It’s here! It’s here! It’s REALLY HERE!

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I totally feel like Little Orphan Annie. The old one. Maybe the new one, too, but I haven’t seen it yet.

I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. Or like my dog when she’s about to get a bone from the standing rib roast. Or like Little Orphan Annie: “Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya! Tomorrow. You’re only A DAY AWAY!”

In short, I’m a jumble or nerves and excitement because MY DEBUT NOVEL COMES OUT TOMORROW!

When I signed the contract a year and a half ago, I thought Jan. 6, 2015 would NEVER get here. I wanted to zoom into the future like Flight of the Navigator. Or Marty McFly. But no flux capacitor needed now because IT’S HERE.

And I think part of the reason I’m so excited is because this day was a LONG TIME in the making. Way longer than a year and half. It began about five years ago when I was writing my first first novel (The One That Will Never Be Published), and I got a freelance assignment to interview a young woman who was dying of metastasized breast cancer. It was a tough interview for many reasons but it really hit home for me because we were about the same age (late 20s at the time) and we were both newlyweds.

For days after the interview, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would do in her situation — and more importantly, what would my husband Fred do? Would he get remarried? What would I want her to be like? And that’s when this kernel of a novel idea came to me — what if a woman knew she was dying and decided to pick who her husband would remarry after she was gone?

I sat down and wrote four pages and then put it away so I could finish The One That Will Never Be Published. Three years later, I got out my four pages, spent six months writing the story of Jack and Daisy — these characters that had been living in my mind for that entire time — and sent it off to about 10 agents, searching for a new one.

The rest is history. Or, the future. As in, tomorrow. BECAUSE THAT’S WHEN MY BOOK COMES OUT! Thank you for your support on my journey thus far, and I’m so excited for you all to read BEFORE I GO. Can’t wait to hear what you think of it.

Also, if you’re in the Atlanta area or Southeast, come see me at one of these great events! Look forward to meeting you!

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Colleen Oakley is the author of BEFORE I GO (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, Jan. 2015), a love story. A former editor for Marie Claire and Women's Health & Fitness, she's now an Atlanta-based freelance writer. Find out more at colleenoakley.com.

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This article has 14 Comments

  1. Colleen, what an exciting time! BIG congratulations. My first novel came out 18 months ago and I still haven’t come down from the cloud. Hope the same happens for you. Sounds like a wonderful book. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

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