I did it! I pulled the trigger and published a novel.
The story has been inside me for a very long time. And I have known, for as long, that I needed mind space and time to put it down and get it ready to share with you and the rest of the world. This is why I began the book the very day after my official last day of teaching (that is a whole other post that I will definitely be writing soon). I think maybe all of the writing that I have done through the years, and there has been a lot of it (including this blog), has been preparing me to sit down and focus on this book. This may explain how, along with dedicating many uninterrupted hours everyday, I was able to finish the first draft in just a few months.
The book tells a story that somewhat mimics my own life, but not completely. It is highly fictionalized. More exactly, it explores my wonder and astonishment that I am here at all. As I grow older, I am developing a new perspective on history, on family, on paths chosen or not chosen, on strength of character and the capacity to be in charge of your own life. Along with that, and pondering on the family backgrounds of many people in my personal sphere, I have come to have a stunned awareness of how connected to our pasts we are; but also how our lives will influence the next generations that we help create.
In this country, the only one I can comfortably speak to, we all have threads that lead back to somewhere else (yes, even native peoples have “immigration” stories if you go back far enough; and how fascinating!). If you find and follow them to today, you will be struck, as I am, by the sweet or horrible or dull or unbelievable things that happened to our ancestors and influenced their lives’ paths. The African American woman who got an advanced degree in 1915 and her daughter who followed in her footsteps twenty years later; the eleven year old who came from Italy on a ship through Ellis Island alone, leaving his mother behind; the five year old who walked with her family from El Salvador to the United States border, stepping over dead bodies and collecting coins from each country on the way; all of these are actual stories in the families of people I know personally. I have encouraged them to write these stories down, even if only for their children and grandchildren to have that personal connection to the past.
I, on the other hand, chose to write a fiction novel and shout it to the world. If you know me, you will not at all be surprised about this. Now I am dedicating some time to get the book into as many hands as possible. It is my goal to have people (hopefully) enjoy the stories in it; but my other goal is to get readers to think more deeply about their own “threads” and possibly write them, as well. I would love to read them!