Today, July 12, 2016, is the official release day of my debut novel, Arsenic with Austen. They call it a debut because it’s the first book of mine the whole world gets to see, but it’s actually the fifth book I wrote. The road to this day was long and arduous, paved with soaring heights and crashing depths (very Anne Shirley-ish), but we are here at last.
I decided when I was eleven that I wanted to be a novelist. My seventh-grade English teacher gave an assignment to write a story based on a given first paragraph, and I enjoyed it so much I knew that was the way I wanted to spend my life. My first writer idols were Louisa May Alcott and Mark Twain.
Life threw me many curve balls over the years, both in terms of circumstances (which can nearly always be overcome) and in terms of internal hurdles (which are tougher but also yield to perseverance). It wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties that I finally came to terms with the fact that I would never be happy until I got serious about writing.
For twelve years, give or take, I studied my craft, found my voice, wrote the million words Ray Bradbury says you have to write before you write one good. Found lots of wonderful, supportive friends, writers and readers alike, whose encouragement kept me going. Submission-rejection-revision-submission became my life. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Until Arsenic with Austen, my “overnight success story.” I submitted it once, to my fabulous agent Kimberley Cameron, and the rest is history. The history of my lifelong dream finally coming to fulfillment.
And what I feel now is not pride of achievement but gratitude. Gratitude to God, the true author of everything good in my life. Gratitude to all those supportive friends and family members. Gratitude to all the readers who have read, are reading, or plan to read my books.
Thank you for helping me fulfill my dream. And I hope your dreams come true as well.