I am a novelist.
It took years to call myself what I am. Far too long, in fact.
I began writing stories as a kid. It wasn’t often and generally was inspired by teachers and assignments. But I read. Oh, did I read. I read often and constantly. I read as I walked between classes, late at night with a flashlight under the covers, as I ate dinner, in the car between soccer and basketball games.
Books with strong female character leads always drew my attention, especially books in series. It meant the story didn’t have to end — it could continue on. The characters in the books that I read saved the world — at least, their world. They climbed out of whatever thing in society tried to keep them down. They went for their dreams. They believed in magic and that they held a power within themselves. They succeeded.
In high school, I began re-focusing my outrageous nightly dreams into novels. I wrote half a novel in two journals — by hand, no less — and then stopped, only to start another. (I later lost the journal with the first half of the book, go figure). I didn’t finish the second novel either. Both featured strong women and something magical or otherworldly. It was the early 2000s — don’t judge.
Then, my senior year of high school, I began writing a novel in my computer class. I finished it the following year in college, where I had gone to study History. My fourth semester in college, I took a short story class and fell in love with writing.
The following semester, I decided I was going to graduate school to study Creative Writing — something I didn’t even know you could do before then! So I applied, and in a roundabout way (a story for another time), I got into a Creative Writing program at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Going to grad school and learning about novel writing and short stories was the best time of my life. I read so much and learned so much and connected with others who had a love for telling stories, too.
After graduate school — things got tough. I had written a thesis — a novel — for my MFA program, and it was good. It felt good. So I worked on it, while I lived in Los Angeles. But things had changed. I wasn’t surrounded by a literary world anymore. I was working a 9-5 job that I didn’t like. I felt stuck. So it’s no wonder that my novel writing stalled.
I quit my job after a year and started freelance writing. Things got better, I was happier. I was finally writing and making a job as a writer. And still, I struggled on my novel. I re-worked and re-worked it, shared it with others, got feedback and then re-worked it some more. I sent my book out to literary agents, got some good feedback, and received a lot of rejections.
My only dream and goal was to have my novel published before I turned 30. I wondered if I would ever do that.
Well, I’m happy to share today that I’m one step closer to my dream. I have a literary agent. Her name is Mary C. Moore of Kimberly Cameron & Associates. I was drawn to reach out to her because Mary is determined to help marginalized voices rise up and find opportunities in the publishing world. By marginalized voices, I mean, Latina voices, African American voices, immigrant voices, LGBQIA voices, among others.
Suffice to say, this is a big step in my novel writing career and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. It has finally given me the “oomph” I’ve needed to work on my second book (Yes, I have been working on a second novel!).
These days I’m reading more, I’m writing more, I’m happier.
This is my life. I have to keep telling myself that — this is really my life.