It’s been two years, ten days, seventeen hours and thirty minutes since that day. The day when I finally sat down and decided: “Ok, so I’m writing a book.” During four days I hardly ate nor slept, and then 80 pages were done. And then, I did nothing. Until two months later, when my boyfriend and I took six weeks off work, flew to New York, and took a Creative Writing 101 class at Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
My wonderful teacher Stacy Parker Le Melle, my boyfriend, the classmates, the time off work—and New York City—proved to be exactly what I needed. While struggling with writing in English for class, I literally felt how all the creativity was just dying to ”get out” in Swedish. So I wrote. And wrote.
Two months later it was time to pack our bags and go back to Stockholm. Thanks to New York, I did it with some excess baggage. Thanks to Gotham Writers’ Workshop, I did it with a 240-page book.
I spent the summer rewriting, finishing, polishing, editing. And then it was 430 pages long, and I sent it out. A publisher liked it, wanted it, handed me a contract—soon after, a deliveryman rang my doorbell and handed me the very first book from the very first edition of Fadersmord (in English, Patricide).
From the bottom of my heart: Thank you for being such a big part in making this happen.
Within a few months of the end of SF II, I had a short story published. A few months later, a second. In December, a third was released as a podcast by Tales of Old. I will be able to brag to my musically talented brother that I am on iTunes before he is.
But the most amazing development came from an opportunity our instructor brought to our attention. She told us about an open call for novel manuscripts at Samhain Publishing, where Don D'Auria was starting a new horror line. I applied what I had learned in class to polish a story and then submitted it. Well, I nearly had a heart attack when it got accepted. So my novel Dark Inspiration went on sale in November in e-book format and will be released in paperback in February 2012. Yesterday, my second novel Sacrifice was also accepted for publication in 2012.
Gotham classes made the success I have today possible. But it isn't just me. When class ended, six other Gotham grads and I formed the Minnows Literary Group, in order to continue sharpening our skills. Members of that group have since won multiple poetry contests, published short stories, and been invited as guest writers for online magazines.
Anyone out there wondering if an online writing class can really be worthwhile should wonder no more. Gotham is the place to be.
Marie's enthusiastic response to "Jack" gave me the confidence to submit it to Prairie Schooner. If it hadn't been for her encouragement, I don't think I would have submitted to them. Marie also suggested that I write a collection of similar essays about my work as a psychologist in human service agencies; I've just completed my second essay toward this book.
I've loved to write from the first day I could do it, as a young child, and I've written with some consistency since then. But it was only when I took a Gotham Fiction Writing class, taught by Carole Bugge during the winter of 2008, that I wrote a story worthy of publication. And it was published!
My short story, "Tough As Diamonds" has recently been published in issue #2 of the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. The story is about a private investigator who can spot a client's lie or pull the rug out from under a guilty man's best alibi quicker than you can say Hammett or Chandler.
I wrote and workshopped the story in Carole's class, and she suggested I submit it to SHMM. So I owe Gotham, especially Carole Bugge and my classmates, a huge thanks for helping me find my voice as a writer, write a story others seem to enjoy reading, and get published.
Anyone interested in reading my story can find a copy of it in issue #2 of the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, available on amazon.com.
Vicky Oliver is author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, Power Sales Words, How to Write It, Say It, and Sell It With Sizzle and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers, and Other Office Idiots
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