I never thought I’d actually write a book. I loved the idea, but it seemed like an impossible feat. My mind held stories galore- just ask my best friend. I remember countless sleepovers where she’d listened to my ridiculous narrations. They usually involved one or both of us riding into the sunset with a particular boy band member *coughTimberlakecough* But that’s a story for another day. Anyway, I wrote romances in my head loooonnnngggg before I ever picked up a pen (read: computer).
Then I grew up. Went to college, began my career as a retail pharmacist, you know, math and science stuff. After my kids were born, I morphed into this new identity. I was “Mom” now. Motherhood has been my life’s greatest blessing. But it’s hard. Especially for one who struggles with balance like I do. Others told me I needed a hobby. Trouble was, I had no clue what I wanted to do. Sure, I dabbled in photography, but it didn’t quite scratch that itch for me. My best friend insisted that I write something. But who has time for that? Thanks to a full-time job and two small kids, I certainly didn’t!
One morning, after I’d awakened from a bizarre post-apocalyptic dream, I got the idea for a book. In my dream, I’d been trapped in the New York City sewer system with a hot actor and the Ninja Turtles. It was a survival situation where we had to navigate sewage, twisting pipelines and mutant rats. These rats resembled the ones from The Princess Bride (strange, I know). Anyway, I thought about it and wondered what I would do in any survival situation (hint: die quickly). Imagining a woman much braver than myself, my mind conjured Lena Hamilton, my first heroine.
Sewage really doesn’t appeal to me. Nor does the idea of mutant rodents. But that hot actor… now, there was something to think about. Wesley Emerson came to me all sun-kissed, sexy, and Australian. Instead of turtles, I gave him a pair of hot friends. Like, why should Lena face death with one hot guy, when she can have three?
After considering a more realistic survival scenario, I decided on Alaska. To be clear, I’ve never been there, so I’m no expert. A Barnes & Noble trip seemed fitting. Returning home with several travel guides, I researched locations, wildlife, climate, etc. My mind buzzed with the idea for True North, and I felt a deep-rooted excitement brewing.
I’m capable of more than I give myself credit for.
The desire to create consumed me, and in August of 2017, I promised myself that I would write a book. Even if I had no idea what the hell I was doing. Even if I had no time. Even it took the rest of my life, I would finish that book. I vowed to write it and take pride in that accomplishment… even if no one ever read it.
Time remained an issue (and still does). At first, I tried writing after the kids went to bed. Suddenly, no one could fall asleep without me. Eventually, I learned that I needed to make time. Thus, began my routine of waking at the ass-crack of dawn. (read: 2:45AM) My husband and kids know that the early mornings are my time. Our cats don’t get it, but they don’t say a whole lot.
I wrote True North in under a year. I contracted with a freelance editor and began the revision process. Meanwhile, I started writing my second book, called Prodigy. I finished that rough draft in about five months. Currently I’m a couple hundred pages into my third book. I’ve put it aside for the line edit of True North.
I’ve learned a TON about writing, the romance genre, and myself. First off, I didn’t realize that genres have industry-standard word length expectations. Romance is around 80K words. And I chuckle. This may surprise you, but I’m a wordy chick. Now, I’m tasked with the challenge of cutting TENS OF THOUSANDS of words from my novel. All while maintaining the integrity of the content.
It feels impossible. But then again, so did the idea of completing my first book. If there’s one thing that’s come out of this journey, it’s the understanding that I’m capable of more than I give myself credit for. Deep down, I know I’ll make it happen. And I’ll never stop writing.
I finally found my flame and now I intend to fan it!