I had a similar experience at the weekend when I attended a volunteer orientation for the Tucson Festival of Books. A man setting up tables overheard me asking about the procedure to be included as a presenter at next year’s festival. “Wow!” he said. “Are you an AUTHOR?” When I said, “Yes,” he made a mock obeisance gesture with his hands. I beamed. I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember, but an “author” – that was something new. And it felt good.
With three non-fiction books published, a fiction picture book due out in May, and a novel to come next year, I still have to pinch myself when I remember that, almost 8 years after quitting my job at Target, I am finally an honest-to-god author. There will be hundreds of authors at the Tucson Festival of Books, many of them very well known, some of them mid-listers, and some of them brand new, and for the first time I’ll feel like one of them, and not like an interloper.
This is a good time and I’m reveling in it. I’ve worked hard for this tiny kernel of success. I’ve had my share of rejections from editors and agents, and critiques that made me want to tear out my hair, and I know that just because I’m realizing a dream right now it doesn’t mean that there won’t be more rejections and hair pulling to come: just because one editor liked my picture book story and another my middle-grade novel doesn’t mean that any more of my stories will be published any time soon. But humor me. Allow me to indulge myself. “Hungry Coyote” arrived in the mail this week — an actual real copy of the finished book. It was like holding my just-delivered child in my arms for the first time. (I know that sounds hyperbolic, but it took me longer to write than it takes to gestate a baby.) And yes, I cried a little bit.