One novel was a memoir of my family's nightmarish move to Australia. It was a tough write. I'd saved blog posts, emails and Facebook posts so that one day I could write the book. I did not expect it would be only four and a half months worth of writings. But then, I also didn't expect to go through the mess we did while we were there.Writing the memoir brought back memories that put me through an emotional wringer. Anger, tears, happiness. I hope to share this story with the world someday.
The second one came from a writing prompt from my writing group back in 2010. Our pitch assignment was "The Worst Day Ever." I sat at my computer deciding what to write and it came to me. What if someone had never had a bad day? What if they had always been lucky and then suddenly had it taken away?
I didn't know where it would go from there but I sure had fun writing it. I made it as a short story and when it was done, my group started protesting. They wanted to know what else happened. They wanted to know what havoc had been wreaked at school the next day.
While I was in Australia, blogging about messes, this other story idea kept spinning around in my head. What problems did that leprechaun cause? Could I possibly put out a whole novel? It was intoxicating.
After the Australia book was out of my system, I started to write. It amazed me how easy the luck story flowed from my fingers. I heard people say that their characters would talk to them and I thought they were crazy—until this book. Suddenly my characters came alive and did what they wanted. The story went how it was supposed to—not how I'd thought it would be. It was magic! And again I was hooked. I couldn't wait to write another book with other characters who wanted their stories told.
I shared my book with a few people and got pretty good feedback. It's been a work in progress since and in November of 2012 I was able to join a great critique group. I thought I'd had my book polished until I went there.
It was tough. I had to learn to take feedback on my baby. I wanted to give up on writing ever again after the first meeting or two. Then I decided to take a picture book I'd worked on for years. The feedback was positive and suddenly I was ready to write again.
I began to look forward to having my manuscript ripped to shreds so that I could fix it. I was learning things about dialogue and how to go from being a "travel log" to an actual story. I got to the point where I could do it myself and I was thrilled.
Fast forward a few months and I felt I was ready to pitch my book. I pitched it to Whiskey Creek Press and they liked the pitch so I sent them my manuscript. It was a tough wait (all of three and a half weeks) and I received the beloved "Congratulations! We want to offer you a contract" email.
I was in shock. I was there enough to type out a few texts with shaking hands and to tell my family. Otherwise I just stared at the email. My friend called screaming and shrieking for me and I had another friend do happy dance for me because I could do nothing but sit there, staring.
So here I am, waiting happily for the next part of my contract. Giggling when I hear about how I'll need to help plan my title and cover image. Cheering when I see a bookmark for someone's book, knowing I'll get to do it soon.
I've had this dream to publish a book since I was in high school. If there's one thing I can say from this experience, it's that dreams DO come true. I got my bookstore, I visited Australia, and now—and best of all—I got a book contract. It's hard work to make your dream come true. But it's possible.