Why I started writing

If you’re reading this post, you must be really bored. Or really curious. Hey, I get it. I often get lost in a Pinterest spiral that has me looking up mac and cheese recipes and ends with me reading about how someone lost 40 pounds on the grapefruit cleanse. Needless to say, I’m uncertain that anyone will work their way back to read this very first post, but all great endeavors must start somewhere. So here we are.

This blog exists because in 2005, Twilight came out, and sometime thereafter, my friend Jami told me I had to read it. “It’s teen fiction,” she said, as a disclaimer, “and I wouldn’t normally go for a book about vampires, but seriously, it’s so good and I couldn’t put it down. Try it.”

I was skeptical.

I grew up loving to read. My mom would buy us books by the car load at garage sales and my dad would take us on memorable trips to Borders bookstore, where I was allowed to choose and buy one new book. I was the kid that read every book on the shelf for my grade in my little elementary school library. I spent lunch hours and study hall in high school, hiding in the library, doing the same thing. When I went to college, I figured, ‘Hey. I’m an adult now. I should read adult books.’ Which I thought meant historical romances and books by Michael Crichton. I left the realm of young adult fiction behind.

Until I read Twilight. All of a sudden, I was like, “Holy cow! Is this what young adult fiction is now? I want more.” And that sent me on a reading bender that hasn’t ended. Since then, I have read almost exclusively young adult novels and series that pique my interest. The amount of books for that demographic has exploded. I still have a ton more I want to work my through and more amazing books come out every year.

To be honest, most of what I read, I find something about it to love, or I love it so much I can’t put it down. But after reading several books that I felt like were mediocre and unappealing, I heard a voice in my head say, “I could do better than this.”

Gulp. Those are big, cocky, arrogant words. But they wouldn’t leave me alone. Something in me challenged myself to put my money where my words are. So, on a rainy Sunday afternoon while my whole family napped, I wrote the first few pages of a story. I didn’t tell anyone, because 1) it sounds super smarmy to drop, “Oh, I’m writing a novel…” into any conversation, and 2) I didn’t know if I would even like this type of writing, because I usually write short, quippy copy for my job, and hadn’t done much long creative writing since college 3) I didn’t know if I could do it. So, I kept it to myself. And kept writing.

Three months later, a book was born. It was mediocre, to be sure, but it had good bones, and heart, and I was in love with the world and the characters. I let people read it and help me tear it apart and put it back together again.

Now, I’m two books into a three-part series. I describe it as a young adult fairy tale adventure. Think Princess Bride meets A Girl of the Limberlost, meets the Grimm brothers. I plan to write book 3 and wrap up this series this winter, and try re-querying and pitching it again, since my queries for book one haven’t yielded the results I want.

And I just finished writing another book that’s a complete departure from that series, a middle grade novel about a plucky 11-year-old heroine who’s bake-a-holic mother gets her a summer job against her will, working for the mysterious Madame Delphine of Wildthorne Park. All sorts of delightful and delicious adventures ensue. This book gave my brain a much-needed break from my young adult series.

Thanks to my research, I am well aware that the journey to securing a literary agent and actually getting anything published is fraught with all sorts of pitfalls, dangers, rodents of unusual size and a lot of WAITING. I try to limit myself on time spent sitting in front of the computer hitting refresh on my email, my heart thudding whenever I see a new rejection or response arrive.

I think I actually have the skill set to self-publish and do amazing covers and really clean interior layout, and I think I could market them myself really decently for a person working on their own. And, it may come to that, after I receive my 324th rejection email.

But the idea of having an agent to have my back, to help me shape the story to be even stronger, to help me navigate contracts, and the possibility of the force that a whole editing/marketing team at a publishing house could bring to my books, is worth waiting on. (Hint! Hint! Hello future agent, if you’re reading this, I already love you. Thanks for taking a chance on me!)

So, herein, I shall chronicle my progress, or lack thereof.