Sunday, February 24, 2013

Birthing an Elephant—I mean Novel!

I am pleased to introduce you to Carol Fragale Brill. She is author to the recently released novel Peace by Piece. I for one love hearing about an author's journey from idea to published novel. Read and find out how Carol did it. I just bought her novel and can't wait to start reading!

Carol Fragale Brill

Years ago, there was a poster on the conference room wall where I worked that jokingly referred to birthing an elephant. Now, it’s been over 20 years so I am paraphrasing, but it went something like, “Working here is like birthing an elephant, it takes months and months, is accompanied by a herd of screeching and grumbling, and often creates a huge mess.”

Lately, I’ve wondered if the author of that quote was a novelist—or more specifically, a novelist trying to get the fruits of their elephantine labor published.

When I started writing Peace by Piece about 15 years ago, I had no idea how amazing and challenging a journey writing a novel would be. To say there have been ups and downs is an understatement.

On the up side—there was the thrill of reaching “The End” of Peace by Piece the first time, over 10 years ago, and (on the down side) naively thinking it was done! On the up side: the first time an agent offered me representation—followed by her retirement from agenting a few months later with my manuscript still in her unsold pile—a decidedly, gut wrenching down!

Over the years, there have been times that both my writing and ego were shredded by other writers offering “supportive” critique. Like the time a trusted mentor told me I was trying too hard to sound literary, should scrap the 100+ plus pages I had written except for a few sentences, and start my novel again. “OUCH.” The biggest downer after reflection was that he was right. I cut and pasted that one salvageable paragraph, and started over from scratch.

There were also remarkable highs—the first time a piece I wrote placed at the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference, the time readers selected my short story as a favorite for The Philadelphia Stories Anthology, when Homerun Clara, the tribute essay about my mom was accepted on the first submission, being named first runner-up in a Poets and Writers contest—clearly my most prestigious recognition rejection to date.

I don’t share this with you just to whine, or brag, or discourage writers from writing, or others from following their passion. What I have learned on this journey is priceless, and goes far beyond learning writing craft. I have learned about me and my resilience and perseverance and what I am willing to risk in order to follow my dream.

And I share it to remind myself and others that like every mother elephant has learned, the mess, and screeching, and woe melt away the first time you see your name on your novel’s cover and cradle your book proof in your hands.

So what about you? What ups and down are you willing to bear to see your dream come true?
What is Peace by Piece about?
Front Cover
Peace by Piece
Congrtulations Carol!
Six years after fleeing college and Thomas’s betrayal, Maggie has nearly given up on love. Enter Izzie, a motherless eight year old, and every maternal instinct kicks-in. There is no first love thrill with Izzie's dad, but Maggie lets herself believe loving Izzie will be enough to finally lock Thomas out of her heart.

            Dealing with unshakable first love, family, relationships, the difficulties of being a step-partent--all overshadowed by the curse of anorexia and bulimia--Peace by Piece is ultimately about hope and second chances.


Carol Fragale Brill’s novel, Peace by Piece is available at:


  1. Congratulations, Carol!!! And much success!!!

  2. Good on you for persevering Carol. Congratulations on your book and love the cover

    1. Thanks Dale. I remember hearing early in my writing career that what often separates successful writers from less successful ones is perseverance--and lucky for me that is one of my top traits.
      thanks for stopping by

  3. Congratulations, Carol on your recent release! Loved your analogy with the elephant...very apropos! Thank you, Peggy, for the introduction to not only Carol but also her book that definitely needs checking into further.

    1. Sharla, your apropos comment makes me think you must be a writer, too :)
      thanks for checking into PEACE BY PIECE