In 2006 I learned of the Rehabiltation Institute of Michigan. Eric and I decided we needed to give Arielle the opportunity to have intense physical therapy to see if any changes would occur; maybe she could walk again. I was still figuring out the best way to parent Arielle. We wanted to do everything we could for her but we also wanted her to be happy with the way she was. We finally decided to give therapy a try.
We left for Michigan in March of Arielle’s sixth grade year. Our family split. I stayed here with Kai until the end of May and then Eric and I switched. I went to Michigan and Eric came back to Florida. It was one of our most challenging times as a family. Arielle missed her friends, Kai was too young to understand why our family was split and Eric and I… well, it was a very tough year for our marriage.
In July of 2006 both kids flew home to Cape Coral to be with Eric. I packed the car and drove to Chautauqua, New York. There I spent the most amazing week at a writer’s retreat through the Highlights Foundation. I went to see and learn from Ms. Gauch. I attended her writing children’s fantasy workshop and was inspired.
That night I sat in a rocking chair on the porch of my hotel, rocking and writing ideas for my novel. Knowing Amelia Earhart had stayed at the same hotel–I decided to name my protagonist Amelia. I knew she would be just as strong.
On the long drive home back to Florida I spent my time creating more characters. Thoughts of my days in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, living on Poplar Lane and playing football with my neighbors came flooding back. I knew I could meld those memories with Arielle’s adventures in middle school. Add a lion-man named Winston and an evil wizard and I had a book. Sort of.
Silly, silly me. I thought all I had to do was finish it once and I’d be done.
In May of 2009 I attended a two-part novel workshop with Patti Gauch in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. This was a special retreat with a small group of writers. We all had seperate cabins but came together for our meals and our writing lessons from Patti. Our goal was to begin a novel, go home and finish it over the next several months, mail it to Patti for editing and then return to Honesdale in October. Since I already had a first draft I completed a second draft.
I’ll never forget that rainy day in October when I received my manuscript back filled with notes. I was crushed. Somehow I had convinced myself that MYSTIC had to be close to publication. All 330+ pages of it. Once again–silly, silly me. Thoughts of giving up plagued me but I made myself sit at the desk, read through the notes and try again.
I came home from Honesdale needing yet another rewrite. I got to work. Soon after I picked up my SCBWI magazine and recognized the name of another editor I admired. Emma Dryden…
To be continued.An Author’s Journey Part I An Author’s Journey Part III