Plans change. That's what keeps life interesting.
Life: Take Two, Three, Four. . .
As the cliché bubbly little cheerleader and Homecoming Queen from the small town of Beebe, Arkansas, I would have answered like this:
“I plan to go to college and get my degree in Speech Pathology. Of course, I would like to take time to firmly plant my feet in my career helping stroke victims learn to speak again or teaching young children how to enunciate properly and establish my independence before settling down and getting married. Probably somewhere around the age of thirty. Then, after three or four years of quality time with my new husband and plenty of travel around the world, we will try to have two or three children to richly bless and complete our little family.”
Ha! Of course, life always turns out as we plan, right?
I did go to college after I graduated high school, but I only lasted as a full-time student for three semesters before I decided I didn’t have the attention span for the traditional classroom setting, so I joined the Navy.
Yes, the Navy.
Never in a million years would I have ever described myself as G.I. Judy, but I did it. I said my oath to serve my country, left for boot camp in Great Lakes, IL in July as a peppy, bubbly teenage girl, and graduated in October as a humbled, matured woman. I was a proud United States Sailor. I completed my “A” school and received my first orders to New Orleans, LA where I would stay for my entire enlistment. I never stepped foot on a ship, never went “Haze gray and underway,” or visited any other naval ports.
My horizons hadn’t exactly been broadened as I’d hoped.
However, while I lived in New Orleans, I met my husband. A local, he showed me the parts of the city not smothered by tourists and introduced me to his friends and family. Things went well and we were married by the time I was twenty-three.
Not quite at my thirty-year mark, but who cares, I was happy and in love, right? We lived on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain in an adorable little town called Madisonville. My husband is an engineer, and with that profession comes frequent relocation.
Math & Reading
We moved to Tennessee for five years, and in three of those five years we managed to have three children, all boys, none of which were twins. You’re doing the math in your head, so let me simplify it for you.
Our first two are almost two years apart, and the last one arrived only fourteen months after the second child. My eldest son celebrated his third birthday exactly two weeks after my youngest was born, so for fourteen days I had a newborn, a one-year-old, and a two-year-old. I am a rock star. Then we moved to Texas.
There I was in a new state where I knew no one, with three toddlers all at different stages of development. I found a two-day-a-week preschool for the older two and finally got to read a book. The first time I’d been able to read a book in four years.
And That Changed Everything.
Which book did I choose, you ask? The Twilight Saga, of course. I loved it, couldn’t put it down, and finished the whole Saga in four days. I dreamed about it. I wanted more.
It was then that I decided I could be a writer.
That I wanted to be a writer.
Now, I’ve read the critical reviews, and I’ve even defended Mrs. Meyer in a crowd of bloodthirsty vampire fans who scoffed at the sparkly vamps. BUT. . . It inspired me to write. It instilled the confidence I needed to get the crazy ideas out of my head and share my imagination with the world.
So, I started writing, and I didn’t quit.
I wrote during nap times, preschool times, after bedtime, and early mornings before everyone awoke. Thanks to my DVR for providing endless episodes of The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I was able to finish my first novel in only six weeks.
It was a mess, but it was written.
After months of submissions and rejections to literary agencies, I was finally offered a publishing contract from a small press, and my book came to life in 2012. However, the honeymoon phase didn’t last long. After a brief and glorious success period, things fell apart with my small-press publisher, and due to "Creative differences" we parted ways. I revamped everything and handled the publishing for myself, and it's been better all around.
As you can see, we've moved a lot since we married. Two years in Louisiana, Five total years in Tennessee, five in Texas, three in Ohio, almost a year in Florida, three years in Georgia, and two years in Arkansas. Now, we have finally settled into our new home of Wilmington, North Carolina, which is very reminiscent of The Big Easy without the boobs and beads. This is the first place our family has actually chosen to live that wasn't influenced by my husband's job or our extended family, so I'm hoping this one sticks. North Carolina not only has a rich and fascinating history, but it has several spectacular beaches as well as the Blue Ridge mountains, with beautiful rolling hills in between. The whole state is beautiful, but I still try to keep the New Orleans flavor at heart and in my home.
These days I'm working hard to get settled so I can get back to creating more magic for your entertainment. I've already written more in the short time we've been here than I've written in three years. The water awakens my muse. Maybe she's a mermaid.