Three Years Ago My Author Journey Began
Yes, it was three years ago that I began my journey to become an author. Hard for me to believe that this much time has passed and many books have been written all because I dared to step out of my comfort zone.
I can clearly remember waking up on 2-13-15 at 6am. I was wrestling with an idea that my doctors had given me: write a book about living with a rare invisible illness while being a caregiver to my daughter who was born with multiple birth defects. I had started the story but was crying way too much from the memories that were surfacing. That morning (which happened to be Friday the 13th), I took my story in a different direction. I created fictional characters that were wrestling with similar struggles and created a story set in the Florida Keys. I had no clue what I was doing but I let my imagination take hold and used my real memories to create the story of Maddy and Jason.
That first day I stopped writing about three hours later and was very surprised that I was actually writing a fictional story but bringing awareness to the illness I had since the main character, Maddy, had the same thing. To say I was a newbie to writing was an understatement. In high school and college I was just a “B” student in English so for me to tell someone I was writing a story/book sounded insane to me. But 30 days later I had a 75,000 word rough draft in my hands or should I say saved to my laptop.
I took that draft, went back to page one and began to revise. By this time I let my Mom and husband know what I was up to. My Mom offered to edit for me just for fun. Then she and my Dad encouraged me to publish it as a book. I thought “No way! I’m not an author! It’s not good enough!” but in September, just eight months after I began, my very first novel “The Keys to Love” hit the bookshelves.
I remember when the author proof arrived at my house. To say I was excited was putting it mildly. I wanted to share it with the world so Jeff (my sweetheart husband) and I made a trip to the beach. There he took my picture, holding that book in my hands while I dug my feet into the sand at Folly Beach. I was elated.
Now, as I look back over these past three years, I can’t believe that my 8th novel is set for release next month! I have learned SO MUCH: on writing, publishing, marketing and more. It’s been a wonderful process and with each book I write, I feel more confident about my skills though I still have much to study.
One thing that I have thoroughly enjoyed on this author path is the people I have met along the way. At book signings especially. As I share my stories, so many people have shared their passions and dreams with me and I’ve met some fascinating people. It’s especially gratifying and I know I’m on the right path with someone tells me they did something because of my books: getting married in the Florida Keys, going camping for the first time, visiting a national park they didn’t know about and more. Or that they had the courage to step up for themselves doing something they never thought possible because of a character in my book. Or that they like the “Happy Ever After” endings because they need a break from the real world where things can be a bit stressful at times.
My newest novel – “A Wedding in the Keys” – is the last novel (for now!) in the Florida Keys Novels series. A part of me is sad because I love my “Keys” books so much because I dearly adore the Florida Keys. So I’m not leaving them totally – I’m a writing novella about the minor characters and I can’t wait to share them with you!
So with one series ending, a new one will be taking its place. There are still more camping adventures to write about Kate Palmer in “Camping in High Heels” but I also plan to release the first book in my new series late this summer. I will be stepping out of my comfort zone with this book for sure! But this series is based in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina and that’s exciting for me! So let’s just say that my laptop and I will be busy!
I want to thank you, my dear readers, for taking both of my book series – “The Florida Keys Novels” and “Camping in High Heels” series into your hearts. For the wonderful reviews you have left for the books, sharing the books with those you love, the beautiful emails I have received about how a book changed your life or inspired you to do something that you didn’t think possible.
So I thank you all one again! Love and hugs to all!
My Author Journey