On Sunday, June 7, Dena Fields sat at a table in the Logan County Public Library for a book-signing for her new, and her first, book, Eleven Roses.
The book is a romance novel and is set in St. Louis, MO. The story’s main characters are a survivor of sexual assault and a troubled veteran. The book has had some early success and good reviews in the romance novel genre.
Perhaps a story appealing to a wider audience is the author’s journey.
Dena Fields is a native of Logan County. If she had not decided to leave school in the eleventh grade, she would have been a graduate from Auburn High School in 1980.
Sometime after leaving school, Ms. Fields earned a G.E.D. and enrolled in college. As she began work as a hairdresser 35 years ago, she began a personal quest, of sorts, to put on paper a story that she couldn’t seem to avoid writing.
This is her first publication, but its sequel, “The Twelfth Rose” will be released in a few months. In the works for Ms. Fields are two more books, “Yellow Rose” and Black Rose” each following closely after the previous.
“It took 15 years to write the first book,” she says, “and the second took 45 minutes to come up with the plot and a few months to actually put it to paper.” Ms. Fields explains that as soon as the second book was finished, “The idea popped into my mind to do the third and fourth books.”
The writing muse seems to have infected Ms. Fields. “Yeah I think what really helped me was a seminar by romance novel writer Teresa Mederios.” Medeiros is an award-winning Romance and Fantasy writer, and a member of Kentucky Romance Writers and Novelists, Inc. It was the ending for Eleven Roses that had Ms. Fields stalled for a long time. Mederios’ advise to “not think” but to let the book “write itself” helped.
From that point, Ms. Fields described a kind of stream of consciousness writing that helped the first book to flow to completion and right into the sequel. She recalls reading over what she had written and thinking, “Did I write that?”
“So it just came out of my mind and I didn’t have to think about it.” She added.
In the fifteen-year process of writing Eleven Roses, Ms. Fields was constantly aware of the project. “I would work on it then would put it up for like three months and it would dig at me and eat at me. I would feel myself thinking, this is a book you have to finish writing this is a book you have to do. Then I would get it back out and write some more. Then I would put it up again, and then get it back out.”
It wasn’t always an easy task. “There were several times I would get it out, read over what I had written, think, ‘This is a mess’ and throw it out and start over again.” She said.
“I did that over and over for like—well 15 years.” She said with a smile. “And I’ll tell you actually I went back to school in 2012 for Business School, and that’s when I started the last (re-write) over up to the last chapter. I couldn’t figure out how to end the book. I attended the Teresa Mederias seminar and after that I finished it.”
Finishing Eleven Roses opened the floodgates and the stories continue to flow. Ms. Fields has created a parallel world for her characters in her stories. She had wanted to finish the first book for a long time. By the time it was done, she knew there would be a sequel. But,“I had no idea there would be a third and a fourth book.” she added.
As she gets ideas now, she quickly makes notes on her laptop and returns as soon as possible to fill-in the details. “It will come to me as I’m writing it. But I cannot think about it—if I do try to think something that I want to put in it that’s when I have to put it up, because it won’t work for me.”
The book has been available for about a month now at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, as an E-Book, and on the website for Austin Brothers Publishing. The book has done well so far.
Ms. Fields offered this advice for would be writers. “If you want to write a book and you’re not sure how, buy some note cards and write down your ideas” she said. “Then take the main idea and work around it, because you want that main idea to be the middle of your book.” She describes a simple method of writing ideas on cards, later expanding the ideas into paragraphs and plot points, then arranging the cards in an order around the main idea you have for the book.