I recently celebrated my four-month "anniversary" as a published author, and tomorrow makes one week since Prescription For Love, my third novel, went live on Amazon Kindle. I still can't believe how much my life has been impacted by this journey.
Thus far, my most successful effort in writing has been the publication of Fat Chance. Cass began her journey as a woman devastated by suicidal self-hatred, and Fat Chance follows Cass as she learns to be strong and confident. We watch her grow confident enough to allow herself to be loved. We watch her learn to stand on her own two feet, we watch her gain the confidence to stand up to people who are determined to take her down. We watch her learn to be who she is, and then we watch her learn to genuinely love who she is.
I'm not sure I'll ever forget the first time someone reached out to me to tell me how much Cass meant to her. It wasn't even a fat girl!! She was actually very thin and had struggled with her own small size all her life. Even with the typical "extra" pounds that stick around once we have our babies, this woman is still small. Two children later, she may actually be able to buy something in the adult women's section instead of the teenager department. She's a stunning woman and a spectacular person, but she related to the body and confidence issues in Fat Chance because body issues are universal. Fat or small, short or tall, we all have our doubts. We all have our insecurities, and she was no exception. She said:
"I don't think you realize the powerful book you wrote. I never struggled with being overweight, but I did struggled with being extremely thin. I was made fun of and had cruel jokes thrown my way. Like if I went to the restroom people joked that I was probably going to throw my food up. It was bad. I was very self conscious about the way I looked, the clothes I wore. So I had some of the same struggles just opposite and it (Fat Chance) was so hard to read at times because it reminded me of my struggle. My saving grace was my husband ... He saw beauty in me like no other."
It's strange, in the most perfectly perfect way, to be having people reach out to me in that way. It's strange to feel like I have something that's valuable in that way, something that other women would want a piece of. But it's also one of the most emotional and amazing experiences of my life. I can remember times when I just knew I'd never be "a writer," though I realize now that I have always been a writer. I can remember times, as recently as a year ago, when I was terrified, scared to death ... because I knew by then, knew with all of my heart that I
wanted needed to be "an author." But then I release To Love A Selkie, just over four months ago, and I'd done it. Finally, at 28-almost-29 years old, I was an author.
And then there was the fear.
"Would it be okay?"
"Would everyone love it, or hate it?"
"Would anyone like it?"
"Was that all I had?"
I was terrified that I'd be one of those people who really didn't have "it," one of those people who'd written a book just so that they could say they had. Even lower than a "one hit wonder," because that would have required To Love A Selkie to be an instant success, and it wasn't. Not to mention the tragic romance in To Love A Selkie gave me a good healthy terror of the review process, and it made me nearly paralyzed with fear as it came time to release Fat Chance to the public. But it went so much better than I ever dreamed. Comments like the one quoted above mean the world to me, they are things that I actually save to look back on, things that I keep in the little places of my heart. Still, I didn't ever picture them coming in regularly,
but they are. Another woman said:
"I can tell you unabashedly. Fat Chance moved me in a way you will never know. Reading Cass's story was like reading parts of myself, so so many of her thoughts resonated with me deep into my soul. Although I am married and have two kids and my health, I still feel like Cass some days on the inside."
I can't even express how much all of this means to me. But (through my blog posts and my characters) I can try. I can tell you about my personal journey with self-confidence, and I can share little bits of who I am with the people who reach out to me. I can be open and honest about my experiences, and I can keep myself accessible (even if I am a little slow on the email replies).
But in the meantime, I'm staying active, and I'm reaching back to people who have reached out to me.
Today, you can find a guest post that I wrote, expressing some of my own thoughts on every woman's journey to self-confidence, AND an extensive interview between myself and Jodie, one of two very fabulous lady bloggers over at Fab, Fun, & Tantalizing Reads. Jodie asked some really deep and meaningful questions, so go on over and check out our really fun conversation!
Also ... there's a giveaway. Because we love you.