Sunday, February 28, 2021, was a pretty great day. I mean, how many times do you win something big, something that matters, something that changes the course of the rest of your life? At 55 years old, it feels amazing to have a new dream and see it coming to fruition. I'm pumped.
I started writing this novel while stuck in the Atlanta airport in November 2017. At that time, my dad was pretty sick and I'd been visiting my parents more frequently. The trip from Vermont to Miramar Beach, Florida takes the better part of a day. Drive to Albany, fly to Atlanta, chill during a layover, fly to Panama City, rent a car, drive an hour up the Panhandle. It's not exactly a lay-up, especially if you get delayed in Atlanta. But hey, what better time to decide you're finally going to write that novel about your great aunt that's been rolling around in your head since high school!
I opened a new Google doc on my laptop and named it "Chapter One." I hadn't written fiction since college. I had no outline, no real plot idea other than it would be about my Aunt Boo Boo who worked at Phillips Petroleum, was an old maid, and fell madly in love with a divorced man she met while living in a boarding house. That was the start. At that moment, knowing my Daddy was slipping away, I just needed to write. Originally, the novel opened with Bessie sitting at the dining room table in the boarding house reading the newspaper, "Seems like I do more praying than reading when I pick up the paper these days." That first line is still in the book, though it's moved around a couple of times.
As I was sitting in the gate area that day, typing away, a woman next to me leaned over and asked, "Are you a novelist?" I didn't miss a beat in my response to her, "Yes."
Here I am three and a half years later with the third draft of a 93,000-word manuscript and a shiny new publishing contract. Now that the celebration is over, I'm a little blue. For the past three months, I have worked overtime promoting my book campaign. I'm used to the dopamine hit you get from every follow, every order, every comment. My Inkshares world is pretty darn quiet at the moment. Other than two initial emails from Inkshares on Sunday, I don't have any information. I'm not sure what's next or even when I might hear from someone. My flight's delayed. Might be a good time to start the next book.