The Long Winding Road

Part Two: Adventure Plus Independence — How Could I Have Gone Any Other Way!

Photo by Brent Cox on Unsplash

In Part One of this story I told you that I love change. That I love the fact that I never know what’s around the next corner. At the end of Part One, I had just driven off in my SUV to parts unknown.

Driving across the United States so much of what I saw touched my soul. I saw beauty, but I also saw ugliness. I saw riches and I saw poverty. Travel through the states, off the interstates, and you see the best and you see the worst. My experiences on the road filled my internal file cabinet with snippets of real people and places that would find life dancing on the pages of future stories.

I began to search for a home where I could take root. I found a temporary one in the high desert but I needed to hear the sound of pounding waves and feel salt air on my skin. That is where I felt at home. So I left the desert and headed to the sea. But this time I had a companion with me. Bo, a beautiful big, white dog that was so mellow I sometimes forgot he was in the van with me. (I bought a used Roadtrek so we were traveling in style — our own little house, with a kitchen, bedroom and bath).

We found a home on the Oregon coast. A coast that was so different from where I grew up. There were no wide sandy beaches covered with umbrellas and beach towels. No throngs of people swimming, boogie boarding, and body surfing.

This coast was windy, cold, and wild. Huge majestic rocks jutted out of the water. It was spectacular. We settled in where we could hear the pounding waves and feel the spray of salt air. This was a place where the stories in my head could spill out onto the page — first with screenplays (having completed the professional screenwriting program at UCLA film school) and then with novels.

My first novel was written during NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. For those of you who don’t know about NaNoWriMo, every November participants all over the world strive to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

With some trepidation, I signed up. I’m a “pantser” rather than a “planner”, i.e. I just sit down and write. No outline, no plan (no surprise there if you read Part One of this story). But I had a logline — an idea for a story expressed in one sentence. I wrote every day and at the end of November I had the first draft of a novel.

I started NaNoWriMo with this logline: can an artist on the edge be saved by the very art she created? I ended up with my novel Beyond Stone.

I didn’t know much about publishing at that time. I sent out a couple of query letters and participated on Twitter in a #pitmad. At the same time, I was exploring independent publishing. Being independent appealed to me. Foregoing the corporate gatekeepers and going straight to the reader appealed to me.

Adventure plus independence. How could I have gone any other way! Before jumping in, though, I researched and studied until I was confident I could put out a professional quality book.

I look back on my days practicing law fondly, but I don’t miss it. Well, maybe a little because I’ve written a legal drama. And that right there is the thing — I like change (again not surprising to those who read Part One) so it’s hard for me to stick to one genre.

I let whatever story is in my head crawl onto the page.

One story may be a contemporary psychological drama, another may be women’s fiction, yet another an adventure story.

I love to write and share my stories. Stories that not only entertain but resonate with my readers in a personal way.

It’s been a long journey from billable hours to novelist. Bo has aged. He has trouble getting up and he moves slower, more deliberate than his younger romping years. It’s harder for him to travel now. Although we plan on taking a trip up the coast so he can put his head out the window and feel the salt air on his face. He loves that.

There is no end to the long winding road. There are just corners. What is around the next one?