by Amanda Schwarze
When Midge Bubany entered retirement, she launched full force into a new career she had always wanted to try.
Bubany, of Long Lake, said she has long had an interest in writing and a desire to write a novel. About a year before she retired from her teaching career at Rush Creek Elementary School in the Osseo Area School District, she began writing a book. After about three years of writing and frustrating attempts to get the novel published, Bubany succeeded in her new pursuit.
Her first novel, “The Equalizer” was published this month by North Star Press. The book follows Deputy Investigator Cal Sheehan as he solves the first homicide case of his career. The book is a mystery, but it started out as a different tale.
“It was first a love story with a little mystery,” Bubany said.
The direction of the book changed after she took a mystery writing class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. The new genre fit Bubany well as mysteries are her favorite books to read. She got some inspiration from her favorite authors such as Nelson DeMille, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly and fellow Minnesotans William Kent Krueger and John Sandford. Bubany said she also read books about forensics and criminal investigation.
Some of the most helpful information she got for her book came from the Orono Police Department. Bubany was a participant in the department’s citizens police academy. Through that program, she learned about use of force, traffic enforcement, domestic violence and narcotics. She and the other participants also had a firearms training simulation session and they went on tours of the jail and dispatch center.
“It was very enlightening,” Bubany said. “Every time I got back from a session I revised the novel.”
By the time the book reached its current state, it was nearly unrecognizable from her first drafts. Bubany said that now only a few characters remain from the early novel.
Completing the book wasn’t the end of the process for Bubany. She tried to get a literary agent, but she couldn’t find one who would agree to represent her. Most of the agents, she said, had no interest in working for an author who hadn’t already published a novel. With no agent, Bubany had to submit her manuscript directly to publishing houses.
“I got a lot of rejections,” she said.
She discovered North Star Press by chance one day when she read a post on a social networking site from one of the employees. Bubany looked up the company and thought it would be a good fit. North Star Press is a small publishing company out of St. Cloud. The company focuses on books specific to Minnesota, though it also handles books on surrounding states.
North Star officials liked Bubany’s story and agreed to publish her novel. Now Bubany is embarking on a new part of the publishing process: getting the word out about her book. To help do that, she will be at The Bookcase in Wayzata Thursday, June 12, at 7 p.m. She will read passages from “The Equalizer” and she’ll sign copies of the book.
While researching, writing, revising and publishing the book has been a long and tiring affair, Bubany is still thrilled about holding her first published novel in her hands.
“It’s very exciting,” she said.
At the age of 67, she’s ready to go through the process again. She has already completed two other books about Cal Sheehan, the main character in “The Equalizer,” and she has also finished a separate novel. Bubany said she hopes that now that she has one published work, she can find an agent who will help her publish those books.
Even more books could also be on the way. Bubany said she spends about six hours writing at home each day, in addition to some substitute teaching she does in the Osseo district.
“The Equalizer” will be available at The Bookcase in Wayzata. People may also find it at major online retailers such as Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. The Bookcase is located at 824 East Lake Street.
Contact Amanda Schwarze at [email protected]