It’s never too late – Maureen Leurck

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By Maureen Leurck

The theme of my new novel, Cicada Summer, is second chances. It explores the question: is it ever too late for a second chance?

The main character, Alex, is renovating a historic house and hoping to transform it into a home again, while wrestling with her feelings about her divorce and what the next stage of her life might look like. She believes that the house deserves love and care, and while she encounters setbacks that make her doubt the outcome, she holds fast to the belief that she’s on the right path. What I never realized while I was writing the book, was how it would come to mirror my journey in publishing.

Many years ago, I had two humorous women’s fiction books published under my maiden name. It was during the time when “chick lit” was in the downswing, and the books didn’t take off in the way I had hoped. While I was disappointed, I had assumed my career would continue as planned. Yet, it was years before I would sell another women’s fiction book. During that time, I wrote two different books, and revised them many times. It was a time when I was tempted to give up on any hope of ever selling another book, yet I could never stay away from the page for more than a few days.

While I was on submission to editors, I started playing around with another book, one that I thought would serve as a mere distraction until my book on submission sold. When I received an email that the book on submission had been rejected by the final editor, I was walking around the block in a sleep-deprived haze with my six-week-old son.

I stopped, and thought of my “distraction” book, since untouched in the weeks after I had my third child. I sent an email back to my agent, heartbroken, and mentioned the new proposal as a lifeline. She said to send her the manuscript, and I finished the proposal while literally nursing my son. She wrote back a few days after I sent it, and said she loved it. That proposal eventually turned out to be The One, and Cicada Summer sold to Kensington a few months later. After years of frustration, turmoil, and tears, I finally had my own second chance.

Although my journey through publishing has been one filled with hills and valleys, I can honestly say that there is nothing as sweet as a second chance, and it’s never too late.

Maureen Leurck graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and three children. She escapes up to Wisconsin for a good fish fry as often as possible.

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