Many of the Bad Girlz are posting about our favorite books or books that inspired us to become writers. Like many of you, I’ve been writing my entire life. At Central Michigan University, I majored in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing and an Emphasis in Poetry. That’s my degree. hahahaha
Because I write really crappy poems (you can read one of them in my first book, DELAYED PENALTY), I knew I’d never make a living at poetry. I didn’t think I was good enough to write a novel, so I stopped working on my dream of being published.
Fast Forward to 2010. My first son was born and I chose to stay at home with him. That lasted five seconds. For real. I still stayed home with him, but I had to do something else. So I started writing again. And I finished my second novel. (I wrote my first novel in high school. hahahahahaha) And then the novel sat on my computer–just chillin’.
It sat because I was scared. It sat because I had no confidence. It sat because it was more about doing it than getting serious about publishing. I already knew my poems sucked–my novel probably did, too.
In 2011, I joined Twitter. And found voracious readers (like me!). And authors, agents, editors, bloggers and…WHOA! I didn’t know anyone else in my real life that fan-girled over books like I did. But here they were–my people!!
One night, I happened upon a thread on Twitter. Fan-girls were talking about book series–The SHADE Series by Jeri Smith-Ready. I started following the party hashtag and tweeted something about how awesome the book sounded and that I was going to read it. (YA paranormal – my favorite genre!!!)
AND JERI SMITH-READY TWEETED ME BACK!!!
She did. At that time, I couldn’t believe an author would tweet me back. They’re larger than life. They don’t talk to fans. They don’t…YES, THEY DO.
That party changed my world. Dare I say, Jeri Smith-Ready changed my world. I got excited about the interactions between authors and readers. I got excited about the community of people and knowledge sharing I had access to through social media. Which made me excited about revising the manuscript that had been sitting for a year.
Through #TeamKilt, I joined an online book club, Time Zones Will Not Defeat Us Book Club or #TZWNDUBC –if you ever see me post that. My Time Zones girls quickly became my best friends. They didn’t even know I was a writer. We developed our friendships over all the books we loved and fan-girled over. When I told them I decided to submit my book to agents and editors: They beta read for me. They critique for me. They became my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. From England, Australia, and Mexico to New Mexico and more.
In 2012, with a renewed love for all things writing, I went to RT Booklovers Convention for the first time and met Jeri. She’s just as awesome, smart, and kind in person as she is in her Twitter parties. Two years later, I met members of #TZWNDUBC at RT in NOLA. A year after that, I met even more members at RT Dallas.
So when you ask me what books or authors inspired me to write, I’ll tell you: Martin Cruz-Smith’s Gorky Park (series), Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Rachel Gibson’s Chinooks Series to name a few.
But when you get down to it, Jeri Smith-Ready launched my renewed love for writing. And her wonderful paranormal series introduced me to my best friends–who knew me when my name was Wendy–and have continued to cheer for me the entire way.