I Wrote a Book

It was 2004, and I was fifty-three when my twenty-one year old son and I were having  dinner at the Olive Garden and he flipped the script on me.  Usually it is the parent who is the grand inquisitor but this time, Austin took on that role.  “Mom, now that Jon and I are both grown, what do you want to do with the rest of your life?”  It’s not that that question wasn’t on my mind almost constantly, it’s just that I had no answer and he wanted one.  I did want to travel and listed a few places I wanted to go.  Austin told me to make it happen instead of just thinking about it.  We became travel buddies and went to Phoenix AZ and Santa Fe NM.  Writing a book was not on the agenda. 

I had written articles for peer reviewed journals.  I had written book reviews.  I had actually written a series of children’s books for kids who love math but hate to read but could not get them published. So writing a book was not on the next life agenda. 

I had been involved with libraries  almost as far back as I could remember.  I remember I was about five and my Mom and I regularly walked  to the library to find our next reads.  My mother was a chemist with a Master’s degree in chemistry but could not get a job in Cleveland Ohio as such.  We were in Cleveland while my Dad completed his PhD in physical chemistry at Case Western Reserve University, then known as Western Reserve University.  Prior to that they had both been Faculty at West Virginia State College.  I was no stranger to books and libraries.  Later on, after Cleveland became home for us, Mom went back to school and received another Master’s Degree this time in Library Science. 

I did not get the science/math gene (Mom’s undergrad degree was in mathematics).  I was a liberal arts major – English; Education minor.  I was going to write history text books that students really wanted  to read.  I got a Master’s Degree in Educational Communications specializing in writing/designing programmed texts and managing media centers.  I could not get a job.  I, too, began working in libraries again (worked in my undergrad library), and just like Mom, I went back and got a Master’s in Library and Information Science.  I began a forty-three year career in public and academic libraries that ended when I retired at the beginning of 2017.  The question came back. What do you want to do with the rest of your life?  I thought I had that handled.  I had a lot of side projects.  I was going to be busy.  And, In fact, I am busy.  But I am ahead of myself here. 

One day in 2013, I was in a funk about the lack of fiction written for baby boomers where the main characters were over fifty-five. Where there were some they tended to be snooping around the neighborhood solving some mystery.  African-American fiction was less representative.  The best example was Bertice Berry’s Jim & Louella’s Homemade Heart-Fix Remedy: A Novel.  Baby Boomers are a large and vibrant group of people.  We needed representation in fiction!  A few days later, I had a big thought.  I swear it came from God.  I have a vision of a story (I keep stories running through my head like my own on-going entertainment system) about a sixty something couple who’d been dating for awhile when he, out of the clear blue, says to her, ‘move in with me’.  Now what would that conversation sound like.  How would that play out.  What would you say?  What would I say?

I made the mistake of telling two of my best friends, Deborah Johnson and Sharon Ware about the story line.  Both told me to write the book.  I hemmed and hawed. I started and stopped. I wrote notes and thought about the characters who at the time were nameless.  I walked away.  Once in awhile I was poked from my conscience (God).  Over the years, both Sharon and Deb bugged me about the story.  It was Deb who nagged me the most.  Where’s the book?  What’s going on with the book? 

Well, I’d never written book before.  Plays, yes, book for adults?, no.  I’m stuck. What voice do I use and how do I do it?  I’d read a few books.  How did other authors convey a story.  Well long story short, after much prodding from Deb it became fish or cut bait time. I figured I could do a short story.  I did not think I could write that much (as you can see from this post, I was mistaken).  Three hundred and two pages and a lot of editing later I had a book.  It’s title? Move In With Me.                                                                                  

I started pulling my notes together in early February of 2019 and finished it in April.  Thanks to several friends and relatives, including Deb and Sharon, I had a finished piece.  Now the really hard part begins.

Publishing.  I’ll write about this process as I go along.  I have joined with an agent who is also a publisher herself.  She is going to act as my agent and try to get a publishing house interested in my book. Gail Dudley is the publisher of Ready magazine.  If you have not seen it or read it lately, check it out!  More on this part of the journey later.

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