Me, Gaga-Baby, and Blackie in San Diego around 1974
As a girl I moved around a lot. By the time my eighteenth birthday rolled around, I'd lived in five states and attended thirteen different schools. I was always the new girl, which was not an easy thing to be as I was incredibly shy. It was during this time that I fell in love with books. Books were my refuge, my escape. The first book I remember falling in love with was Where The Red Fern Grows. After that, Little House on The Prairie, the whole series, and of course Judy Blume ruled as I embarked on my teen years.
When I was twelve years old, my sister, who was ten years my senior and already living on her own, gifted me with a diary for my birthday. That gift changed my life. Finally, I had a place to confide all of the things I'd kept inside. I wrote in that diary every single day. Some of the stories I wrote were true and some were fiction. In school, while I failed miserably at Algebra, I received A+'s in English and essay assignments. More than anything, I loved to write.
Still, it wasn't until I was twenty-nine and taking a creative writing class that something I wrote garnered the attention of my writing Professor. Soon after, I had my first short story titled, "The Lost Story" published in The Tale Trader. I was floating on air.
I continued to write stories, fiction as well as non-fiction, and had some success, but me, write a book? I had all these stories and ideas, but was I up for the challenge? I decided to give it my all. I wrote my first book in 2011. A semi-finalist in The William Faulkner Novel-In-Progress Contest, the story was picked up in 2012 by the second publisher who read it. Unfortunately, that publisher, after a short stint with POD, went out of business. Thankfully, they rewarded me with the rights back to my novel, and although I was deeply saddened, I was not defeated.
I've been writing stories all of my life, some true, and some fiction. I will always be in love with the process of writing novels. I adore the challenge as well as the creative process of bringing characters and story to life. It's what I was born to do. In fact, I've recently finished my second novel. It's a story I've wanted to write for many years--one that had to simmer. In other words, I had to grow as a writer. That said, this is an exhilarating time for me. I'm just beginning to query agents with this newest endeavor. It's exciting and challenging at the same time. In order to garner agent interest, much like a book jacket, you must entice them in 300 words or less! No easy feet, but it can be done if you work hard.
I tend to write fictional stories that emcompass real-life issues that effect us all, like love, family, and those once in a life-time moments that can suddenly change everything. Of course I always pull for the underdog, and some of my stories but not all of them delve into the subject of HIV/AIDS. It's a tough topic but one I feel compelled to write about.
Stories will always be around. They teach, they entertain, they enlighten, but perhaps most of all they unite us in a shared human experience like nothing else can. Stories bring us together.
Thanks for allowing me to share my own story with you today. We all have a story. So believe in yourself and believe in your story. This is after all, NANOWRIMO month. And if you've been engaging in your own love story with words and have written a novel, here's a link (and a chance) to have your story heard. The Writer's Digest "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest. Good wishes and good luck.