I have come full circle. One of the first things I did as a serious writer was send a story to a contest hosted by the Carteret Writers. My good friend and library manager, Robina Norman, urged me to submit a story and together we attended the awards ceremony. I didn’t win but I met a man from the Pamlico Writers’ Group in Washington. Today I am the chairperson for the Pamlico Writers’ Group and in the picture above, you see I was a guest speaker at the Carteret Writers’ Luncheon.
When I first embraced the idea of becoming published, I had no idea it would take so long. I started writing and dreaming of being published as a ten-year old in rural North Carolina. I was a shy, timid girl who preferred to hide in my books. As a high school student, a dear lady inadvertently became my mentor, when I struggled to find my place. Ms. Glenoria Jennette told me I had a choice, to let other people tell me what I could or couldn’t do, or be brave and see what happened. It wasn’t easy, leaping off into the abyss. I’m fearful by nature but I am also a Leo and this cowardly lion has begun to roar.
Writing gives me a voice I never realized I had. For much of my life, I have been the peace-keeper. I was unused to demanding to be heard. It is still difficult for me to believe anyone wants to hear what I have to say. Getting older has allowed me to speak up. I am still that shy girl who wants everyone to like her but I’m old enough to know, not everyone will. I’ve learned it’s more important to be real.
With fiction I am able to tackle the real issues that terrify me in real life: racism, cancer, domestic violence, human trafficking and addictions, to name just a few. I write my stories to entertain but if I also give you something to think about, then that’s wonderful.
I am blessed to be married to my own, slightly greasy, sometimes less than charming, prince. He is my best friend and my advocate. He pushes me forward even when I’d rather drag my feet. He has tried to teach me that I have a right to speak up and be heard. For a redneck, mechanic from rural North Carolina he is surprisingly–a feminist. He comes from a long line of strong women. It is through their influence and his support that I finally feel confident enough to publish my stories.
I did not get here on my own. I am grateful to my family, friends, neighbors and readers who have supported my dream and helped me to facilitate it.