Yesterday was exactly one year since my debut novel The Wish was published. I celebrated it by doing a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Naperville Illinois. As I reflect on the past year and the time leading up to the release of my book, I can’t help but think how life really does go by so quickly and how there can be a surprise at every turn. Before The Wish actually hit the shelves, I thought it only a dream.
From the original story, The Clover to the development of The Wish, I am amazed how it really does feel like just yesterday when I was sitting with my then, 7-year-old son George and writing stories as a form of speech therapy for him. I now look at him as he is making his way in the world, wanting to be a fireman/paramedic and only 1 year away from graduating from high school, and remember that shy little boy afraid to talk to anyone. Our story nights were more than therapy for him to write and read the stories he wrote, it became a special mom-son time where I was able to form a special bond with my child. At the time I was so worried for him, knowing his struggles in school would be inevitable and just wanted him to be able to feel comfortable to self advocate. Now I see a young man who is looking into helping others, willing to put his life on the line in order to do that. I feel our story nights helped him become the person he is today, helping build his confidence, creativity and taught him patience and perseverance. I had never dreamed that years down the road, I would be publishing ANYTHING that came out of those nights. I also learned a lot during those story nights: I learned patience and perseverance. I also learned that you’re never too old to dream. A side effect of my writing and ultimately getting published also had a positive effect on my other kids. My fourteen year old son Adam has grown into a very talented writer as mentioned by his college (yes college) professor. When I told him how impressed I was with his writing, he told me something every parent (I think) would love to hear from their child, but never expect it. He said, “you inspired me with your writing. I realized that if you really want to do something, just work at it and do it. You proved that mom. I’m a good writer because you showed me as kid through your writing and Young author clubs, how to write.” Goosebumps ran up my arms and a sense of complete pride and awe overtook my heart. I would never have thought that my writing and getting published had such an effect on my own kids.
Another surprise was from both the teachers at Geneva Middle School South, to their librarian Paige who encouraged me and was one of my top cheerleaders, my journey of getting published was highlighted with their support. In addition, readers feedback, both from the ARC’s to post publication sales all have been phenomenal. I honored that with their reviews being published in The Wish.The excitement of readers who I meet at schools, libraries and bookstores for author events fuels my drive to continue writing and working with youth on their writing. I’m grateful for the opportunities laid before me because of getting published and feel this was an unexpected reward of being a published author. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done anything different: not started writing at a younger age, written The Wish differently, or even wished for the original need of why I started writing in the first place because of my sons need for speech therapy. He has become the fine young man he is today because of his hearing disorder. Which in turn has instilled a sense of empathy for his fellow-man. This experience has molded me into who I am today and my experiences of getting published has impacted my other children in a far more positive way I had ever anticipated. I’ve learned we are always evolving, growing and changing, no matter our age. There’s so many experiences in our lives that shape who we are. What we need to do is think HOW we will be shaped. Only WE decide our fates, it’s just a matter of how will we use the experiences handed to us to shape ourselves and our futures?
Til next week…