After 20 years, two literary agents, scores of versions, countless edits, reams and reams of paper, and at least two million keystrokes, I have published a novel.
It has been a journey of hard work, doubt, confidence, inspiration, ecstasy, despair, and friendship, a journey of failures and successes, and most consistently, of learning a craft by trial and error and by the examples of the thousands of writers who’ve gone before me.
This blog is the story of an author and that author’s work, which is, in very real terms, about a person and a life. Writing has no other themes.
And it is very much a work in progress…..writers know no other way to live.
About me …
I’m a longtime writer living and working in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley. I’ve been here a long time, but my heart remains in Southwestern Virginia, not quite into the toe of Virginia, but pretty close. My family on all sides came from those beautiful Virginia highlands and someday I’ll go back there.
In the meantime, I’ve been a staff writer for two Virginia universities while raising four amazing children. I love God, my husband, my children, books, coffee, lunching with friends, golf and mint chocolate in that order. I also love my church, a place that revives me regularly. I’m an introvert who has learned how to navigate the outside world, but I could, given half a chance, be a very happy hermit. I love thunderstorms and sunny spring days especially when I can work on my deck. I’m a homebody and love being home better than any place on earth except maybe Claytor Lake in Pulaski, Co., Virginia.
Now about the novel …
I am a reluctant published. Not because publication hasn’t always been a goal but because I always envisioned that publication would come after a publisher’s editor had carefully and meticulously reviewed my work. Thus I am a writer in search of such editorial scrutiny.
I read once that author Harper Lee, whose monumental book To Kill a Mockingbird was published to great success, worked with a devoted editor for a year before her book was released. In fact, if I remember correctly, Miss Lee lived with or near her editor and his wife.
These days few writers—almost none really—have such help and guidance.
To some writers that kind of oversight feels like it takes away from them and from their work. But it doesn’t. It should do the opposite. I’ve been at this game long enough to know with absolute certainty that good editors are worth their weight in readers. And I am lucky to know some. A good substantive editor can make your work shine every bit as much as Brasso can make a railing sparkle. (A good line editor can help it gleam.)
I, however, have been editor-less in the way Miss Lee was not despite one painful experience with a NYC editor who was clearly more interested in her fee than in my book. And it is this lack that leads me to feel insecure about publication.
For those who don’t have or can’t afford editors (who can be expensive), knowledgeable critique groups and honest friends are a close second. But I have a strong caution here: The operative words are knowledgeable and honest.
But the reality is this: Sometimes you have to trust those who have your best interests at heart. Therefore, I have trusted friends who have encouraged me to publish.
And now I have.