Turning Medieval

Sunday means another great post from one of the fab Indie Chicks. If you haven’t already checked out the anthology, Indie Chicks – 25 Women 25 Personal Stories, it’s available on Amazon and B&N.

Sara is nothing short of an inspiration to me. She’s successful, and knows how to get her books out there in a time that’s increasingly difficult for indie authors.

Turning Medieval by Sarah Woodbury

Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint those moments in your life where everything is suddenly changed. When you look across the room and say to yourself, I’m going to marry him. Or stare down at those two pink lines on the pregnancy test, when you’re only twenty-two and been married for a month and a half and are living on only $800 a month because you’re both still in school and my God how is this going to work?

And sometimes it’s a bit harder to remember.
Until I was eleven, my parents tell me they thought I was going to be a ‘hippy’. I wandered through the trees, swamp, and fields of our 2 ½ acre lot, making up poetry and songs and singing them to myself. I’m not sure what happened by the time I’d turned twelve, whether family pressures or the realities of school changed me, but it was like I put all that creativity and whimsicalness into a box on a high shelf in my mind. By the time I was in my late-teens, I routinely told people: ‘I haven’t a creative bone in my body.’ It makes me sad to think of all those years where I thought the creative side of me didn’t exist.
When I was in my twenties and a full-time mother of two, my husband and I took our family to a picnic with his graduate school department. I was pleased at how friendly and accepting everyone seemed.
And then one of the other graduate students turned to me out of the blue and said, ‘do you really think you can jump back into a job after staying home with your kids for five or ten years?’
I remember staring at him, not knowing what to say. It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about it, but that it didn’t matter—it couldn’t matter—because I had this job to do and the consequences of staying home with my kids were something I’d just have to face when the time came.
Fast forward ten years and it was clear that this friend had been right in his incredulity. I was earning $15/hr. as a contract anthropologist, trying to supplement our income while at the same time holding down the fort at home. I remember the day it became clear that this wasn’t working. I was simultaneously folding laundry, cooking dinner, and slogging through a report I didn’t want to write, trying to get it all in before the baby (number four, by now) woke up. I put my head down, right there on the dryer, and cried.
It was time to seek another path. Time to follow my heart and do what I’d wanted to do for a long time, but hadn’t had the courage, or the belief in myself to make it happen.

At the age of thirty-seven, I started my first novel, just to see if I could. I wrote it in six weeks and it was bad in a way that all first books are bad. It was about elves and magic stones and will never see the light of day. But it taught me, I can do this!
My husband told me, ‘give it five years,’ and in the five years that followed, I experienced rejection along my newfound path. A lot of it. Over seventy agents, and then dozens and dozens of editors (once I found an agent), read my books and passed them over. Again and again.
Meanwhile, I just wrote. A whole series. Then more books, for a total of eight, seven of which I published in 2011.

And I’m happy to report that, even though I still think of myself as staid, my extended family apparently has already decided that those years where I showed little creativity were just a phase. The other day, my husband told me of several conversations he had, either with them or overheard, in which it became clear they thought I was so alternative and creative—so far off the map—that I didn’t even remember there was a map.
I’m almost more pleased about that than anything else. Almost. Through writing, I’ve found a community of other writers, support and friendship from people I hadn’t known existed a few years ago, and best of all, thousands of readers have found my books in the last year. Here’s to thousands more in the years to come . . .

Links:

My web page: http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/
My Twitter code is: http://twitter.com/#!/SarahWoodbury
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahwoodburybooks
Links to my books: Amazon and Amazon UK
Smashwords BarnesandNoble Apple

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6 thoughts on “Turning Medieval

  1. Sarah, you are a truly inspiration and my hero. As a divorced mother of two, those days standing on the dryer and crying don’t see so far away, especially since the youngest is two and a half.

    I think it is beautiful what you are doing, introducing U.S. readers to Welsh culture. After having lived in the UK, it’s not such a united kingdom after all and everyone is super proud of their roots (whether they be Welsh, Scottish, Irish, English or a mixture thereof). You have singlehandedly put Wales on the map for a lot of people so they don’t get confused and wonder where Cardiff, England is or why they speak with them funny accents (um, they have their own language and it is known as Cymru).

    Stay strong and I hope you continue to make lots of money but never lose sight of what is really important; your family and friends. We all know what you are going through and my heart goes out to you. You are the bravest of all because you can still smile and that takes real courage after what 2011 threw at you. Let’s hope 2012 is kinder in all aspects of your life. 😉

  2. A famous Winston Churchill quote comes to mind after reading this interesting (and motivational) post. ‘Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in.’

  3. Wow! What an inspiration. I was 38 before I picked up my first book to read. I hated reading my whole life and now I realize that it wasn’t until later in my life I was diagnosed with ADD and a few other things. When I was buying my niece books for her birthday I saw the infamous red apple twilight staring me in the eye. I thought I can’t read something that big. Well I found out that I actually could now with meds focus on something and the book opened up a whole new world for me. Needless to say I ended up sick for two weeks on my 38th birthday and started reading the book. My mother asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I told her the rest of the books. Of course she looked like who are you and what did you do with my daughter. After a year of devouring every paranormal YA book I could get my hand on I made a friend through yahoo answers. I don’t know how it happened, but she was an author too. She wanted me to read what she wrote and give her my opinion and suggestions. I must have read the first book at least 14 times and honestly my voice was in the book so much you would have thought we wrote it together. I was so infatuated with that, that I wanted to try my hand at writing. I wrote not knowing at ALL what I was doing for 2 years without putting together a novel. On twitter I met another friend, an angel really, that critiques what I write. I am now the closest I have EVER been on have a compete thought to put together a novel. I’m 41 and have written over half of my novel, which I never thought would happen. I worried about being too old to actually get anywhere with writing and it has brought me down on several occasions. But, now I feel like I can do it. I’ve noticed how much better my writing has gotten and fully intend on finishing it. I don’t know it will go from there, but I feel so proud of myself. I obviously cannot stay at home, but in every spare moment I get I write. Yes it is moving slow, but it is getting there. My angel is @erindanzer on twitter. She has self published and now has a contract from a traditional publishing company. (she doesn’t like me to tell anyone. I guess it doesn’t feel real and she doesn’t want to jinx it) But, I’m telling you anyway because she too is an older writer, not as old as me, but has put her heart and soul into it and now is pushing me to finish my novel. So, I thank you for this author interview. You cannot even imagine how much I needed to hear it. Of course Erin sent it to me. I told you she is my angel. I’d love to follow you on twitter. I’m @staciesc and I’ve already have Michelle’s book and I will now look up yours. 🙂 Thanks so much for you inspiration. My heart feels swollen with joy.

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