I have been writing stories since I was 8 years old. Seriously.
My second cousin and I used to sit in the back of the Catholic school bus (and yes, both the second cousin and the Catholic school bus reveal a heck of a lot about what kind of life I lived as a child!) when I was in the second grade and she was in the first grade, writing stories on notebook paper. I wrote about Annie. She wrote about E.T. (Which also tells you a lot… about my age, anyway.)
I wrote stories upon stories for fun. I loved standardized testing week, because I was a fast test taker, and I always had lots of time to read… and write. Princesses. Several princesses. Later, a 3-volume mashup of princesses + Lord of the Rings. An ice skating story. A story about people with telepathy. A bad takeoff on Young Riders, set on another planet. Eventually, after I got married, a story about wine country.
I was working full-time as a liturgy director when a friend of mine started taking a correspondence course to learn to write children’s books. That was in the first days of our infertility journey, and although I had never thought about writing children’s books, it was the first time it ever occurred to me that you could just take a class in creative writing. So I took their test, and they sent back an acceptance saying, “Thanks for choosing us; we know you have lots of alternatives…”
And I thought: I do?
Then I thought, “What am I writing, anyway? How long is a novel? Have I been writing novels all these years?”
Spoiler alert: I HAD!!!!
I found a class better suited to me.
And when we did start having kids, and I quit working to be the at-home mom, I started digging in. Early mornings… while nursing… at naptime.
I discovered a whole world online. I started blogging. Joining blog hops. Writing freelance. Making online friends that I still, to this day, haven’t met in person, but whose friendship I value incredibly deeply. Most of all: learning. Reading articles–about agents, querying, the need to “find your genre.”
I couldn’t figure out what mine was. I love a good love story, but romance is NOT my jam. I tried really hard to make myself fit in that genre–I even wrote an entire manuscript–but it simply would not follow the rules. I thought I was doomed, because where was there a spot on the shelf where my books would “live”?
And then, through Amy Sue Nathan, I discovered Women’s Fiction, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
WFWA is an amazing, diverse, all-volunteer organization of women AND MEN around the world, supporting each other and building a proud place for Women’s Fiction in the literary world. We define women’s fiction as fiction that centers on a character’s emotional journey. It can have elements of romance, suspense, sci-fi, fantasy, or magical realism, but at its heart, it is about a character finding–or growing into–his or her place in the world.
This is exactly what I have always written. And because of WFWA, I know where my place is on the bookstore shelves.
This Wednesday is Women’s Fiction Day. And guess what? I’m celebrating by taking part in a 4-book giveaway with WFWA authors!