One would think that the “newness” of a book being published—the excitement, the knots in the stomach awaiting reader responses to see if they love the story as much as I do—would wear off after nearly thirty books. But it doesn’t.
Instead I find myself walking down memory lane. Reliving receiving the first copy of the first book, the intense emotion I felt on putting it in my mother’s hands, the sight of her reading the dedication and bursting into tears because she was so moved, so honored to see her name in a book with her child’s name on the cover. No one has had a lifelong love affair with books and loved them more than my mom. That memory still moves me deeply and is all the more precious now that she’s passed on.
Seeing one of my books on the shelf at the bookstore for the first time. Yes, I took photos. After all the time and work invested, finally—finally—it was real. Oh, who could forget realizing a dream that had consumed them for so many years?
The look on my husband’s face, on the faces of my children. One teen’s friend coming over and saying, “Hey, did you know there’s a famous author living in your neighborhood?” And my son laughing. “Naw, that’s just my mom.”
Then I walk down memory lane to my first signing. It stormed so hard that day, and yet our mayor showed up—and he has for every book released and signed since. And the first radio interview, a call-in show, where the first caller, who hadn’t yet read the book suggested I write nonfiction about real women, and I explained why this character was real and encompassed much I respect and admire in women. He went from hostile to convert, and I learned the value of loving what you write and the passion only revealed when it’s coupled with compassion.
And then I walk on, through all the releases after that, each holding its own place in my memory and heart. Each with its own firsts and special moments. Things that go unnoticed by many, unknown by more, but ones that have woven into my personal tapestry and helped shape the writer I’ve become. The person I’ve become.
How lucky I am to have had these experiences, these days. How grateful I am for them. And how happy I am that today the door opens for new memories of a new book that now ventures out to find its place in the world.
With excitement, knotted stomach and fondest hopes, I release it, wishing:
May NOT THIS TIME be a blessing to all readers and serve them well.
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