Recently I was asked why I became a writer, and the answer was simple, I didn’t become a writer, I’ve always been one. A writer. A creative. A storyteller. Or as my report cards from Kindergarten through Junior High put it, “talks too much”.
But now here I am at an interesting crossroad of change. Tomorrow my debut novel will be released and I will not only be a writer, but I will also add the author badge to my Girl Scout sash of life. MERCURY RISES isn’t the first novel I’ve written. It isn’t even the first novel I sold into publication, but it is the first one that will actually see the light of day…assuming all bookstores don’t go on strike in the next 24 hours, which with my luck could totally happen. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, however, writing in the potential pursuit of publication has been a journey of about ten years. This may seem long, but I know many out there have hustled far longer than that and met with more setbacks and disappointments than I ever hope to, and for that I bow humbly at their feet. But ten years is still a long time, and now that the time has finally come, so do a bunch of mixed emotions.
I’m excited. Of course I’m excited. Part of me is still the little girl curled up in the stacks or in front of a sun filled window devouring the pages of my favorite authors like literary pixie sticks and gluttonously craving more. I’ve always wanted to be an author. I’ve always wanted to be able to tell my stories to anyone who would listen. And now that wish is finally coming true. Every second of edits and cover reveals has crackled in my nerve endings, charging me up like Frankenstein’s monster, ready to be unleashed into the world.
And I’m terrified. Absolutely, gut-wrenchingly, wake up screaming covered in sweat, terrified. In a matter of hours people will be able to read what goes on in my head. What if they hate it? But even more terrifying are the additional concerns that come with our modern times; what if it’s problematic? What if no matter how hard I try my story offends someone or multiple someones and becomes fodder for internet trolls and exposé articles on irresponsible authors. What if my author career is over before it starts? Or the worst of all; what if no one even reads it? It’s like trying to cross an invisible bridge over a pit of flesh-eating monsters. Each step puts you further and further from the safe rocky ledge, exposed and vulnerable, completely unsure if your next step will get you closer to the other side or disappear from underneath your feet. But even though the dangers, here I stand, about to take that step, ready or not.
So why do we do it? Why do authors cross their fingers and hold their breath and take another step onto that bridge risking a treacherous fall into a pit of doom and the wrath of a million internet pitchforks? It’s for that one fleeting chance that someone out there will click their link, pick up their novel in a bookstore or borrow it from the library, and for one small moment be taken away. For someone out there to read a line and write it on a post-it note to remember later. To make someone smile, or feel, or be seen. That for at least one person out there, all the work was worth it.
That said, I really hope you get a chance to read MERCURY RISES and love it as much as I do. Authors can be self-conscious, self-deprecating, nervous individuals (see above), but we write because there isn’t anything else in world we’d rather do. We are storytellers, and just like Tinkerbell, if people stop believing we might just disappear.
And if you do love MERCURY, or any other book by any other author, let them know. Leave reviews. Tell your friends. Keep believing.