My dream to be a published writer was fulfilled, in part, by the services you offer. Based on the meandering path of my life, my debut novel, Little Lovely Things, which was released April 2019 (to critical acclaim!!!), should never have been written. I had a busy career as an owner of my own consulting firm in the biotech industry. Family demands, which included relocating to different geographic areas twice in ten years, as well as putting two kids through college while ushering a third—my late-in-life caboose—through elementary school, meant there truly was no time to write.
But I did something really smart. I connected with Dana at Gotham Writers Workshop and pulled a mea culpa. Help me I said. I have no time for workshops or classes or exercises. I’m drowning and have started a novel and it is in pieces all over the floor (literally) and I need someone to help pick them up.
When Dana recommended Gotham’s mentorship program. I hesitated. Sounded like a great idea but what if the fit wasn’t right? Entering into such an important relationship sight unseen was risky, especially with my time constraints. Dana and I discussed my concern. She asked questions about my background, my goals and certain personality traits. I was cautiously encouraged because her probing was a clear signal that a cookie cutter approach was not Gotham’s style.
When Dana called me back, she simply said, I think I have the one for you, Jane Ratcliffe. Her name sounded fine. The bio I was given sounded just fine too. Dana encouraged us to talk just once to see how we felt about one another.
Jane Ratcliffe—I am yelling your praises from the rooftops!
From the moment we first spoke it was all those cliché things that happen when the fit is just right—hand in glove, wink and a smile, etc. I do not believe I could’ve have written my novel without Jane. The sketchy thoughts I first sent her changed tense and narrator style with the fluidity of running water. Looking back, I truly have no idea how she found a thread within my writing that made sense at all. But she did. And she saw something, a spark she said, a promise. Over time, with her patient encouragement and gentle guidance, Jane helped shape me into a full-fledged writer.
I am forever grateful to Gotham, to Dana and to my amazingly skilled mentor, Jane, who is not only included in the acknowledgements of my book, but will always be included in a special corner of my heart.
Maureen Joyce Connolly