s personal growth rather than the relationship between him and Karen. As I said, it’s a wonderful story, it’s just not right for White Rose Publishing. Should you write a romance in the future, I do hope you’ll keep us in mind.
Thanks again for submitting to White Rose Publishing. I wish you all the best in your continued search for the perfect publisher for Where Love Once Lived.
So, it's not a romance. But that's okay. I didn't mean for it to be. Here are the words from the end of the book that explain the title and the story:
On the drive back in the bookmobile, with his fiancée beside him, Brian felt a bliss he'd not experienced before. He once thought getting back to the place where he last felt love was all he needed. But now he knew the love he had with Karen was doubly rich and wonderful because God’s love was back in his heart as well. Back where it once lived.
How about you? Do you have the love of God in your heart?