My brother died in July of 1999 from an accidental overdose. I struggled with my grief for years. I’m one of those people who keeps everything bottled up inside. As an avid reader, my natural instinct was to turn to writing in searching for a way to release my pent-up emotions.
When I discovered Gotham, I started with the online Fiction I and worked my way through to the Novel master classes. The format of the program is ideal with weekly lectures and students critiquing one another’s work. The best part for me, a closet writer, was being able to participate in the program from the comfort and safety of my home.
By the time I’d successfully completed two master Novel classes, I had a solid first draft of my novel Saving Ben, which is not a memoir but a tribute to my brother—the boy I had worshipped as a child and the man I could not save.
Gotham helped me prepare for my future career as a women’s fiction writer, not only by teaching me the craft of writing but in showing me effective tips for establishing my blogging platform and best practices for querying literary agents.
I’m not a patient person, so after my first couple of rejections from the literary agents I chosen to contact, I hired the best editor and cover designer I could afford and self-published the novel on Amazon. Saving Ben never made it very far in the rankings on Amazon, but my next novel, Her Sister’s Shoes, the first in the Sweeney Sisters Series, climbed all the way to the low two hundreds where it stayed for several months.
I published another series, Scottie’s Adventures, before continuing with the Sweeney Sisters. I’m currently hybrid-publishing with Lake Union, Amazon’s women’s fiction imprint, and I recently released my fourteenth novel. As I write this, Only One Lifeis ranked #14 on Amazon’s overall rankings.
Who knows what the future holds in this ever-evolving world of publishing, but for now, I couldn’t be happier. Fledgling writers ask me all the time what advice I have for them. Mine is simple. Never ever give up on chasing your dreams and remember there are many viable paths to publishing. Explore them all before choosing the one that’s right for you.