Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Enjoying The Second Act

The first time I heard that phrase was out of the mouth of Frankie Heck, the mother on "The Middle."  I love that show - a show about an average family with average kids who have quirks and ego and the ability to blend into the wall paper (Sue Heck reminds me of me except she has the guts to try out for everything and I tried out for nothing.)  In one recent episode Frankie is let go of her car sales job and is faced with figuring out what she should do, "What," she asked, "should I do for my Second Act?"  A second act, the chance to do something completely different, a frightening prospect or an opportunity? 

I was faced with the same decision about five years ago.  Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, I resigned from my position with our local school district and was faced with the question, "What next?" For me, the question wasn't dire.  I am fortunate to have a family situation that allows me to indulge my creativity.  I had time to test the waters, paint, draw and write.  The truth is, if asked, I always wanted to write a book.  I was not unfamiliar with the "writing" world having worked for various publications in the 80s and 90s before shifting to the world of elementary education (which, by the way, has the schedule most conducive to parenting).  I have written pieces on point of purchase advertising, the benefits of end cap displays, unique sales incentives and many a piece on Nuclear Power.  Is your mouth dry yet?  That was NOT what I wanted to go back to writing.  With some gentle prodding from my youngest child (who told me to get off my ass and write a book), I took the intrepid step.  

My first book is a series of humorous essays based on my life and observations.  It was an experiment.  If I could float that, then I could go for what I really wanted to do. . .write fiction.  Is It Just me? or Is Everyone a Little Nuts not only floated, it sailed and still continues to enjoy numerous sales each month.  With that under my belt, I endeavored to write a novel.  In The Name of The Father was inspired by an incident that occurred while on vacation in Virginia Beach and it blossomed into mystery/thriller.

My latest novel, No Such Thing, is a fictional account of a child killer based on events that happened in Michigan on the 70s.  It is both dark and sad but there is a healthy dose of redemption as well.  I am proud of all of my books but, this one, in particular came from deep within.  Amazon chose No Such Thing out of 10,000 entries to be a quarter finalist in its Breakthrough Novel Award.  I am proud of that, too.  The letters I have received from readers along with reviews are remarkable and evidence that I hit a nerve.  Sales of late have been so-so. I'm ok with that.  The feedback I have received has more than validated that I have done a good job.

So, my second act?  I can now say with confidence, I am a writer.

If you have any interest in my books, click on the covers and they should take you to the Amazon links.