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
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.
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.