Friday, December 10, 2010

A Dream Realized

For as long as I can remember I have only had only one dream--to be a writer.  I started writing my first novel when I was in eighth grade. By the time I graduated from high school, I had two novels completed and dozens of others outlined.  In 1995, I was fresh out of high school and dying to follow in the foot steps of my favorite young adult authors including Christopher Pike and L J Smith (yes, I actually read the Vampire Diaries back in the nineties BEFORE it was a TV show).  Back in those days, the internet hadn't quite caught on yet and it was a lot harder to know who to trust in the industry. I spend a few years sending queries but was disillusioned by the fraudulent agents asking for reading fees and vanity publishers who would get my hopes up and than dash them when they asked for thousands of dollars to "self publish". 

I stopped sending out my manuscripts and decided to focus on a new novel.  That was the first time "Destiny" received my full attention. I had written the first few chapters in high school and put it aside. But anyone who went to high school with me will recognize many of the names of my characters, most of which have remained the same through dozens of rewrites.  I got about three thirds of the way through the book and than was stuck.  I had no idea how to end it. Then I got pregnant. Two babies and a divorce later and I realized I had put my dream on hold for too long. So after a six year hiatus, I starting writing again.  I spent a lot of time studying the Wiccan religion and in that beautiful path I found the answers that had eluded me. I knew how end "Destiny".

I had to start from scratch because my old word processor was hopefully outdated, but that was okay because it tuned out so much better the second time around. I spent months sending it out to publishers and agents with no luck. In the meantime, I was hard at work on a sequel to "Destiny" and another novel that was spawned from my love of the "Phantom of the Opera". Then I got married and had another baby and again writing got put on hold. But this time it wasn't for long. While on bed rest during my last pregnancy, I discovered blogging. It seemed like a great way to practice writing and build a following.  I never imagined that blogging would lead me to a publisher.

It was only about a month ago that I did a review of a book called "Hannah and the Talking Tree" that was published by Free Focus Publishing. I had linked my review to the publishers website and I realized it was one I had never sent my work to. So I took a chance and sent an email. They responded that they were interested and asked to see a sample. A whirlwind of emails later and we are in the process of publishing my novel! They are a small publisher, but I love working with them. They listen  to my ideas and they aren't going to demand a dozen rewrites that change the whole story until it isn't even mine anymore.  They even asked what I wanted for the cover. My husband sketched out the picture at the top of this post and the publisher is working on some graphics as we speak.  

Its has taken a few decades, but the nerdy little girl who used to sit in the back of the classroom writing stories is finally going to get those stories read! Its an amazing feeling. Its not about money or fame. There are no guarantees either of those things will happen just because you get a book published. Its about knowing that the stories I put my heart and soul into are finally going to have a chance at being seen. That someone out there might learn to care about my characters the way I care about them. That is all I have ever wanted.  So there it is, a dream realized. 


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