I am a proud northern California native, who, as a child, was encouraged by my mother to write letters—newsy letters to Grandma, thank you letters to aunts and uncles.
Those same relatives complimented my parents on their young daughter’s ability to write well.
In junior high, teachers requested that I read out loud, to the whole class, my essays.
Friends in high school begged me to create a book report or write a poem for them. “Hurry!” they would say. “I need it by next period.”
Everyone told me I was a great writer, but no one ever told me I could grow up to be an author.
So, I didn’t.
Instead, I picked prunes, babysat, worked as a telephone operator, a receptionist, a preschool teacher, a social worker and have been successful as a retiree. I have had two biological children, two stepchildren, two marriages, fifteen grandchildren, anal cancer, fantastic friends, one unsuccessful year of piano lessons, several dogs and at least one cat.
Around age fifty I was attending a party and a friend who had suddenly become interested in astrology, begged me to let him do my chart. “Sure, I said. Why not.”
A few days later the very excited friend called me. “You have to write. You must write a children’s book.”
“Oh, ok. Thanks,” I said.
“No! Really! You need to write a children’s book and do it now. Like start today.”
So I did.
I created a lovely little story about a young tree and how she got her blossoms.
The unillustrated story sat for years somewhere—in a drawer, in a box, under a bed, in my trunk.
As part of my successful retirement, I did volunteer work at a thrift store. One day, a customer mentioned she was part of a local writer’s group.
“Aha! I’ve sort of written a book. May I come?”
That is how I became a participant in the Vacaville Town Square Writers. After attending weekly for several months, I gathered up my courage, found my little story, and, with hands and voice shaking, read it out loud to a group of critical listeners.
They liked it!
The Garden Party is still unpublished but getting closer. In the meantime, I have written a novel and am working on epic number two. Oh, yes, there is even another children’s book in the works.
You see, I am finding that writing a book and having a published book are two separate issues. But I am learning, growing, writing, editing, rewriting, agent hunting, illustrator hunting, rewriting, reading, researching, rewriting and having a grand time.
I am now in my mid-seventies. As soon as any one of my books is published, I will go from writer to author. Had someone told me when I was young that this is what I was going to be when I grew up, this story would be very different.