My first novel, A Better Next, was published in May 2019, my second novel, Finding Grace, in July of 2022 and my third, Behind the Lies, is in the queue to be published mid-November of this year. It was a surprising twist for me to write. I had a very busy career and family life that crowded out any thoughts I had of creative pursuits, and frankly, I wasn’t planning for retirement beyond getting there.
As retirement gave me time to explore, I was able to take classes at the Loft Literary Center and learn a bit about writing, and eventually tried it myself. I think Malcolm Gladwell is right—it takes 10,000 hours to learn a new skill, and even then, one keeps learning and refining whatever one endeavors to do well.
There is always pleasure in learning. The intellectual stimulation of discovery and a writing practice has been an unexpected joy. The business aspects of publishing a book are less rewarding for me. Writing itself is a solitary pursuit, often attractive to introverts. Finding an agent and publisher, or going it alone and finding all of the resources you need to get your book out there is real work, and not for shy, retiring types.
Now that I’ve been doing this for awhile, I can say that it is the kind people you connect with along the way that keep you going:
*the fellow students in the writing classes who are the first to set eyes on your words.
*the teacher who compliments your structure and advises on how to improve your scene.
*the published authors who take the time to encourage you.
*the librarians who accept your request to add your debut novel to their shelves.
*the developmental editor who patiently points out your overuse of certain phrases.
*the copy-editor who corrects your penchant for semi-colons.
*the bookstore owner who takes a chance on an unknown author and orders a few copies of your first book.
*the friends who go to your events and cheer you on and take the time to write a review.
All of these folks make a difference. But, it doesn’t end there. When readers are compelled to share their thoughts about one of your books, it is HUGE. Here is a sampling:
*the reader of A Better Next who told me that she found the character, Jess, a role model as she went through her own divorce, and reached out to supportive friends as Jess did.
*the reader of Finding Grace who gave her copy to a friend whose child was going through a mental health challenge.
I treasure a hand-written note from the manicurist who ordered my book after doing my nails on launch eve, and sought me out to compliment me on Finding Grace.
And just a couple of weeks ago, I was at an office supply store buying a bubble mailer to send my book to someone and I had a raggedy advanced reader copy with me to check the size of the envelopes. The cashier, Ruthie, saw the book, asked about it, said she was desperate for a book and asked if I had any with me to sell. I always have a few books in a box in my car, so we did the deal—made my day!
It’s the little things, the personal touches that really speak volumes to this writer. The other day I went to my local library to pick up a hold they had for me and next to the book reserved for me was a copy of A Better Next, standing proudly waiting for a pick-up. Doesn’t get much better than this! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!
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