Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mrs. Fredericks

I remember it well. Fourth grade, Mrs. Fredericks' classroom, Abbeville Louisiana. 1979.  I wrote my very first fictional story, called "Christmas in a Cave." It was about this family where the dad had lost his job, and they had no money, no house. They did, however, know of this cozy cave just behind where their house used to be, so they packed their stuff into bags and lit a campfire and lived in the cave. On Christmas eve, the dad scraped together the supplies to go and get a real Christmas tree, and some small presents. But on the way home, he ran into his old boss and it turned out they were hiring and Dad got a JOB!

This was my first taste of critical acclaim for my creative writing. Mrs. Fredericks praised it highly. In front of the whole class!  Including Carmen, my arch rival. Other kids looked at me with a jealous, admiring gleam in their eyes. Appraising my fame, wishing for their own.

I was hooked. This writing thing: it could gain you all the riches in the world!Fame! Fortune! The envy of people you go to lunch every day with! Maybe even to sit next to that boy you've had a crush on for the whole school year!

From that moment on, I've always been a writer. Some of the stories, granted, have not had the amazing power of "Christmas in a Cave" with its topical, hard-hitting social commentary on the rising plight of the homeless in the Reagan era. Themes of good vs. evil and the power of faith, family. But I've always written. And that moment of teacher advice, of acclaim, was something that truly shaped my path as a reader and writer. Teachers have a lot of power, y'all.

Today, another chapter opens on that journey from my very first taste of the power of the written word (and as silly as the above is, there is a kernel of truth in the awakening to my own skill that happened that day so long ago). My novel, Hoodoopocalypse, which dropped in a soft launch this weekend, is now available on ALL THE PLATFORMS! Kindle, Nook, Kobo, I-Tunes Books. Soon it will be out in print paperback.

It's a really neat story, and I've gotten some super amazing reviews. Last night I even had to pause our watching of The Simpsons to read one of them to my husband; it was so very exciting to have people who I'm not even related to so they don't have to pretend to like it LIKE IT!!

So yeah. I know I've been blabbing about this book for a while. But it truly is a cool story. I know books are probably like children and you're not supposed to have a favorite among them but I'll tell you a secret. Shhhh. Come in close:  "This one is my favorite so far." Sorry other books but it's true.

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