Okay, I’ve been awful at keeping up with my blog lately! I’m sorry! I kind of have a good excuse. First of all, I’ve been writing like a mad thing. Kiki’s book came out in July and it’s been selling well. I love the feedback I’ve gotten from readers. I really love Kiki and it makes me so happy to hear that other people enjoy reading about her too. I’ve been working hard on the sequels to In Search of a Love Story. I like how they’re coming along so far and I’m hoping they’ll both be ready by the new year.
Another reason I’ve been MIA relates to a very fun adventure I got to go on earlier in the fall. I got home a few weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to post this. It’s a blog entry I wrote while crossing the Atlantic ocean on a cruise ship. Here goes:
Last September I was heading back to the classroom after a summer of amazing, fulfilling, humbling writing experiences. I remember a feeling of almost desperation. I had been able to focus on my writing all summer long, and it made me so happy. While I was excited to get back to my students, a huge part of me badly wanted to continue to write full time. I had published my first book over the summer and had finished writing and revising the second. The excitement of those experiences was unlike anything I had experienced. The thought of regulating the writing stuff to after school hours made me feel so sad—and scared, in a weird way. What if I never got to write full time?
What a difference a year makes.
When September rolled around this year, instead of heading back to the classroom, I got on a plane. Many hours later I landed in Scotland, a grand UK adventure ahead of me.
I’ve always wanted to write a book set in London. Most of my favorite books are set in England, from Jane Austen’s classics to Sophie Kinsella’s chicklit to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I’d been to London before, years ago, but I knew that to really do justice to a book set in the city I would have to spend more time there. Now that I’m not teaching, I finally had the opportunity to do it. I would spend some time in Edinburgh Scotland, London, and Winchester, before heading home on a transatlantic cruise (The cruise doesn’t really have much to do with the book research, but it seemed much more romantic and interesting than just flying home).
The experience was everything I wanted it to be. All three cities were amazing. I saw castles and churches, museums and markets, parks and palaces.
I went to the house where Jane Austen lived, where she wrote and published her books. I went to the church where she is buried and cried as I read her sister’s correspondence announcing Jane’s death.
Jane Austen’s house
Miss Austen’s writing desk
Well said, Jane!
I met interesting people everywhere I went and got enough material and inspiration to fill several books. Cruising home across the vast Atlantic I spent hours sitting out on deck, writing and watching the waves.
It was the trip of a life time. When I first arrived in Edinburgh and went through customs, the agent asked me my profession. Without hesitation, I told her: “I’m an author.”
Before I left home my best friend made me a series of CDs to listen to in the various cities I would visit. There was a moment listening to that music in London that I will remember for the rest of my life. As I walked along the Thames, in the shadow of Big Ben, a song came on my iPod called Crazy Dreams. Do you know this song? I guess it was originally done by Carrie Underwood, but it was covered last season on the show Smash. You can hear a clip of the Smash version over here on NBC’s site. Anyhow, the song is basically all about not giving up on stuff and how amazing it is when our dreams come true. It’s a little cheesy, but totally appropriate for walking around in London on a grand adventure of sightseeing and book writing. Ooh, and the actress who sings it on Smash, Megan Hilty, is who Andrea and I would want to play Kiki if they ever make a movie of my books.
Doesn’t she look just like Kiki?
It was such an amazing moment, walking along the river in this amazing city, hearing those lyrics randomly start up on my ipod.
Here’s to you free souls, you firefly chasers
Tree climbers, porch swingers, air guitar players
Here’s to you fearless dancers, shaking walls in your bedrooms
There’s a lot of wonder left inside of me and you
Thank God even crazy dreams come true
I think sometimes of what would have happened if I had given up last fall. My books weren’t selling well, teaching was taking a lot out of me, and it was difficult to write as much as I needed to in the limited amount of time I had after school. Writing the third book of the series was hard for me. I remember feeling tired and frustrated. The writing didn’t flow the way it did with the previous two books. What if it was no good? What if I never got my chance, if my books never started selling? Would it be worth it to continue to work so hard when the rewards seemed so little? A voice in my head told me it was time to slow down a little, stop writing so much, take a break.
Thank God I didn’t listen.
And thank God even crazy dreams come true.