I remember that day like it was yesterday, except that day is far from yesterday. This "yesterday" that burns in my head actually fell somewhere in the fall of 2012.
Children have a conception date, and if my first book had a conception date, it'd be somewhere in the fall of 2012. I've come so far from the day I decided to have this child of mine. That fine night when I closed the erotica book with frustration in my virgin hands, I knew I had to tell my story. And looking at the TV and back at my closed book, I reminded myself that those Sex and the City gals weren't coming back (who doesn't love a story about women dating in a big city?) and that I shouldn't be so irritated by the book in my hands when I could just write my own and see if someone else would find mine equally irritating. Hopefully not! But here's the truth: I didn't even think of reception or how many pages it had to be. I just told myself to get writing and the moment I knew I had a connection with Summer, my main character, I knew I had a winner. Now I could write the female-based story set in DC with the diversity that SATC desperately lacked. Here, I could put three African American women and a Puerto Rican woman front and center. Well, these hands of mine were almost like a set of virgins because technically, I had tried to write a book quite a few times many years ago, but I could never make it past page 10. But this time, I had.
Now here we are in 2016, going on 2017 in fact, and my baby is almost ready to leave the nest. And like most parents, I'm not quite ready for my child to leave, because it shows when I keep packing and unpacking her suitcase, thinking I'd forgotten a word or something or wondering how I could convey my thoughts better than what's currently written. Perhaps the suitcase will never be packed perfectly, but sometimes you gotta realize when you've sat long enough on top of it and be confident enough that the snaps won't bust open when you get up and stop holding it down.
Sending a book off is like finding the right college for her. Should she go to Barnes and Noble, Ingram Spark, iBooks, or the Ivy League of them all, Amazon? Which location will heighten her chances of success? Maybe she should go to a few colleges at the same time. No matter what, it all becomes a big headache when it initially started off as fun, because certainty gets met with doubt and then other parents find out and try to help you by informing you which college they sent their children to. The next thing you know, you receive so many opinions, that you question everything in the midst of your gratuity for the "extra insight". One way or another, a choice has to be made, and then before you know it, you're sad when you hear a song on the radio that reminds you of the journey of raising your book from infancy to adulthood. The moment your book doesn't need you anymore, and the world needs it more, is a tough realization for some authors. You've cradled it for so long, you don't know what lions may come and rip it to shreds. But is doesn't matter. She must go. And one day you'll be like those parents who run into other nervous parents in the grocery store, bragging about how you have the house to yourself because your baby finally left the nest. You'll assure the other author that everything is fine before looking into her eyes to say, "But, I'm expecting again!"
Come on authors. We all know, we never give birth just once up in here. You just hope when you send each one off into the real world, everyone will love her, the way you did but perhaps more.