Becoming a novelist: The Journey
I grew up with my nose in a book. In high school, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was, “Margaret Atwood.”
I remember winning a writing contest when I was in third grade. My very wise teacher had arranged a brilliant prize—to be ‘published’ in the school library. Brothers & Sisters—five 8½ x 11 sheets bound by a yarn bow looped lovingly through the pages’ upper hole —got its very own index card in the wooden chest of drawers that functioned as the library card catalogue, and a place on the library shelves. My chest exploded with pride every time I walked into the library, knowing my name was typed up on one of those cards in the ‘F-H’ drawer: I was now officially an author. So, technically, Watermark isn’t my publishing debut. ;)
Writing has been my creative outlet my entire life. I won several short story contests as a young person, and when I moved to Toronto after university, I came across the Toronto Star short story contest. I submitted one of my stories, and quickly forgot about the contest. When I received a call from the Star several months later to be told my story placed as a runner-up, I remember the employee congratulating me enthusiastically. I sort of shrugged it off, and I remember her saying---“I don’t think you understand. This is a BIG DEAL. This is arguably the biggest short story contest in Canada, and you’ve made it into the top four.” That was a pivotal moment for me—maybe I could actually go somewhere with this creative love of mine? But the actual word ‘author’—I didn’t feel comfortable assuming that title until much later. Basically not until I had my published book in hand. Okay, now I guess it’s probably not pretentious to say that I’m an author, seeing as that is literally what the writer of this book is called.
Now, to approach the term ‘novelist’…