I received a copy of my paperback, Timing’s Everything, two days ago and I keep looking at it in amazement. First of all, the cover is gorgeous. My son used his own photography and his talents to create an absolutely beautiful design. It makes me wonder if the contents of the book are anywhere equal to the book cover.
I had another thought as well: how in the heck did this happen?
Between 2011 and 2013 I completed course work and received my Creative Writing Certificate. I was a novice – a newby – a know nothing – who had been published in the college literary magazine and won awards at the state level. Still — I felt totally inept. I sent a few fiction and nonfiction pieces out to anthologies and was accepted for publication. I had five short stories that my mentor and academic advisor insisted would become a novel. I swore there was no way. They were short stories; I wasn’t up to the task of writing a novel. But in 2015 I published The House on 4th Street. A novel in stories.
It began selling on Amazon and in book stores and I was invited to signings and book club discussions. As I sat there, I wondered whose book they were discussing. It was an out of body experience to be honest.
Then I began a second story. A love story. I visited Oxford, England with my son two years ago and fell in love with the university and the city. All of our day trips to Bath, Stratford upon Avon, and Blenheim Palace gave me the perfect back-drop for a romance. It wrote itself in about six months and I spent a month in Paris completing it. Once again, when I saw it on Amazon as an e book, I laughed. I didn’t feel it was my best writing. I didn’t feel it would sell. But slowly it did, and now the paperback version is on-line as well.
As we speak, my editor in Washington, D.C. just emailed and she will have final critiques and suggestions for my third novel, We’ll Find a Way, by next Monday. More revisions coming up, but she says she loved it. Authors will do anything to hear those words: I loved it; I really liked it; it’s so good. Wow! We begin to think that perhaps we are not frauds after all –we writers who question every word we type.
And so by January, I may have three books under my belt. Are they any good? I have no clue. I know they aren’t going to win a Pulitzer. I wouldn’t dare compare myself to any of my favorite authors. I’m not in their class. I’m not in it for the money, thank heavens, but I also can’t deny the small success I’ve had. I did it and it’s time to give myself permission to smile at the paperback sitting on my desk with my name on the front cover.