As those who know me know, I spent a decades-long career in the world of the American quilt—designing, writing, teaching, publishing, traveling the U.S. (and beyond) to connect with quilters everywhere and help them hone their skills.
Writing—in the quilting industry—meant writing instructions, mostly: “Sew Piece A to Piece B to form Unit C,” for example. Occasionally, I got the chance to write something a bit more exciting, like a feature article or humor piece, but not often. Writing and publishing non-fiction copy, however, helped me build solid syntactical and editing chops, not bad skills to have under my belt when I undertook fiction a few years ago.
That said, I had loads more to learn. Creating my novel My Life with Shelley took five years of concentrated, daily effort—months of reading book after book on the craft of fiction, researching the life of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley (her letters, journals, and other novels), actual writing, and of course revising, revising, revising, and revising again. I joined and formed writing groups, found writer friends, took writing classes in Iowa City and elsewhere, plus consumed volumes of quality published fiction.
Now, with My Life with Shelley agented, and encouraged by my agent, I’m at it again in the early hours of the morning, writing, revising, researching, working on a story, this one set in Winterset and with a darker theme, scribbling, scribbling, every day—6,453 words down so far, 85,000 (approximately) to go.