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A Dream Realized

Posted by on in Married in the Nick of Nine
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“We have an offer on Married.” Those were the words that appeared in the subject line of an email I received from my agent, Stacey Donaghy, on January 4, 2014. Only four days into the New Year, and I was on the brink of realizing my dream—my dream to become a published author. “Married is “Married in the Nick of Nine,” the first book in the four-part Cass and Nick series. Deborah Gilbert, Founder and Senior Editor at Soul Mate publishing (how apropos), was interested in my baby! I nearly broke my fingers trying to read the entire email and respond. After fifteen years of trying to land an agent and a publishing deal, the day had finally come.

Not only did Soul Mate want “Married in the Nick of Nine,” they wanted the entire Cass and Nick series—“Married in the Nick of Nine,” “The Baby in the Window,” “One Harte, Two Loves,” and “Renee’s Return.” “Married in the Nick of Nine,” will be released in July 2014. They were offering me a four-book deal! Thank you, Jesus. After fifteen years, my prayers had finally been answered. I was determined not to give up. In fact if you look in the dictionary under determined, you will find my smiling face.

I knew I was destined to become a writer when my fifth grade teacher chose and read my short story aloud to the classroom. However, I had no idea the road getting there would be so long and winding. After graduating with a journalism degree from U.S.C., I soon realized my heart was not into journalism and that I wanted to write stories rather than report them.


My journey began in 1999 when I wrote my debut novel “Daughter Denied.” Upon completion, I pitched the story to agents and publishers, but there were no bites. I spent a few years pitching the novel and then shelved it for several years. I was told my writing was strong and even came close to landing representation on a few occasions, but in the end there was no deal. The reasons varied from the market being too competitive for a first time author to a lack of interest in my story. Then in 2008, inspired by Obama’s decision to run for president, I decided to self-publish.


“Daughter Denied,” loosely based on my childhood, was embraced by readers across the country. This inspired me to write my second novel, “Dancing Her Dreams Away.” Again, I sought representation to no avail. Instead of quitting, I forged ahead and self-published “Dancing Her Dreams Away,” in 2011.


In 2012, three became the charm when my novel, Married in the Nick of Nine, piqued the interest of my agent. I was at the hair salon when I received an email from Stacey expressing how much she loved the story about a woman who wants to meet, fall in love with, and marry “The One” within nine months. I almost fell out of my stylist’s chair when I read the message. Stacey signed me and then began to pitch my book to editors. After a year, Deborah Gilbert of Soul Mate publishing, also impressed with my writing and storytelling ability, made an offer.


It’s a long awaited dream come true! Why didn’t I ever give up? I tried, but over the years I became addicted to trying. There was a fire burning inside me that I couldn’t put out. I believe God put that fire in me and I thank him for this wonderful blessing! 



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Born in Oakland and raised in San Francisco, playwright and author, Alretha Thomas is making her name through her pen. She started at the age of ten, when her 5th grade teacher picked and read her short story assignment in front of the class – that simple, loving act empowered a new writer. A graduate of U.S.C., Alretha’s plays have graced numerous Southern California stages. Her most recent production, “One Woman, Two Lives,” starred Kellita Smith of the Bernie Mac Show. Her debut novel, “Daughter Denied” was launched in 2008 and has received glowing reviews from readers and book clubs across the country. Her second novel “Dancing Her Dreams Away,” launched in 2011 and was also well-received. “Married in the Nick of Nine” is her third novel and she recently completed the sequel, “The Baby in the Window.” Alretha says the one and only upside to her 350-mile-a-week-commute, is that it gives her ample time to come up with story ideas. When not in bumper–to-bumper traffic she enjoys going to the movies, blogging, and spending time with her husband Roy.