On the last ordinary day of her life … those are the words that open my novel, EVIDENCE OF LIFE, my novel that will make its national print debut in just four days on Tuesday, March 26th. When I initially wrote them, I couldn’t foresee how accurately they would, one day, come to describe the opening of a very different life for me as well. Looking back they seem almost prophetic, but at the time, writing the story, I hadn’t an inkling of the impact it would have on my life. I had high hopes, of course, but not even in my wildest fantasy, could I have imagined the dream come true experience that was shaping itself in my future. I completed the novel and sent out multiple queries, beginning with my top tier of desirable agents, the high five. But nothing happened. I had requests to submit the full, but as time went on, I began to despair, to deflate like a days-old party balloon. And then, and then … I got THE CALL!! from my dream agent, Barbara Poelle. She had some suggestions for rewriting that made sense to me, plus she was my DREAM AGENT! So, of course, I’m going to jump through hoops, right? But, really, I didn’t hold out much hope. I’d had rewrite and resubmit requests before. But this time it was all good, and on the 28th of February, 2012, just a tish over one year ago, my writing life underwent a sea change when Barbara emailed, and said, I love it. Let’s chat. Or words to that effect. I was elated. Even now, writing about it, remembering, I want to pinch myself. One year, one little year ago, I woke up in one world and lay down that night in another. But that’s not all. Not by a long shot.
Because, exactly one year ago, today, on March 22nd, Barbara called or emailed, I forget which, to say, four publishers were interested in EVIDENCE OF LIFE. Four! What a day it was. I don’t think I really had a clue what was happening. I remember walking around my house in the afternoon, with my ears ringing and my heart hammering. I really think I was in a bit of shock and disbelief. But once the dust cleared, I’d signed with MIRA, and I have never looked back. Life underwent another sea change, one with the proportions of a tidal wave. I sit here, this morning, one short year later, and I’m still a bit dizzy. Wonderfully dizzy. And so filled with elation, with gratefulness. I have the loveliest of editors, Erika Imranyi, who knows exactly how to guide my fiction so it shines. But I could not have been more fortunate in that the entire team of professionals I work with at MIRA has been wonderful. And then I’ve met through virtual means the loveliest group of authors, fellow MIRA authors, Sophie Littlefield, (GARDEN OF STONES, February 26, 2013) Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan, (co-authors of I’LL BE SEEING YOU, May 28, 2013) and Jason Mott, (THE RETURNED, August 27, 2013). I’m thrilled for them and to know them and be a part of their success, too. I love their books and urge you to discover them.
I intend for this post to be inspiring of joy. I have a lot to share, and I hope it’s contagious. That you’ll catch it and run with it. If you’re a writer, or if you’ve undertaken any endeavor, and the going has gotten hard, but, still, you love it so much it breaks your heart to think of letting it go … don’t! Keep going. Stay open to the possibilities. I’m speaking from experience now when I say the wonder of life, its gifts, can be delivered in an instant. Joseph Campbell said it best: “If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living." Do it, follow your bliss, and try not to be afraid. Here's something else I've learned: You are the only one who can see the doors. They are only your doors, created for you and no one else, so be true to yourself. Keep your eyes open, don’t listen to the naysayers, even the one inside your own head (which is the worst of the lot, by far!) and never stop believing in yourself. Dreams really do come true. In just four days, you can see the EVIDENCE (OF LIFE) and of one dream made real, for yourself, on store bookshelves, nationwide!