Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Publishing Journey--Part 1

Disclaimer: My blog has become boring. About a year ago, I was inspired by Annette Lyon when she posted her writing journey on her blog, one excerpt a week. I've thought about doing the same thing, but I've been slow to the punch. Each Wednesday, I'll post a new installment.

My Publishing Journey

Part 1:
What follows is a true story, mostly true, okay, 99.9% true.

Many of my author-friends grew up wanting to be writers. That was never really the case for me. I loved books. I read voraciously, and I probably wanted to just be a character in a book, more than the person actually writing it.

Many of my author-friends had mentors, teachers, parents or friends who encouraged them, told them to reach for the stars. That wasn’t the case with me. I got good grades in English and my love of reading propelled me to consider majoring in English in college.

But then I failed my AP English exam because of a low grade on the essay portion. I decided it was a sign and changed my major.

I cruised through college, as much as that is possible, and even added in a minor (Business Management) to my major (Fashion Merchandising). I decided that I’d work in retail and become a store manager of some fantastic boutique somewhere, perhaps even design a clothing line some day.

Along the way, I got married and soon after graduating from college, had a baby boy. For those of you who work in retail while raising a family, I salute you. Weekends + nights + holidays = Hard!

I became a stay-at-home mom, but life was suddenly very very frugal. You know those annoying sales people who call you on the phone and offer a free carpet cleaning if you’ll agree to listen to a short demonstration on vacuums? That was me. My biggest paycheck was $12.

Have you ever bought a “hand-crafted” stuffed bear from an exclusive catalog? Have you ever wondered who did the hand-crafting? That was me. My biggest paycheck was $30, after the bear was sent back TWICE for correction. Those embroidered noses are impossible!

I thought to myself: HELLO? I’m a college graduate and I turned down a job offer for $45k to make stuffed bears on my kitchen table?

Although I swear my mother tortured me into piano growing up, I realized that I was quite good at it. I decided to teach piano. We moved 6 months later, and I lost all of my students.

Things were looking up in our next home. My husband’s job paid a little more, and I was able to buy the brand-name cereal (when it was on sale). We bought a used couch to replace the plastic lawn chairs and splurged $400 on a dining table. Child #2 came along. Reading became my sanity. To settle with a book at night after a long day of kids-everywhere was heaven.

Fast forward another move, another house, and another kid. We were back in Utah now. I visited the library regularly with my kids and checked out book after book. My sister-in-law gave me a book by Richard Paul Evans to read. He is a Utah author, I discovered, and had made a huge name for himself nationally. Was that even possible, I wondered? My vision of authors was Mary Higgins Clark with her diamonds and pearls and NY accent. I read Evan’s book and came away with several things. First, there was no suspense, twists and turns, historical research, or literary descriptions. It was just a good story. And he was a NY Times Bestseller.

Imagine that!

The seed was planted. If Evan’s could do it, maybe I could too. Looking back, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. And little did I know, but Richard Paul Evans would actually become an important part of my career, a good friend, and I’d eventually share his same agent.

But I do remember sitting down to write those first few pages of a novel. It was love at first paragraph.


Maria Zannini said...

What a terrific story! And very inspiring. Glad you climbed that hill, Heather.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I'm excited to read more!!:)

Stephanie Black said...

I'm so glad you're starting a publishing journey series! It's fascinating to hear how authors got started. Can't wait for next week's installment.

Anonymous said...

Yes! This will be a fun series to follow. And I'm so glad I'm here in the beginning of it!

Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks everyone, gives me motivation to keep going!

Jolene Perry said...

That's me! I started out as an English Major, changed to poli sci and now nearly twelve years out of college I'm writing and loving it!
Can't wait to hear what comes next.

David Vandagriff said...

I love Part 1 and can't wait to read the rest.

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing that.

Tanya Parker Mills said...

Like all writers, I am so quickly and easily hooked by the details of a fellow author's past. The journey never fails to interest me. Can't wait for part 2!

Rebecca Talley said...

I really enjoyed reading this. thanks for posting it. I love to read about authors' journeys to publication.

G.G. Vandagriff said...

I am so glad you took to writing like a duck to water. I wouldn't want to miss your tremendous knowledge about the Book of Mormon, for one thing. I don't think you even realize how much insight you have.
And of course, I would have greatly missed having you as a friend who steadies me. My moods are extreme and your rationality calms me down. I really don't get how a writer can be so rational and yet so tremendously creative!
P.S. Thanks again for the great review!

Heather B. Moore said...

GG, maybe my rationality is really irrational. Who knows? :)

Taffy said...

Thanks for sharing your story!