I’ve designated August as Author’s Month because there are so many women writers out there with important stories to share. And as we all know, writing in itself can be challenging and take a lot of courage, so what better platform to feature voices than Fortytude?
Here, mom and Fortytude exemplar Katie Anderson shares how she penned her first novel, Kiss & Make Up and first sparked the idea while at a marriage counseling session with her husband! She couldn’t ignore the urge to write and in doing so, not only accomplished a major feat (not to mention, a long-held dream), but she quickly sold her book and even had the film rights snapped up by Warner Brother’s!
It’s never too late to follow your dreams. And it’s never too late to give voice to the one that lies within.
I remember the day I conceived the idea for my novel like one remembers a first kiss. I was sitting in my therapist’s office, awaiting my weekly counseling session with my husband. Knowing the value of good marriage counseling, I had signed us up. This particular day, however, I was not thrilled to be there. Bored and frustrated with the process, I imagined how much easier it would be if I could just kiss my husband and know what was going on in that head of his rather than having to sit in a room and “peel onions” with a therapist.
Bam! Just like that, I knew I had the seed of a great novel—a woman who can read minds while kissing? Genius. But could I really write a whole book about it? Confession: I had been dabbling with the idea of writing a book for a few years and had even mentioned it to some of my friends, but their reactions were less than encouraging. Truth be told, most thought I had lost my mind—assumed I was having some sort of literary mid-life crisis—believed this “hobby” would soon fizzle out like the rest of my endeavors had.
“You’ve never even had a writing class,” they said.
“You don’t even like to read,” they noticed.
“Is this going to be like the time you tried to sell makeup or stationary?” they snickered.
They were right. I was approaching forty and in the midst of a massive marital reorganization. I had no writing experience. No real career experience at all. Didn’t I need to focus on my family? But the desire to write was so strong that I couldn’t ignore it. I had to try. And I knew just what to do. If I thought kissing and reading the mind of a forty-year-old sounded fun, how much cooler would that talent have been in high school? I would write a novel for teenagers! I knew a few young adult writers by then, and I had two daughters of my own. I was steeped in kid stuff. I stewed in it all day long. I even fancied myself a “young” forty. I liked their music, their books, their movies. I may as well be sixteen myself. Easy peasy, right?
The path to becoming a writer was (and is) the hardest single endeavor I’ve ever attempted. But little by little, I have done it. And without boring you with the whole whackadoodle journey, I am pleased to announce that after four short years, I have recently sold my first young adult novel to Amazon Publishing about none other than a mind reading kiss! It will be released this October followed by an internet webisode series produced by Warner Bros. Studios.
*shaking my head in amazement*
As magical and exciting as accomplishing that goal has been, I can truly say that the old adage, “the joy is in the journey” is true. It may sounds strange, but the most rewarding part of pursuing this goal has been simply pursuing it. I can now see that it was the hard work, the struggle, and the tears that brought the most pleasure. Like Sarah so eloquently teaches, I wasn’t just dealing with rejection (which occurred more times than I care to recall), I was learning grace. I wasn’t simply teaching myself about plot and character; I was deepening my spirituality by trusting God to help me apply these lessons. I wasn’t a lone ranger like I thought; I was connecting with other dreamers, inspiring my family, and befriending other writers. And I wasn’t just learning a new skill; I was embarking on one of the greatest adventures of my life.
I have no idea what to expect this October 2nd. Will my book sell? Will girls like it? And the burning question: Will I be able to write another one? Yikes. I better not dwell on it too long or I’ll get scared. But what I do know is that whether or not I take the world by storm, just trying to has made all the difference. I’d encourage anyone with a dream to step out in faith regardless of your age. And if you do, I hope that, like me, what you will ultimately find is fortytude.
Katie D. Anderson resides in Oxford, Mississipi. Her debut young-adult novel, Kiss & Make Up will be released in October of 2012 by Amazon Publishing. Warner Bros will be launching a Webisode followed by a film. Anderson will also be launching the cosmetics line featured in her book.
For more information on Kiss & Make Up and Katie, please visit her site at katiedanderson.com