Since 2008 when I wrote The Six and decided I would seriously pursue a career as an author, life has been insane, so those numbers represent the insanity--and the achievements--of the last nine years. Of course, I didn't add a number for my husband, but he is the supporting force behind it all, and without whom I couldn't do any of it. He's so supportive of my crazy career choices that when I said a couple weeks ago, "Hey, I need to drive 11 hours north to Washington DC to look around and see what it's like for book 3 of The Breeder Cycle," he said, "... Okay!" (But that will be a blog for another day.)
Back to the numbers...
I have often felt split these last nine years. When I started seriously writing, I had just finished up my first year of teaching. I love teaching. I always will, and I have given 110% to my students, but teaching is not my primary vocation or passion. Writing as a hobby can be done in snatches of time here and there, but writing as a career demands hours and hours of time--it demands the sort of attention that a true second job demands. And I was not interested in writing as a hobby. Over the years, I wrote, and continued writing, and developed my social media platforms, built this website, and signed with The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House in late 2011, re-releasing books 1-3 of The Gateway Chronicles in 2012 and releasing book 4 all in that year, while also giving birth to my third son (THAT was a YEAR). Several of my books hit bestseller status on Amazon as the years went on, and the demands of two jobs and a growing family on one Me seemed sometimes to hit the tipping point. Being an author has sent me on some grand adventures, too--Austin, TX; Sydney, Australia; Savannah, GA; Atlanta, GA; Nashville, TN; Los Angeles, CA; and Miami, FL--and entered me into discussions with movie directors, graphic novelists, and other fabulous people. Between 2015 and early 2017, I have received 7 awards on my books, opening up new opportunities.
But I now have four children, and all this time I've remained a teacher, and that has always called me home. And when I'm asked how I've done these things and lived this double (or triple, really) life, sometimes I'm honestly not sure. Because it seems impossible to juggle--to have juggled--all these things for all these years. What I do know, though, is that the teaching chapter of my life is coming to a close. I am incredibly thankful to my school and my students and my years teaching, but as I shop around my 9th manuscript to agents and publishers, I know that the only way for me to keep my priorities straight--as a wife and mother--and to be true to my passion and vocation, is for me to focus on my writing career.
SO, the numbers will be changing at the end of this school year! Hopefully I will have finished my next book, so perhaps that number will be up to 10 by then. I don't know if I will have won any more awards, but maybe! That would be nice. We'll see. Still only 4 boys--we are DONE. 1 job! Full-time author. And 1 Me who will hopefully be better rested, better focused, and better able to take on new challenges in the publishing world!