Allow me to savor this moment. I’ve worked for this for eight years – well for my whole life really. But it’s been eight years to the month since I quit my corporate job. I’ve always loved writing and in my job I’d strayed so far from writing anything that gave me satisfaction that I couldn’t keep it and stay sane. So I gave up the security of a regular paycheck and followed my dream.
I’ve been lucky – I know that. I’ve found two great editors who saw something in my stories that they thought made them worth publishing. But I’ve worked hard too: I write every week day; I’ve taken fiction writing classes; I've attended writing conferences; I’m in two critique groups; and I’m a longstanding member of Jane Resh Thomas’s writing workshops. I plug away. I never give up, but it hasn’t been easy. There have been times when I thought I’d give up – when yet another form rejection letter arrived, or I shared one of my stories that I thought was great and received feedback that told me I needed to take Story 101 again, when friends sold their books and I thought I never would. I’m lucky to have a very supportive husband who encouraged me every step of the way. He’s a lousy critiquer – he thinks everything I write is wonderful – but he’s kept me going in the dark moments of despair.
I have many many stories tucked away in folders that will never see the light of day, but every one of them taught me something about writing - none of them represent wasted hours. And now Hungry Coyote will be my first story to be enjoyed (I hope) by children. It's a bit like giving birth - the moment when you hold that baby in your arms and you forget the pain and distress of labor. A corny metaphor I know, but apt. I hope children love the gorgeous art work as much as I do. I hope they enjoy the poetry of the words. I hope their curiosity about coyotes is piqued. I hope they talk about coyotes with their families.
I’ll be thrilled if you buy a copy of Hungry Coyote, but if you can’t, then my next wish would be that you think of coyotes as smart, curious, adaptable animals and welcome them to live among us without us wanting to kill them or be afraid of them.