(Dear God, did I run Karin off single-handedly?!)
Normally I, like so many others, hate change, but change can be good. It can shake up the people involved and make them reorder their own priorities--like paying better attention to a schedule, for example *cough cough* and even the topic, which, this time of change, happens to be a basic reintroduction of ourselves.
Change was afoot in 1999 when I finally decided to pursue my lifelong dream of making a living as a novelist. My grandmother had just taken her first serious fall as a result of the Parkinson's disease she had been diagnosed with five years earlier.
I stayed with my grandfather, Granddaddy, while she was in the hospital, and late one night we wound up have a rather serious talk. For a man who'd seemed like he'd done everything, Granddaddy had a lot of regrets, and the very last thing he said to me before retiring for the night, was that he was sorry he'd never written anything.
I felt as if someone had smacked me with a two by four while at the same time turned a cosmic Klieg light on me. I'd wanted to be a writer from the first moment I'd read CAT--written by my mother in the sand at the beach--and realized that all those letters could be put together to make actual words.
And I wasn't going to be 80 years old and rattling, "I always wanted to be a writer," off as a regret.
I went home the next day and started my first novel.
It was awful. (No, really. And no, it will never see the light of day, but thanks for asking.)
I had plenty of failures, but we only have so much space here, so I'll just say that I wrote four novels, went broke, and sold my car in pursuit of my dream.
And, at last, Berkley, an imprint of Penguin, published CATCHING GENIUS in 2007, just over eight years after that late-night conversation with Granddaddy.
And that sucker just took right off--who knew?
MATTERS OF FAITH followed in 2008 and won a Bronze Medal in the Florida Book Awards.
And BETWEEN FRIENDS was published in April of this year.
Navigating the ups and downs of publishing has been the most difficult, most emotional, most devastating and delightful experience of my life. But I am doing exactly what I'd wanted to do since I was that little girl on the beach amazed at the words in the sand.
So change is good, and I'm satisfied that I'm going to have to really search my heart to list any significant regrets--though I suppose I'll have to wait until I'm eighty to see if that holds true, won't I?
Kristy Kiernan lives in SW Florida, where she still hangs out on the beach building sandcastles, occasionally bitterly regretting that she sold that car, and dreaming up new ways to bother her characters.