An old school friend recently got in touch to say she'd read and loved all of my books. She ended her lovely email with, 'Wowーyou came out of nowhere!' I think she imagined adult me deciding to write a book one day, and then doing it. Simple.
My journey to publication was a short one: I was agented a week after submission and offered a two-book contract with Text Publishing over a weekend. My first novel All Ever Wanted took eight months to write (and revise) and it was published less than a year after it was contracted. Friday Brown was in bookstores another year after that. Simple.
I signed another two-book contract. The short listings started coming in; I won awards. Overseas publication followed: Germany, the UK, Turkey, the US. Hardback! Starred reviews! And now the US edition of In-between Days has been named the SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book for 2017, an honour I didn't see coming. Each time I think the dream run is over, something wonderful happens and I'm gobsmackedーat the same time I try to hold to my philosophy: dream, write, finish, and be grateful. Simple.
But this philosophy was learned the hard way and there's always a story behind any success story. The truth is, I spent twenty-five years failing and floundering, writing in secret and rarely finishing anything, yo-yoing between different careers. I was too afraid to take a gamble on the story in my head, this invention that might never fly. All I Ever Wanted sat in the proverbial drawer for yearsーit wasn't until I was more afraid of running out of time than I was afraid of failure itself, that I had the gumption it send it off. (I've since accepted that this is my MOーnot just with my first novel, but with every novel.)
I used to obsess over wasted time; I wondered whether I could have made different choices and travelled a more direct route to writingーbut (as with anything I do) it took me a long time to stop wishing things could have been different. I came from nowhere. Fun fact: nowhere is twenty-five years long and so vast there is no way around it. Nowhere is where my stories come from.
I dream, I write, I finish, and I'm grateful. Thank you, SCBWI, for this Golden Kite Honor Award for In-between Days.