What I Loved Best About My Debut Year

Oh, this one’s easy. What did I love best about my year as a debut novelist? I PUBLISHED A GODDAMNED NOVEL, PEOPLE!!

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Okay, I won’t just exit stage right. Even though that was what I loved best, there were other things I also loved. Things like:

  1.   Getting to know my fellow Debutantes. Other than Louise, whom I’d “met” on the AgentQuery website, all of these women were strangers to me. One year later, we are bonded in a way that only people who go through a uniquely exciting and stressful experience together can be. Add to that the fact that they are generous, funny, wise, and willing to do anything for one another, and I have gained four new friends I will take with me far beyond this Debutante Ball thing. 
  2.   Figuring out social media (a little). I was a social media idiot when this year started, so much so that I’m shocked I was even picked to be a cohost of an actual blog. I’m no savant now, but I’m no longer intimidated by the rolling party that is Twitter, have learned to use Facebook for more than just lurking, and am considering launching a blog of my own. This may not sound revolutionary, but just ask Jennifer, our Tech Maven — I didn’t even know how to use WordPress a year ago, and now I’m the first Deb to figure out how to embed a gif in her post. That’s some bragging rights, right there.
  3.   Learning (again) how amazing my friends and family are.  I can’t say this enough: my friends and my family have been beyond wonderful in their support of me and my book. My second cousin Susan, whom I’ve never even met, has covered the state of Iowa talking libraries into carrying it. My cousin Laura bought twenty copies and gifted them to her friends. My friend Kim bought thirty and did the same. My friend Lisa is having a party for me in Seattle, and my friends Betsy, Audrey, Cheryl, Jaydee, Kendra, and Bonnie have invited me to their book clubs. Many other friends have posted reviews, recommended the book to their friends, arm-twisted their book clubs into picking it, and taken the time to email me to tell me they love it, which always makes my day. I’m so moved and humbled by their support that sometimes I just stop in the middle of whatever I’m doing and marvel at how lucky I am.
  4.   Gaining a healthy amount of perspective. All that said, while it’s great to be a published author, it isn’t the be-all and end-all, and one month into the adventure I’m fully aware of this fact. During that same month, my daughter went to college, my husband ran the trail race of his life, my sister graduated from nursing school at the age of 48, and my son got his first girlfriend. On down the Richter scale it went, from the life-altering to the mundane: the bills needed to be paid, the dogs needed to go the vet, the car needed its oil changed. Life happened, published author or no, and as the midlist reality of my new career sinks in, this unalterable fact makes me breathe a sigh of relief. And begin to write another book.
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After a decade practicing law and another decade raising kids, Heather decided to finally write the novel she'd always talked about writing. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop and the Tin House Writers Workshop, all of which helped her stop writing like a lawyer. She lives in Mill Valley, California, with her husband and two teenaged children. When she's not writing she's biking, hiking, neglecting potted plants, and reading books by other people that she wishes she'd written.

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