I mentioned earlier that I would answer reader letters today. (I’ve been lax!) It’s a chore—but invariably a pleasure.

One young reader wrote with these questions:

I have always had a vague interest in writing historical fiction. How did you get into it? Do you have another job besides writing? How did you find a publisher?

I answered:
I got into writing novels because I love books and I wanted to write. I was a book editor at the time. I found an agent before I found a publisher, but it took many, many, many years. My advice is to persevere and just do it. Create a novel that you would want to read. Don’t even think about trying to publish it until you have written five drafts, and all the readers you recruit to read it love it. It’s rare to be able to publish a first novel, so think of yourself as being a student of writing. Writing is enough of a reward in itself.