I can illustrate perseverance in a simple paragraph: Twenty years ago when I decided to take my writing seriously, I thought that one day I would dedicate a book to my children. I'm thrilled to announce to the world that my first book, The Secret of Goldenrod, published by CAROLRHODA BOOKS, debuts October 1, 2016. It's dedicated to my grandchildren.
You don't have to read any farther. The rest is just babble.
My first published book. Twenty years in the making. Plus five other novels, two plays and some poems and short stories. An MFA. Three agents. And an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the rejections.
But only one really low moment when I cried and was pretty sure I needed to take up another hobby.
In January of 2014 I decided, "This is it. I'm going to make it happen." I jazzed-up my query letter, researched the heck out of agents and their wish lists and decided to send out six queries a week. By week two I had three agents who wanted to sign me up.
I signed with Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency, revised twice for her, and by summer she had sold the story to Egmont USA, a charming publisher headquartered in the UK. Shortly before Christmas I received my editorial letter. Yes, of course I could manage a four week deadline over the holiday, with a houseful of guests, revising for my delightful editor. After all, my dream was coming true. And by golly I got it done. I even came in a day under deadline. Then, a week after I proudly submitted my revision, that charming press closed the doors on its US operations.
In the ten minutes between the email from Sarah Davies bearing the bad news and her follow-up phone call, I decided I couldn't do this anymore. I am too old. Too tired. And I'd lost a precious holiday with all my grown-up kids home in one place. How many more of those would there be?
"I'm terribly sorry to give you this news," Sarah said, and then she began to talk about next steps as I shook my head, knowing I, too, had sad news to share. I listened. I gulped. I waited my turn. I took slow deep breaths and looked at the ceiling, banking on gravity to hold back my tears, so I could form the words and say them clearly. Speaking from the deepest core of my being I said to her, "You know I never give up."
On July 20th, 2016, The Secret of Goldenrod received a starred review in Kirkus. The story was hailed as one filled with wisdom and compassion. If you're a writer, a painter, a dancer, a singer, anybody who has a dream, jazz up your act, hold your head up high, pin your heart to your sleeve and do it with all you've got. Magic happens when you're doing something you love.