“Is there anything you wish you had done, Mom?”
“Write a novel.” I answered my son’s question immediately surprising myself with my words.
“You’re 60 years old. You’re in perfect health, you have all that English background, you’ve read all your life, you have the time, and you have the computer skills. If not now, when?” My son took his eyes off the road for a moment to fix his blue eyes on me.
I don’t remember exactly what happened then but a week later when my husband and I arrived in Hilton Head, South Carolina, for a holiday, one of my first stops was to the local bookstore where I bought a book about writing and selling a first novel and I was off and running.
And now, here I am almost 10 years later with my historical fiction Loyalist trilogy out there in the world in various formats, an audio book soon to be released, and a book for writers about writing close to being announced. It’s been a tough but rewarding ten years for me who never wanted to retire and play cards every afternoon while wondering what part of my body would next fall apart.
It’s been mostly a terrific experience to spend most of every weekday writing, editing, marketing, and doing all the other necessities which have made my life so interesting. Hundreds of new people have enriched my life, most of them in the writing business themselves, and all of them willing to share and help me along the way.
As I celebrate this milestone I’m very aware that I could not have done this without the help of many people. Of course, my son, Kevin, whom I mentioned in the first lines of this post and my daughter, Beth, who keeps my brain ticking with new ideas and who is a great sounding board for my own ideas, are top of the list. My husband, Ron, joins them there as a ready listener to my ideas, my plans, my troubles and always encourages me to go farther. He has fueled my ambition. My sister, Linda, gone now, always kept my off-site flash drive safely in her kitchen cupboard and my brother Ross whose own achievements and then early death fueled my drive to succeed while I still could.
There have been a few missteps along the way but thanks to great and constant support from my peeps, I’ve found the way to go on. The biggest problem was when I joined an online group of great people whose mission was to help authors get published and editors and agents find worthy clients. For reasons which are not going to be aired here, I gradually sunk lower and lower as I struggled to work in that environment but I finally realized I not only could leave the group and go on but absolutely had to for my own sake. When my husband said to me in the kindest of words that I did not have to continue with my book, I took stock. He did me such a favor because I realized I had to go on for myself. I dumped that group, walked away from three prospective agents and a senior editor with Penguin in New York, and have never looked back.
Writing and finding a measure of success has given this second part of my life more meaning than I could ever have imagined. Because I’m so thankful to so many for helping me, I’ve decided to have a celebration with my online friends and those I’m so fortunate to know in person. I’m picking March 29th for my celebration blog post. I’ll have giveaways, reading suggestions, messages from other author friends about their writing and a grand prize of the whole trilogy, bound and beautiful, for some lucky person. Keep checking back here and on my twice monthly newsletters for more information. And invite your reading and writing friends to join in the fun.
Check back next week for more exciting news about March 29. Help me celebrate!