In first grade, I was behind the rest of the class when I was learning how to read. I was doing great with other subjects including math (which is hilarious because I am now terrible at math!) We were separated into groups in class based on how quickly we were picking up reading: accelerated, average, and remedial. I was in the remedial group. I struggled and struggled, but my teacher didn’t give up on me.
But by third grade, I was the top reader, having read more books than anyone else in my entire school. Somewhere between first and third grade, reading just clicked with me (along with spelling), and I suddenly excelled in both. I distinctly remember in third grade that my weekly spelling lists were being pulled from the fifth grade’s list at the upper elementary school.
In second grade, I had started writing my first story. It was about myself and my best friend at the time, Jessie. In the book, we were sisters and we went on tons of adventures. I filled pages and pages of lined notebook paper with my writing.
Ever since then, it’s been a dream of mine to be published.
I have started and stopped so many manuscripts over the years it is absurd. In high school I had started a book called Me Vs Me about a girl dealing with abuse, addiction, and death, that was going to be formatted as pages out of a diary, but I never got very far on it. In 2014 I began working on a manuscript called Plainwell, about two diabetic high schoolers who fall in love. I got about 80% of the way through that one before I realized I HATED one of the main characters and there was no way for me to save him without changing vital parts of the story, so I scrapped it.
In January 2016, I was out of photos to edit and life was slow. I had recently gotten a Kindle, and I set a goal to read 20 books in one year (I ended up reading 58!). A lot of what I ended up reading was romance novels, which is where I discovered the hockey romance category. I thought to myself “I could totally write something like this.” So I started on it…
I wrote the first 90% of the story in less than 90 days.
Then I tapered off. I started a sequel, then a book after that, but never finished the first book. Then life got busy and the manuscript sat untouched for many months.
At the beginning of 2018, I set goals for the year and made one of them that I wanted to finish – and publish – my novel. It was a lofty goal, but gradually, I kept plugging away at it.
Proofreaders got their notes back to me, rewrites were done, the cover was designed, and redesigned, and redesigned again. I didn’t give up. I ordered a proof copy and worked on it while on vacation. I wrote and revised in all my spare time. I cursed Kindle Direct Publishing for being so easy and so confusing simultaneously.
It took a lot of blood, sweat, tears, rants on twitter, late nights, thesauruses, and beer, but I published my debut novel, Lighting the Lamp, on both Kindle and paperback on November 5th 2018.
When I hit submit, my husband came into the room with a bottle of champagne, cracked it open, and we toasted the achievement. Almost two years of work finally came together and became my first published work.
And people are buying it. And enjoying it!
I am blown away.
If you are interested in supporting my dream and checking out my novel, it is able here: Lighting the Lamp (Chicago Velocity #1)
Thank you to everyone who proofread, purchased the book, lent it to a friend, or encouraged me not to give up. I did it!
Now to work on book 2 this winter.