I’ve been asked recently if I’d always wanted to write a book.
The simple answer is no. The long answer is a vast series of sleep-deprived, cartoon-crazed events and it all starts with E.L. James and a little story called 50 Shades of Grey.
When my son, who I’ll refer to as Salty, was a baby he drank copious amounts of milk. I was constantly giving him a bottle. Hence, I was in a chair staring into oblivion, like a good mom. My five-year-old daughter, Sweetie, liked to watch cartoons while I feed the hungry bear.
I’m sure this is no revelation to any parent out there, but if I had to listen to another episode of Yo Gabba Gabba or those sickeningly, adorable Backyardigans I was gonna stick erasers in my ears, damn the consequences.
Instead, I bought a latte and a book.
Yep. I joined the other 50 million people that made E.L. James a household name and feed her publisher’s pocket book. I devoured her kinky, intriguing tale, holding it in one hand, while I gave Salty his daily gallon of moo juice with the other. Also by this time, I’d developed the superpower all parents get and could block out all those creatures singing to me via the boob tube.
I know what your thinking, what the heck does this have to do with writing a book. Don’t fret. I’m getting there.
I’d been a reader for years, but I’d given up the hobby. Too busy with life, I guess. I hadn’t picked up—and finished—a book in a long time. So, before I started writing, I started reading again. My appetite for a romance novel became voracious, just like Salty’s for the moo-juice. And thanks to my new Kindle I never had to turn a page. Hazaa!
I was downloading a novel a day. Don’t worry. I still buy paper books! Always with a story in my head. I told my husband one day, “I think I want to try writing.”
Even I couldn’t believe it.
I hated English class. In seventh grade, I thought the teacher was an alien. Really, what were adverbs? Or dangling participles? A mystery of science if you asked me.
But what do you know, In the course of a handful of months, I filled six yellow legal pads. Then I typed my masterpiece, added some more along the way and realized I’d reached 50,000 words. That’s a novel! How the heck did that happen?
Now, upon later inspection, what I wrote didn’t form a novel and was as far from a masterpiece as the 4th grade 4H project still hanging in my parent’s bathroom, but I’d done it.
Then I decided to take a class at The Loft, actually a bunch. I also joined Romance Writers of America, a little organization with 10,000 members in over 35 countries. With my membership to RWA, I could attend monthly meetings of my local chapter, which 80 fabulous people who are either published or working their way towards that goal belonged.
It wasn’t until then, trying to be a writer, that I learned I needed to know story structure, character arc and that thing called plot. And along my messy path, all of these amazing people helped me—some of whom I paid, cause a girl needs to learn some grammar—and I learned the craft of writing.
So there you have it. Did I always want to write? No. But once I got started I wanted to so bad—got trapped in its claw like a Starbucks habit—that I stuck with it, and now my first full-length book is going to be in someone’s hands. Kindle or paperback, of course.
Is this meant to be inspirational tale? It sure didn’t start out that way. But it’s kind of hard to miss how a little two finger pecking on a keyboard every day actually got me somewhere—I learned—I wanted to be. A published writer.
You can pick up a copy of my debut novel Greed & Jealousy, August 10th, via Amazon and other online booksellers.