For 27 years Bartlett writer Elaine Meece taught at Alturia, Bartlett Elementary, Elmore Park, Millington Central and Riverdale telling her students that she wanted to become a writer when she grew up. So that after retirement, a writer she became. With two published books under her belt and one to be released in January, Meece is fulfilling a dream on her own terms.
“I taught for 27 years and loved every minute of it,” said Meece. “But I knew it was time to move on as schools changed and my job became more administrative and less about learning.”
The self-labeled ‘romantic at heart’ published her first romantic novel, set in Bartlett and Memphis. “Eye of the Abductor” was followed by “Undercurrents” which was set in Van Buren, MO where her and her husband participate in white water rafting. “Dark Side of the Mirror” will be released in January 2012 via Amazon books.
“I had a publisher in the beginning, but I found that I actually could make more money per book and sell more by self-publishing,” said Meece.
Meece said that she once wrote a book about romance between two teachers at an elementary school. She drew heavily upon her experience in the classroom to create a believable atmosphere. Even using real quotes from children that she felt were funny and would add to the storyline. After submitting the book to a major publishing house, Meece received a rejection letter stating that the book was rejected because it just was not believable and the publisher went on to suggest that Meece spend some time in a real classroom. After being an elementary teacher for a quarter of a century, she got a chuckle from that particular rejection.
“If you can’t put yourself out there,” said Meece regarding the critics, “if you can’t handle criticism or rejection, then writing is not for you.”
Meece can certainly handle the critics and has in fact won many awards for her books. She has written a few romantic comedies that she has retained the movie rights-just in case. She also dabbles in chil
dren’s books. Meece is a member of Romance Writer’s of America. She has served as President of River City Romance Writers and is still an active member. She is also a member of Music City Romance Writers. Not only is she involved, but with two daughters and three grandchildren, Meece has lots of support.
“I get the most support from my 13 year old granddaughter,” laughs Meece. “She makes sure that my books are current, the characters are using the ‘right’ cell phones and such.”
In Meece’s home/work space, two things stand out, the abundance of children’s toys and a wide array of research books. The toys are gifts from former students. Meece says that the toys surrounding her are encouragement and inspiration. The books are research tools, from police procedure to foreign languages. Meece says that any good writer must conduct some research at one point or other. Consulting law enforcement for the “Eye of the Abductor” made the book more believable and credible according to Meece.
Meece encourages anyone with a dream to go for it at any age. And if that dream is to write romance novels she suggests starting by networking. One good place to start that networking is at the Bartlett Library where writers meet the first Saturday of every month from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. and the public is welcome, though the group will not meet again this year until November.