Today is Wizard’s birthday. So for Business Monday I’m going to share some of the reasons I consider my husband (aka Wizard) my biggest inspiration.
I had a secret dream of writing since high school. But for the first few years of our marriage, I was too busy. Once we had our three sons, Wizard went back to school to get his Master’s degree and I began to think that I needed a goal too. I loved our children and being a mom, but I needed my own identity too. When my sister gave us her old computer, I began writing while the kids napped or played, but I didn’t tell anyone. Then after a few weeks, I worked up the courage told Wizard, “I’m writing a book.”
He nodded. “Okay.”
“Do you think I can?”
He met my gaze. “Don’t ask me. Show me. Write a book and I’ll read it.”
See for those of you who might think Wizard is all sweet encouragement…bwahahaha! Um no. Wizard is a real man who judges on actions. So I wrote a book. It wasn’t easy. I had no idea what I was doing. In those days, we were on a very tight budget. Wizard bought me books on writing for my birthday and Christmas. He became friendly with the managers of our local Barnes and Nobles and Waldenbooks because he asked them for suggestions on books for me. Soon they had his phone number and would call him if a good writing book came in. I know this because I met the two of them and they told me how he’d search for just the right book for me.
He supported my dream with actions. Best gift ever!
And when I finished my book, he read it. Every single page. I don’t think he’d read a romance book in his life, but he read mine. That’s love people, because let me tell you, that book sucked. I sent it everywhere and was brutally and soundly rejected. But he never told me it sucked. He told me the things he liked, the things he thought could use work, and he came up with a better title than I had. I rewrote it and it sucked less But I still had a lot to learn about writing.
I joined Romance Writers of America. Wizard zealously protected my one Saturday a month meeting. He made sure he was home with the kids, or he took them to sports or family obligation so I could go to the meeting. Our extended families soon learned that I would not be available that one Saturday because Wizard made it clear. I knew then how amazing that was, but looking back, it honestly chokes me up. Wizard always knew there was no guarantee I’d get published. But he knew I loved writing and loved being a part of the community. That’s all that mattered.
Finally one day I was fed up with rejection. I’d been writing historical romances because they were big at the time but it wasn’t working for my voice. I decided to write a book that was just for me. I opened a new document on my computer and started writing about someone I liked and that I thought was fresh, fun an full of imperfections. I fell in love with Samantha Shaw, a newly widowed woman with two sons and running a dating service.
Wizard saw my happiness and asked to read a chapter. First time he’d asked since that first book. I sent it to his email to read when he had time. He was hooked. It became a game between us. I’d get emails and phone calls. MORE! WRITE MORE! We talked about the book all the time. We argued about plot points. I finished the book and did the usual submission process.
And one day, I came home from taking care of my mom (she was seriously ill at the time) and Christmas shopping to a message on my machine from Amy Garvey at Kensington books asking me to call her. I was stunned.
I returned the call and got her machine. I have no idea what I said.
Then I waited. And waited.
And then THE CALL came. Amy Garvey offered me a two-book deal! I was ecstatic. It took eight years and five manuscripts but I was going to be a published author. A lot of credit goes to Wizard who believed in me, pushed me, supported me and challenged me.
Sadly, my mom passed away before the book came out. She’d knew all about it, of course, and was so excited. She was very supportive too. As you would expect, it was a hard time for me in the months after she passed. But I had to finish the second book in the series, Dying To Meet You. I had a deadline, but I was…well…floundering. Wizard saw this and said, “I know how much you miss your mom and she’d read your manuscript for you. Let me read it and help you.”
I never told him that, he just knew it, understood that there is special kind of support we get from our moms. And frankly, I was scared. Could I do it again? The stakes were higher now that I had contracts and deadlines, and the book had to be good. The pressure had mounted on me just as I was dealing with grief. I wrote that first draft from my mom’s side while caring for her. This was also when I got sick with RA and the pain was unrelenting. I could only write for maybe twenty minutes before I had to take a break and ice my hands and wrists. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. Except…
Wizard. He read the first draft. And I thought, okay, he’ll do what he usually does and talk about it.
Nope. He surprised the hell out of me. Wizard wrote up a two paged, singled spaced critique, detailing exactly where I could flesh out scenes and add more mystery, humor or drama. I have no idea where he learned to do that, he’s an accountant not an editor. He’s never done it before or since, but that book…I needed him. I was floundering in grief, fear and physical pain and he stepped in to give me that extra support I needed. But it was more than that–he turned that book into something joyful during a difficult time. Every time I look up at Dying To Meet You on my shelf, I think of Wizard quietly helping me hold onto my dream while I struggled with grief and my own health.
So when people ask me, who is the biggest or most powerful inspiration in my life?
I don’t care if it’s corny or cliché, I answer with the truth–it’s my husband.
And that is what I wish for all of you, that you find your true inspiration.