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My First Sale by Tate Hallaway

tate4Welcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Tate Hallway writes paranormal romance for Berkley. The latest Garnet Lacey story, Dead If I Do, is in stores now.


Nothing in my life has ever been accomplished by going in a straight line. I started college thinking I’d be a political science major, and ended up with degrees in both English and history. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a comic book artist or maybe lawyer (since I loved debate club so much). Now I write books.

My path to publication was equally crooked and full of left turns, false starts, and any number of surprises.

On-the-job boredom inspired me to start a novel. My first attempt, which has thankfully never been published, was a story about a twenty-something lesbian who is mistaken for a boy and entangled in a prophesy involving reuniting Northern Ireland and the Republic. There were a lot of difficult-to-market aspects to that book, not the least of which was the sympathetic IRA gunman hero and the fact that the lesbian ends up having an affair with him. Not to mention that the whole thing suffered very much from being the first novel I ever wrote from start to finish. There were a lot of long, boring stretches of "As you know, Bob," where I informed the reader of every aspect of Irish fairy lore I’d ever read.

dead-if-i-doHowever, it got me curious. If I finish this thing, what do I do with it? A lot of the friends that I foisted my proto-book on agreed that it was better than they thought it would be and told me I should really think about publishing it- like that was something I could just, you know, go out and do, like applying for college or something. Since the path to publication wasn’t at all self-evident, I ended up taking a class at a wonderful institution called "The Loft" here in Minneapolis/St. Paul (

Best move of my life, and probably the most straight-forward. From my instructor (and later my colleagues, with whom I started a writers’ critique group that’s still meeting nearly fifteen years later,) I got all the basics about craft and the submission process. Of course, at the time, I thought I was going to be a science fiction novelist-.

Four published books and a failed career later, I’ve finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. Well, at least for now.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Carolyn Jewel
    May 11, 2009 @ 08:15:08

    What a great story! This was fun to read. You know, I think that IRA gunman/ Lesbian story could find a home today. Thanks for sharing!

  2. anon
    May 11, 2009 @ 08:43:46

    I loved TALL, DARK and DEAD! Looking forward to this new one!

  3. Janine
    May 11, 2009 @ 11:52:35

    Thanks for sharing your story. The Loft sounds like a great place.

  4. ReacherFan
    May 11, 2009 @ 13:16:20

    I read her Tall, Dark and Dead a long time ago and I’m doing my level best best to back into her ‘world’ in Dead Sexy. It’s slow going at the moment.

  5. Jory Strong
    May 11, 2009 @ 16:09:53

    It’s interesting where the muse can take an author. If I’m not mistaken, the four books before Tall, Dark and Dead were written under a different name, and those were absolutely fantastic. Wish you’d write more of them.

  6. Tate Hallaway
    May 12, 2009 @ 12:54:53

    Yes, Jory, the other books were written under Lyda Morehouse, and, though I just missed my deadline, I’m still hoping to publish a prequel to those books with a small publisher called Mad Norwegian Press. Cross your fingers!

    And thanks for everyone’s comments so far! I’m glad you enjoyed my twisted path to publishing!

  7. Jane George
    May 12, 2009 @ 13:55:48

    Congrats on the phoenix-like second leg of your writing career! I haven’t yet picked up Dead If I do, but Garnet is my favorite fun witch-lit heroine. I’m looking forward to a delightful read.

    From all appearances, Minneapolis is a great town for writers. Keep ’em coming. And I would definitely read your IRA story.

  8. Laramie Sasseville
    May 12, 2009 @ 15:25:53

    I thought the lesbian/IRA story had a lot going for it, though it’s the Pookah I remember most fondly.

  9. Kenyon, St Crow & More | Literary Escapism
    Jun 24, 2009 @ 21:28:48

    […] Tate Hallaway, author of the Garnet Lacey series, at Dear Author […]

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