Before she landed a publishing deal — before she made her debut as a novelist this year — Gardnerville resident Tracy Clark wondered whether her dreams of being an established author would ever come true.
Her three previous books hadn’t sold as she’d hoped, and Clark was busy working on her fourth: a young adult fiction called “Scintillate” about a girl who falls in love and sets out to find her missing mother.
“I got on the verge of thinking about giving up,” she told a group of George Whittell High School students Tuesday.
“Scintillate” was eventually picked up and published by Entangled Publishing, who wanted Clark to turn the tale into a romantic trilogy.
Clark agreed, and she released the first installment Feb. 4.
“Suddenly I went from ‘Oh my God, my dreams won’t come true’ to “Oh my God, my dreams just came true,’” she said.
Clark talked about her book to more than 30 attentive students. She told them how the story was thought up on the cusp of a broken friendship, and how some characters and settings were taken from real-life experiences.
She also talked about the process it took to finally reach her dream of getting published.
Clark, a stay-at-home mother of two, wrote the draft to what eventually became the 304-page book in about six to eight months. She did this by working on the novel whenever she could, sometimes writing between eight and ten hours a day.
After she was done, she submitted “Scintillate” to an editorial board in 2012. The book was initially rejected, but not for long.
“I thought this book was, you know, kind of dead in the water,” she said, “and then a year later (I’m) sitting in the doctor’s office, and I got the call that they wanted the trilogy. So, that was amazing.”
So far the book has received mostly positive reviews online. Several Whittell students — such as eighth-grader Jamie Harrison — also gave it high praise.
“I thought it was a really great book. There were lots of good surprises in it,” Harrison said, adding that seeing the author and hearing her story was inspiring as a hopeful novelist.
Whittell librarian Toni Samuel agreed, saying the author’s visit was encouraging to the students in attendance.
“They get so excited,” she said. “To speak to a real author is inspiring to them.”
The second book in what is called the Light Key Trilogy is already complete, Clark said, and will be published early next year.
The third book, which Clark just started, will be published in early 2016.