Newly Released Novel from Laid Off Secretary Written in Four Days
Diverse Arts Collective helps woman turn job loss
Into an opportunity to follow her dreams
“Married in the Nick of Nine,” a newly released novel published by Diverse Arts Collective, officially launches on June 9, 2012. The company is excited about the book about a woman who wants to meet, fall in love with, and marry “The One” within nine months. But what’s equally interesting is the novel’s inception.
Not too long ago, Alretha Thomas was a secretary at an investment bank. On a Tuesday afternoon, her personnel manager asked to see her right away. “My stomach did a million flips. I whispered a prayer and headed to the conference room like a woman on death row,” Alretha said. Her fears were well-founded: After twelve years with the same firm, she was let go.
Alretha packed her belongings and called her husband with the bad news: She had joined the ranks of the unemployed. But according to Alretha, she had an ace in the hole, and that was her faith. When she prayed for guidance, it dawned on her she was now free to write. A graduate of USC with a degree in journalism, Alretha had always fantasized about a full-time writing career. In fact, she’d gotten an idea for a book earlier that year about a woman who wanted to meet, fall in love with, and marry “The One” before her thirtieth birthday. “I didn’t really believe anything would happen with ‘Married in the Nick of Nine.’ I had two-self-published novels and I didn’t want to self-publish a third. At the time, I had no hopes of getting a deal. I only had about thirty pages written.”
On a Friday, three days after being laid off, Alretha decided to do a test query. “I never expected to get a bite, especially not from my first query. But lo and behold, the agent responded immediately. I was shocked.” When the agent asked to read the entire manuscript, Alretha was filled with a mixture of glee and dread. “I thought about how long it would take me to finish the manuscript and worried that, by the time I was done, the agent would no longer be interested. So I got busy. My husband thought I was crazy.” For the next three days, from four o’clock in the morning until one the next morning, Alretha wrote nonstop. On the following Monday, she received another email from the agent asking if the manuscript had gotten lost in cyberspace. “I couldn’t believe it. By now I was close to finished. I had nearly seventy-thousand words; the book had practically written itself. I felt like Bradley Cooper in the movie “Limitless,” but instead of the fictional drug NZT, I was using faith and prayer to complete what I thought was an impossible task. I emailed the manuscript on Tuesday, September 27, 2011— four days after I started writing the novel and one week after I was laid off!”
Alretha received great feedback from the agent, but did not receive a deal. Encouraged, she began querying other agents and receiving more requests for the manuscript. However, after several passes, she decided it was time to let someone other than an agent read her work. So she reached out to Renni Browne at “The Editorial Department.” “I was told that my concept was great and my writing solid, but ‘Married in the Nick of Nine’ needed more work to get to the next level.” Alretha took in the feedback she received from Jesse Steele, an editor assigned to her novel and diligently worked on her book. After being laid off for four months, Alretha’s manuscript was ready for resubmission.
Alretha resubmitted her novel, and received positive reviews about her writing and the concept, but was told countless times by agents, that because of the sluggish economy and her status as a first-time author, they would be hardpressed to sell her book. Determined to introduce her story to the world, after several months, Alretha decided to self-publish through Diverse Arts Collective.
“Married in the Nick of Nine” is now available on Amazon.com. For more information regarding Alretha and or her novel, please go to http://www.Marriedinthenickofnine.com.