Twenty Years? Really?
I never actually wanted to become a writer, back in the day.
Lawyer? Sure. Broadcaster? Hey, I majored in Telecommunications. For one semester. President of the United States? I thought about it.
I have done many different things in my life that were never on the "What do you want to be when you grow up, Sandi?" list of answers.
Writer was never on that list.
Still, it happened.
Oh, I had written stories. I wrote something in sixth grade for a contest (In Which Our Heroine Is Locked in the Wax Museum Overnight and All the Things Come to Life) (or something). I wrote speeches. I popped out essays and research papers without breaking much of a sweat in my school days.
And then I was a teacher. A minister. A bunch of things, really.
After a thirty-day bout of insomnia in 1997—during which I had all these IDEAS flooding my head—I was a bit off kilter. I thought about writing, having read about the idea in one of those "You, Too, Can Make Money at Home" books I'd bought.
And at midnight, on December 1, 1997, I picked up a legal pad and a pen and started writing out one of the myriad ideas that had swamped my brain a month or so before. A novel, actually. Because when I wanted to begin writing, a craft at which I had never had any practice or interest, I naturally dove into the deep end and went full-bore historical romance. And I wanted to write a Regency Romance, such as I had enjoyed reading so very much.
The book I began writing that midnight twenty years ago, was titled Amberly's Heir. I wrote in longhand for
Yeah, lame, right? Where was my dedication?
Oh, it was across the room, on my computer. I shortly took possession of that computer and began to write. Before December of the following year, I had written out six full-length novels. I ambitiously sent them out.
I paid for a professional assessment for that first one, too.
Best money I spent on my career in my life. I cried for days. I shook. I trembled. I felt so, so, so stupid.
I never thought of quitting after reading that very honest, helpful, essential analysis of my very first ever novel.
Because by the time I got it back? I'd started two more. And the another two after that. I hardly slept for a year. (I was a lot younger then!)
Anyway, twenty-odd novels later, some of which are actually published, I am still here. Still talking to the furniture about plot ideas. Still checking word counts on my Pages app on the laptop. Still sharing weird ideas with my elder son, David, who is patient and listens to me. (He got to "be" in Éire's Devil King as a sort of reward!)
I haven't yet finished writing a Regency that made me happy, though I am working on one, now. Today, actually. I am in hope that, after twenty years, I might finally be able to create witty repartee between my hero and heroine rather than killing off most of a bloodline in the first chapter and maiming my hero one-third of the way through the book. Because that's apparently what happens when I try to be witty and lighthearted.
(It's hard, by the way, to find a respectable "Handsome Historical Hero" cover image in which Our Hero is missing his right arm!)
When I first started writing, I had no internet. I researched at the local library and with a disc-based encyclopedia on the old Macintosh computer in the dining room of our apartment in Tempe, Arizona. All manuscripts were submitted in manuscript boxes, mailed with fear and trepidation and hope, and received the same way when they were rejected.
I began self-publishing before most folks did so. Me, a hipster. Who knew? And I wrote magazine columns and have been able to help other writers in their craft.
Today, the publishing industry is vastly different in so many ways. So much an author has to do on their own unless they are a Somebody. And even Somebodies have to do a bit of self-promoting (or hire someone who does it for them). I am a failure at this part of the job.
I never wanted to be a writer, twenty years ago. I was a storyteller, though, and I still am. Whether it's telling stories to my readers, to my kids, or to my furniture. :)
I hope I always will be.
"Sandi, what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Maybe I should rewrite my bio. ;-)