Utah native Scarlette Pike reflects on writing her first novel and encourages others to pursue authorship.
Becoming a published author had not initially been Pike’s goal. “I went from working 60 hours a week managing Marriott hotels to nothing. I thought I was pregnant and none of the hotels would hire me. The week after my son was born, I realized even a newborn baby was not enough to occupy me, I needed to find me something to do,” Pike said.
Pike said that being desperate and broke lead her to pray for help. Through the night she dreamt of a Victorian heiress who decided to run away. This lead to her writing and publishing her book In Spite of Lions.
Trying to discover where her main character Anna would go lead Pike to research missions of that era. In the Victorian era, missionaries went to India, China and Africa. For Pike, neither India nor China seemed right.
“I looked at Africa and found the journals of David Livingstone, who was the first major white explorer in central Africa,” said Pike.
“He had one Christian convert who was the chief of an African village. The stories about Livingstone meeting this Chief and the Chief’s conversion story were amazing. I fell in love with their brotherhood and I thought of my heiress, Anna.”
While writing her novel, the UVU and Orem Libraries provided numerous resources when Pike needed additional information that wasn’t available online.
“One of the reps at the Orem Library found books from the Smithsonian and he got the Smithsonian to ship them to me,” said Pike. “I also borrowed books from the University of Wisconsin and the Library of Congress. Then in the middle of my research, I started going to UVU and Annie Smith helped me find books and conduct further research.”
“Writing a novel and getting published are easier than you’d think,” Pike said. “It seems really intimidating and like a rare novelty for someone that you know to be published. Actually, it’s not. I have yet to graduate, which I think actually adds to my story. You don’t need to have graduated with the perfect education in order to do these fun adventurous things.”
Pike said, “The hardest part of becoming an author is being vulnerable. It’s bold, but it’s worth it. Your vulnerability is a beautiful thing.”
A crucial step in the publishing process is writing query letters to publishers and pitching the novel. Pike recommends attending writers’ conferences for assistance. She attended the LDS Story Makers who helped her with novel. She wrote twelve query letters and two were accepted.
Pike encourages students and graduates to believe in themselves and take chances. Getting published is attainable at any age and experience level. There are many resources available, including libraries, universities, conferences and even online writing groups that can and will assist authors.
“I had not sought after publishing previously, because I thought if it wasn’t a Harry Potter or a Twilight series, why try?”
It was one of Pike’s professors who told her writing enhances your local culture. “Whatever you write, you contribute to your local literacy, and that is worthwhile even if you don’t catch national frenzy attention,” encouraged Pike’s professor.