Just a Fluke?

Note: Originally posted on Friday, December 14, 2012

If someone had told me many years ago I would become a published author when I grew up, I never would have believed them. Like most kids, I had many fantastical dreams of what my future might hold. For instance, the day I held my first crayon was the day I fell in love with everything art. I pictured myself working alongside Walt Disney or Hanna-Barbera. Or maybe I’d be so talented I’d draw and paint from my own studio–in between jetsetting all over the world–my pieces selling for astronimical fees. Then again, I’ve always been protective by nature, so maybe I’d join the police force, working my way through the ranks until I became the worlds’ greatest detective.

My adoration for the written word began early on. As soon as I was old enough, I devoured my older sister’s collection of Enid Blyton children’s novels, utterly entranced by stories of whimsical characters and faraway lands. She was the first author who really captured my attention and fed my vivid imagination something I never knew it craved. And by the time I’d reached high school I was often daydreaming about becoming a writer, imagining how good the pen would feel in my hand as I signed my first book. After all, dreams and fantasies are whatever we want them to be, right? So, surely everything I wrote would top the NY Times Bestseller’s List. Oh, no, don’t bother with the formalities. I’ll just take my Nobel Prize now, shall I?

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Then, before I knew it, I’d completed my education and somehow my dreams no longer seemed as easily attainable as they did when I was ten. I had new responsibilities, needed to earn a living, and my dream job didn’t miraculously land in my lap like I’d hoped. Being a grown-up was tough.

The years began to fly by more quickly, and by the time I had a young family of my own, I looked back on my employment history and realised I had nothing on my resume I’d truly enjoyed doing. What happened to all those dreams I had? Was it too late for me now? Why hadn’t I ever made the extra effort to really try and make any of them come true? Thankfully, it turned out not all my dreams had disappeared into the clouds, way beyond my reach. I decided to try… really try… and succeeded. My first novel Starstruck was born, and though the journey has been a long one, it’s finally almost ready for publication. But, was my first story a fluke? Would I ever sell another? They say everyone has a story in them, but was that it for me? Had my well run dry?

While I waited to receive my first official round of edits, my editor at the time suggested I spend my spare time wisely, maybe take a sub-character from Starstruck  and try writing a short story for the Ellora’s Cave “Quickie” line. The challenge of tackling something so short overwhelmed me in the beginning. How was I expected to cram a worthy plot (and loads of sex!) into as little as twenty or thirty pages? A few paragraphs in and I was already tempted to toss it in the too-hard basket, never to be revisited again, but I persevered and was pleasantly surprised to find myself being offered a second contract with EC. Count Me In  is a standalone short story in the Jerico Series. Yes! Starstruck will now be a series–a mixture of full-length novels and Quickies!

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You know, ever since I started officially calling myself a writer a little over a year ago, I’ve often felt like kicking my own arse for not making the attempt sooner. But I don’t imagine the result would have been anywhere near the same had I submitted to a publishing company when I was… say… twenty. I wasn’t ready for this gig back then. I needed more life experience before I could make my words count, my stories believable.

So, don’t dismiss your childhood dreams just because you’ve grown up. Everyone should keep a little bit of that cheeky kid inside them. You never know what might happen if you allow yourself to still believe in the impossible.

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