My greatest childhood dream was to become a published author, but it was a dream I didn’t pursue with any serious intent until I was in my mid-30s—when I enrolled in my first Gotham class.
In Fiction Writing I, Shari Goldhagen taught me the fundamentals of storytelling and the building blocks of a beautiful sentence. Instantly, I was hooked. After Shari encouraged me to use a scene from a weekly notebook assignment as part of a longer piece, I decided to turn it into the opening pages of a novel.
I kept taking classes to hone my craft, but halfway through Fiction Writing II, I was hit with a sudden wave of self-doubt. Who was I to think I could write a novel? Didn’t I need an MFA, or connections in the industry? Just when I was about to give up, though, an encouraging pep talk from instructor Michael Backus convinced me to keep going.
Soon, I realized my story was taking a markedly romantic turn, so I registered for a Romance Writing class with Leigh Michaels, where I learned how to craft a satisfying love story as well as how to market and sell a novel. After receiving helpful criticism and positive feedback on my work in progress, I joined the Romance Writers of America, completed my manuscript, and began the process of querying agents.
Since then, I’ve signed with the agent of my dreams, Jennifer Johnson-Blalock of Liza Dawson Associates, and have sold my first novel—the same novel that was conceptualized and refined in Gotham classes. The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World will be released in Summer 2017 from Center Street, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.
Everyone tells me that publication is a marathon, not a sprint, so I can only hope this is the beginning of a long rewarding career as an author. But getting “the call” that my book was going to be published was my childhood dream come true, and it never would’ve happened without the guidance and support of Gotham’s instructors.