Laughing at the Tough Sell: guest post by Kristina McMorris

In the midst of World War II, a Midwestern infantryman falls deeply in love through a yearlong letter exchange, unaware that the girl he’s writing to isn’t the one replying. Woven around this tenuous thread are three female friends whose journeys toward independence take unexpected turns as a result of romance, tragedy, and deception, their repercussions heightened by an era of the unknown. “Ambitious and compelling…[a] sweeping debut” (Publishers Weekly), LETTERS FROM HOME is a story of hope and connection, of sacrifices made in love and war – and the chance encounters that change us forever.

For a chance to win your own copy of LETTERS FROM HOME, follow Kristina’s tour through WOW! Women on Writing





By Kristina McMorris


After the first dozen times I was informed that women’s fiction set during World War II would be a tough sell, I laughed at the idea. Ha, ha, ha.


Okay, not really. I actually cringed.


Obviously, I wasn’t very, shall we say, “up-to-speed” on the literary business front when I wrote my initial draft of LETTERS FROM HOME. It was my very first book. I had big hopes, a surplus of blissful ignorance, and the premise of a promising book. What more does a newbie writer need?


My grandparents’ wartime courtship letters, which still sit beside my

Kristina McMorris

computer, had provided the inspiration of my story, but also my motivation for charging onward. If nothing else, Kinko’s would serve as my publisher, and every relative—oh heck, every friend I’d made over the course of my life—would receive a copy for Christmas. But first, I was determined to at least attempt the traditional yet arduous trek to the sparkly land of New York publishing. (Cue the choir of angels.)


Thankfully, by the time I learned that my story’s setting wasn’t “hot” in the industry, it was too late; the manuscript was done. So, I sent out queries to agents. While waiting, I revised, I networked, and I read. (I was essentially a non-reader before penning this book, so had a lot of catching up to do!) The rejections streamed in, mostly as form letters. Then, applying my marketing background to querying, I gave my pitch an overhaul and sent out another batch.


More rejections—this time personalized, at least—more “World War Two is a tough sell” replies. Kinko’s remained a mere call away, but I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to striving for my goals. (My husband undoubtedly has thoughts on this.) Thus, refusing to give up, I worked on my craft, I attended conferences, and yes, I revised some more.


At long last the market shifted, the planets aligned, and gems like Those Who Save Us and the Guernsey Literary book skyrocketed in popularity, widening the path for books like mine to reach the shelves. And for that, I’m ever grateful.


"Costco display" - can you imagine your own book here??

My debut novel was officially released to the public a few weeks ago, and still the sight of my book displayed on tables in such stores as Barnes & Noble and Costco continues to be surreal. It wasn’t an easy journey, but one worth every step.


When I look back, am I laughing at the obstacles overcome from a “tough sell”? Nope. But I’m certainly smiling—just as widely, I hope, as my late Irish grandfather from up above.



Kristina McMorris lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. She has garnered more than twenty national literary awards since writing her first novel, Letters from Home. A graduate of Pepperdine University, she spent twelve years hosting weekly television shows, including an Emmy® Award-winning television show at age nine. Prior to her literary career, she was the owner of a wedding/event planning business and public relations director of an international conglomerate.


Find out more about Kristina by visiting her website:


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Filed under Advice, books

2 responses to “Laughing at the Tough Sell: guest post by Kristina McMorris

  1. Great Post!
    I love that picture. After such a difficult publishing journey to see those books finally on display must be surreal. Grandpa would be proud!

  2. Thanks so much, Robyn! 🙂
    And thanks, Mary Jo, for allowing me to visit.

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