In today's instant gratification world where books can become available almost as soon as they are written, I thought I'd share my journey as a writer, but since it spans over 20 years, I will need to do it in installments. After all, it seems readers prefer reading a snippet here, a snippet there, thanks to the blogosphere. One thing that is clear, thanks to the "then and now," is how much has changed when it comes to book publishing.
When I first sat down to write my novel, Of Little Faith, George H. W. Bush was in the middle of his presidency, Seinfeld debuted on NBC, and Saddam Hussein was threatening to destroy Israel. Then, too, traditional publishers were doing quite well without much to challenge their financial status. Like most writers, I first went into the process blindly.
It wasn't as though I always intended to be a novelist, but had a story I felt important to tell. (Yes, at that point I didn't know the difference between show and tell, and earlier drafts did a lot of telling.) Then, as I tapped away on my Smith & Corona day and night for a solid month and a half, I started to believe that I had something. The question was, just what did I have and what could I do with it?
What I plan to share with you for the next several blogs is my journey to finding a publisher for Of Little Faith. See, finally, after some 20 years, a publisher read the eBook version, fell in love with it and made me an offer I'd hoped for so long ago, but almost gave up on. Almost. Steel Cut Press, a small, but traditional publisher, believes in the story and wants to help find an audience for it. Now, while I prepare to promote it to the high heavens, with a release date of October 22nd of this year, I cannot help think about my writing journey that brought me to this point; therefore, some back story is required.
I was raised in a rural area in Upstate New York where cows were plentiful and access to books limited. Our television gave us about four channels, with one in French, thanks to living so close to the Canadian border. I was left with hours to imagine, pretend, make believe, and started to write stories on scrap paper. I recall showing my 7th grade teacher a story I was working on, one filled with the melodrama of a little orphan boy, and that same teacher asking me about it when she was my 12th grade homeroom teacher. The fact that she remembered that story stunned me, but I didn't even think that I could someday call myself a writer. Things like that didn't happen to small town girls. Or maybe I believed they just didn't happen to me. Besides, writers were educated and had some secretive gift. Sure, I had dreams, but was sure they would stay just that. Even so, I would spend hour after hour in my bedroom writing one poem after the next, while attempting to write a play. I guess I figured it helped pass the time while waiting for something else in my life to happen.
What did eventually occur was what was expected after meeting and falling in love with a boy from Long Island and, not much later, marrying. Living in suburbia far away from farms and wide-open spaces was a whole new experience for me, but instead of taking advantage of my new surroundings, I focused on starting a family. I stopped writing and a year and a half later, I gave birth to my son. It was right around this time that I also started attending a fundamentalist church and found a new family that seemed to have all the answers. I wanted to be as sure as they were about all the big issues and, even though I'd been raised a Catholic, I soon became a member of this Bible-believing church. I recalled the poem I'd written in high school that I titled "God" where I left the page blank. That was my rebellious way of letting others know that I didn't believe he existed. But being a new mom and trying to find stability, I forgot about trying to express my own thoughts and began to immerse myself in the Bible.
At the time, I had it all make sense, even when I wanted to question the unyielding teachings, but was afraid to do so. Whenever I did attempt to write, I believed it had to be inspired and uplifting, so I put away "childish things" -- at least for awhile. But then, a few years later, after separating myself from the inculcation and judgment, my soul was bursting to write Of Little Faith.
How could I know the journey upon which I was about to embark would take me so long to arrive to this day. To be continued...