CARA KING
Author/Columnist



I've loved books for as long as I can remember, and I've always wanted to be a writer. Of course, I also wanted to be Julie Andrews, but eventually I realized that I can't sing...and hey, there already is a Julie Andrews. Then when my grades in math and science were better--or at least more consistent--than my English grades, I decided to be an engineer. I actually majored in chemistry at Harvey Mudd College for a year or two, before deciding that my life was too short to spend on something I merely liked. So I transferred to the University of Redlands, and majored in creative writing.

My roommate (and co-writer on the Mudd newspaper "The Muddraker") Heather introduced me to Regency romances my freshman year, and my ignorant contempt for the genre changed to delight. So when I spent my junior year abroad at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, studying under such writers as Rose Tremain (who hadn't yet written "Restoration") and Malcolm Bradbury (a true gentleman), I began writing a Regency.

To date, I've completed that Regency, a short traditional romance, a young adult novel, and several science fiction short stories. In various stages of completion are a children's book and a romantic suspense novel. I've entered quite a few contests (can you say contest junkie, anyone?), and occasionally won, placed, received money, or had an editor ask to see my work. (I've also been told my characters are unlikeable, my pace as slow as glue, and my conflict totally unworkable. Such are contests!) I've attended the RWA national conferences at St Louis and Anaheim, as well as other writer's conferences, and I highly recommend them to anyone.

I've been submitting to publishers for several years now, and though I'm not yet published in fiction, I can see how much I've improved, both in my writing and my understanding of the industry. Twice I have heard back from an editor within three weeks. Twice I have never heard anything from an editor (on a complete which she had requested): once for two years, once for three. Such is the writing life!

For the last two years, I've been a theater and film critic for the Goleta "Valley Voice." For an opinionated person like me, it's a thrill not only to be paid for my writing, but to be paid for telling people what I think. Coming from my large family (we had 41 people over one Thanksgiving) I'm more used to having to hit people over the head to make them listen--not have them pay me to do it. What bliss.

At the moment, I'm hard at work revising three manuscripts--each requested by a different editor. So who knows what the future holds? One can only hope....and keep on writing.