It is a question asked by many of my readers. I had the idea of a mother passing away while feeling like things were left unfinished with her children. So I reached out to my friends with the simple question "What one thing do you feel was the best advice you ever gave your children?" Some of you may remember emailing me with your answers. I got responses from around 30 friends and family. I put my spin on them and they became the 14 letters Grace uses to send Connor, Reilly and Moira on their journey.
We writers couldn’t do our job without outside help. We get our ideas in the weirdest paces. Watching people at a restaurant, noting a dilapidated old house in the middle of a busy community, losing a family member. All have some small idea that has made it into a book or short story of mine. One day while driving I passed a road called Epiphany. The next road was Harmony. Those names became the name of twin girls in my next book, The Counter. It’s about a widow who leaves her home of 40 years and heads back to the small town she grew up in.
I imagine if you talked to first time authors like myself or famous authors like King or Grisham they might give you the same answer. Some small idea sticks in your brain and you let the characters and places move you forward.
Everyday something new shows up at my door that will help with my book promotions. I received 20 books to send to newspapers, magazines, and various news outlets on Friday. Today when I got the mail there was a box of postcards with all my info for other marketing venues.
Last week, I was nervous. This week, I am starting to get excited.
The feedback has been incredible. A friend that lives in Atlanta wrote that she and her family were headed to Andersonville National Park this weekend. They hadn’t realized the National Prisoner of War Museum and Camp Sumter were so close.
It’s one of the things I wanted to do with this book. Let people know that there are so many wonderful places to see and experience in this great country of ours.
I know it’s hard to do as the kids in my book did and drive across country, but look in your own state. I bet you’ll be surprised by the many historic sites at your fingertips.
The hardest part of putting a book out into the world is the marketing. Seriously. The questions you have to answer and the selling takes away from time when you would rather be writing.
We writers are mostly a quiet bunch that hide in our small rooms in front of a computer, only venturing out for supplies, an occasional meal, and perhaps a glass of wine.
I love my book. I love the story. I love the characters. I loved writing them. I cried with them and I laughed with them. They became friends whom I wanted to protect from the horrible circumstance of losing their mother.
But to tell other people to read it, to expect others to enjoy the journey is hard. I tend to be pretty private. My writing is my therapy, my joy.
So, I hope as you partake in this journey with me, you will enjoy the story, and maybe take away a little something from Connor, Reilly, and Moira’s journey.
Publish your first novel. Go on vacation.
That's what I did. A trip North to visit family took me away from my computer and desk for 2 weeks. Two days after arriving home, I started grassroots marketing for my novel, A Gift of Grace.
This included the lovely task of setting up a Facebook page for the book. My daughter Lauren and I created a page and invited all of my friends to follow.
This photo is my celebration of my very first like as a published author with a professional page. Note the Pinot Noir in hand for this milestone! Thank you to all of my supporters near and far.