If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison
From the time I could talk I was fashioning my own fantastical worlds through stories I created and acted out with stuffed monkeys and dolls. My encouraging family told me to write down some of these creations, and my life-long passion was born. Writing was so freeing for me, offering a place of escape from tough times of being a bespectacled girl in middle and high school.
When I was fourteen, I was a bigger nerd than most nerds. We didn’t have cable, I lived on a farm, and most of my friends lived at least twenty minutes away. There wasn’t too much to do. So I read all the time. And I told stories.
When I was fourteen I finished writing my first novel in five months. It was a historical fiction novel based in the early 19th century in France, which I titled Fortune’s Flight. Knowing that it may be difficult for an already sensitive lass to endure the critiques of professional publishing companies’ rejection letters, my mother suggested self-publication. And so we pursued it, and by the time I was fifteen I had the paperback book in my hands. I illustrated the cover and created sketches for each of the thirty or so chapters. They aren’t fantastic illustrations, but I was proud of my work.
From that point on, I traveled around Massachusetts to promote my book. I signed copies, gave book talks, went to schools to talk about my process, held events at libraries, and even talked to a college class about how I founded my self publishing business. It was a whirlwind… and surprisingly did not make me skyrocket to fame in my high school. If anything, I got more attention for getting contacts than getting my book published.
When we broke even, I was ecstatic. When I surpassed that, and made a small profit, I was elated. And when we were able to publish the sequel, Renegade Ransom, when I was sixteen, I started to gain confidence in my abilities.
I continued to write, hoping to better my craft. A four-year degree in English certainly helped me to strengthen my writing abilities. I used to cringe, looking back at my first attempts at writing. Had I really let that out into the world, had that many people read those words? But now, I can appreciate that every writer has to start somewhere.
Seven novels, a collection of short stories, and three plays later, I think I can at least count on one thing: I sure know how to be prolific.