You may have heard stories of perseverance in writing – that the author slaved away over the years on a story, was rejected by everyone who read it, and decided to take control of things and try a different route – and succeed. The story is true when it pertains to young adult author Krissi Dallas, whose Phantom Island series was picked up by traditional faith-based publisher Tate Publishing in December 2010.
What began as a love of writing since the moment she could form words, Dallas funneled her talents into writing songs and poems, as well as her first children’s book in the third grade. Not even a hiatus from fiction writing in order to finish college (and the academic writing that goes along with it) stopped Dallas from getting back into gear and writing again.
As a lifelong writer, middle grade teacher and wife of a youth pastor, Dallas has always kept close quarters with her audience. So when it came time to write a story, she did what came naturally – YA.
“I am completely surrounded by teenagers most of the time. Being in constant dialogue with them, reading the books that they read, watching the movies and shows that they watch, traveling with them all over the world… it was probably impossible for someone like me, who already had a love for writing, to not want to sit and write for this kind of audience!”
Her first stories, Windchaser and Windfall (originally one volume entitled Wind), took a mere four months to write, whereas the sequel, Water took two years to complete, and another year of revision. Dallas attributes this to having more time for the first two, and not so much on the sequel.
“I was a full-time teacher, minister’s wife, and new author trying to launch a self-published book. That’s a lot of work and it didn’t leave much time for just writing and creating.”
The stories revolve around teenagers, naturally, with themes of summer camp, portals, a magical island, hot guys, secrets (lots of them), strange powers and kissing.
“And DRAMA!” quips Dallas.
Indeed, after being rejected by more than 65 agents and three publishers, Dallas decided to self-publish her stories. The following was there among her students and teachers. As the story goes, those people told more people, and an audience was born. After a year with good sales records, reviews and awards, Dallas was able to garner more agent requests… but still had not found a home for her stories. Little did she know that she already had a foundation and a cornerstone for what would become a miraculous series of events that not even Dallas could imagine.
In December 2010, Dallas had literally received her last rejection letter from a publisher and decided to go ahead and self-publish Water. It was time, and with a lot of prayers and positive thinking, she went forward. The same day she made this decision, a friend called who knew the Acquisitions Editor at Tate Publishing, wanting to know if Dallas was comfortable with him contacting the editor himself. Dallas agreed, the friend made contact and the editor requested the manuscripts. Within a 24-hour period, the editor contacted Dallas directly, offering contracts for the series, provided she split Wind in half, making the series consist of four stories.
At the end of 2011, Windchaser and Windfall will be re-released nationally, with the others to follow. Dallas is excited to see what will happen, and even though she is unagented, she feels it is not necessary at this point and time.
“There are many different ways today to be successful and reach your goals! Find what works for you and your particular skillset.”
To read more about Dallas’ amazing story, please visit her blog, Krissi’s Konfessions.