As I have posted on my social media already, I am having a book published. It came as quite a shock to a lot of people, who know me largely as a musician and composer. Now I feel may be a good time to recount how this all came to pass and what’s up next for me.
I’ve always loved writing. In elementary school, we had to write daily journals in order to improve our French writing skills. I often wrote multiple-part epic stories about my stuffed animals or princesses. When I was ten, I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time, and it inspired me so much to write my own epic fantasy stories. I wanted to someday become a published author.
Needless to say, those early works aren’t great. I’m not sure many are salvageable. But I have to hand it to Tolkien for inspiring me to write endlessly throughout my time in middle school.
When I was fourteen, I read Twilight for the first time. It was the first book I’d read set in modern times in a high school setting. While I enjoyed the book back then, I didn’t feel that the way high school was portrayed was accurate. As I read more high school books (fantasy or not), I found this observation to be true for many.
My gears slowly shifted from writing messy fantasy to writing urban fantasy. And then finally, I wrote the first draft of what became I Knew Him, my debut novel. It was the first contemporary novel I’d written and it was messy and overdramatic, as anything written by a fifteen-year-old is bound to be. But I truly loved the characters and their relationships. I just didn’t know what story belonged to them yet.
Throughout my time in undergrad at Mount Allison, I often returned to this story and these characters as a way to relax after spending a whole day thinking critically about music. I wrote countless false starts late in my dorm room, trying to figure out how these characters could have the story they needed. I never got it just right.
Then I read Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and something clicked in my brain. It was the first LGBTQIA book I’d read where the characters had a happy ending. Back then, most non-straight characters in media had relatively hard lives. It was rare to see someone happy for more than a few moments (or episodes, if we’re thinking in TV terms). A lot of LGBTQIA side characters in books also had little time to shine, or were miserable for most of the story. I realized I wanted to write a story like Boy Meets Boy, and the characters from I Knew Him seemed like the perfect people to experience this joyful story.
Countless rewrites and two music degrees later, I had my final version of I Knew Him. At one point, in between degrees I’d queried the novel and was rejected each time. Since I was still in school, I put the draft aside and decided to query with more intensity when I was all graduated.
After I’d graduated and was out in the “real world,” I started to think about the draft again. I found several places where more description could be added, or more character development could happen. I set off to revise it one final time. This time I’d taken it as far as I could go alone. It was time to start sending it out to agents and publishers that accepted non-agented submissions again.
I submitted my book to NineStar Press, received the automated message it would take about 12 weeks to hear back from them. As the weeks passed, I slowly forgot about it… and forgot about where the 12 week mark would be. I even decided I should rework a few points in the story one last time.
Then one day after I came home from work, I saw I had an email in my inbox. The email was from an editor at NineStar, and they were offering me a contract! I couldn’t believe it. I almost threw up out of the sheer shock from it. But as I calmed down to the idea, the excitement began to settle in. I told the editor I’d been revising it again, and she was fine with letting me do what I wanted before taking the reins.
So now, I’m here. I’ve sent out my final revision and it’s in the hands of the editor. For now, there’s not much for me to do but wait for the revisions to roll in. I’ve been writing other stories and writing more music. Mostly, I’ve been letting the idea of being a published author sink in. I’m so excited to see where this journey takes me. I hope you’ll all follow it with me.