After dividing my epic post of gratefulness, here is Part Deux!!
(3). My Teacher Buds: Jane, Lisa, Danita.
All of the English Department at CHS rocks, but there’s a few in particular who have really been interested and believed in my writing career. After Jane read the opening of Road to Damascus, she always took the time to ask me about what was happening with the book and my writing career. Thanks for the proofing , Jane! Lisa was my cheerleader/pimp, and whenever anyone came in three feet, she was sure to let them know, “Hey, did you know she’s written a book, and she’s going to be famous someday?!!” And to Danita, my fellow carpooler, who always listened intently to me whine and moan about the business, but never doubted it would happen for me. She read the opening of Road to Damascus and gave it high praise, and cheered me on when I got an agent. She’s the first to comment on Facebook about my writing, and I know she’s going to be a wonderful pimp, er, supporter, of my books!
(2). My cousin, Andrea
Both only children, Andrea and I were raised like sisters. She’s three years older than me, and I usually see her everyday at my grandmother’s. Like me, Andrea is an avid reader, so I knew I wanted her to read RTD. I also knew her opinion would be important. You can imagine the pride when she told me, “This is the best book I’ve ever read, and I’m not joking!” Andrea was awesome in her ability to remember detail, so she was the most fun to talk with over plot points and all. Although reluctant to read YA, she did read the draft of the draft of the draft of TG, and she LOVED it! As soon as she was finished, she asked when could she read the sequel. I’ve promised to take her with me when I go on a book tour!!
(1). My Mom and My Grandmother
The two people who have meant the most to my writing career are my mom and my grandmother. Sadly, my mother isn’t here to see the progress I’ve made. She passed away seven years ago from cancer. However, I have no doubt in my mind that she foresaw all of this. When I was little, my mom always read my stories. She praised me and gave me the necessary self-esteem boost to keep on chugging. As I got older, she constantly told me I’d be her Pulitizer Prize Winner to which I’d joke that I’d write more Danielle Steelesque novels! The incredible bond I had with her can be seen in the relationships with Noah and his mom in Don’t Hate the Player and Mia and her mom in The War Within. And the theme of motherless children is seen in Road to Damascus and The Guardians. My mom was the best mother anyone could ever ask for. She sacrificed for me each and everyday, and there wasn’t a minute in the day that I didn’t feel loved, appreciated, or special.
Besides the Lord, there’s been someone shadowing me every step of this journey, and that’s my grandmother, or Big Mama as she’s called. When I first told Big Mama I was writing RTD, her surprise turned to complete and total support. I’ll never forget when she read the first three chapters last September. With total nepotism, she said, “This will be made into a movie, and you’ll be on Oprah!” Since then, she’s read TG and DHtP. More importantly, she was there through ever emotional breakdown of the agent search—talking me through it, comforting me, and putting up some serious prayers for my success. She talked me down from the ledge so many times I've lost count. Bless her heart, she also witnessed and bore the brunt of a lot of the frustration and rollercoaster mood swings. I could not and would not have made it through without her. Whenever I wanted to throw in the towel, she wouldn’t let me. She always said, “You WILL get an agent, and your book WILL sell…I just don’t know when! But I know in my heart, it WILL happen” I’m hoping since she was right on the first count, she’ll be on the second! Her love and devotion to me is limitless, and it’s hard to put into words how much I admire, cherish, and adore her. She's a great lady, and I'm happy she's on my side!