It’s been a wee while since my last post, and a lot has happened since then. The biggest change is that I finally (FINALLY) got a job, after five years of applying for something (ANYTHING) new. It really felt hopeless for a long time there, and I was so deep in the valley of self-doubt I came out the other side completely numb to all the rejections constantly rolling into my inbox. I can’t even tell you how many jobs I applied to, but I can tell you how many interviews I had between July 2019 and July 2021.
So that fed into my general sense of uselessness, but then through a LinkedIn connection via my partner (it really is ‘who you know’, unfortunately…), and after a series of plot twists after that first interview, I was hired. I’ve been working now for just over a month, 100% remotely from home. This is a huge plus, and in fact a big reason I took the job and was excited about it, because it allows me to still have time and brain power to fit in writing on the side, wherever I can.
It honestly still feels strange to say that I have a job, and I’m so grateful that I do. For anyone in the throes of the never-ending job search right now, who DESPISES seeing people posting about finding a job through some random happenstance—when you just want all your hard work and experience to be enough on its own—I understand and hear you 1000%. That was me. I only hope that the cosmos aligns and one of your connections can yield an opportunity for you, as it did for me, completely out of the blue. Please don’t give up, and don’t believe your brain when it says that you’re the problem—you’re not. Truly.
The next big update since I last wrote is that I finally (FINALLY) finished my rewrite of Raven Book. I’ve polished it, rewritten the first two chapters after some CP feedback, and honed my query letter following the advice of some of my favorite authors. I’ve had to postpone sending out queries until my top agents reopen to queries, so I’m hoping that maybe this weekend, and into the next few weeks, I’ll be back in the query trenches!
I’m feeling confident this time, knowing that I really tore into the book over this last year, and that I’ve reforged it into an angrier, more visceral, and more romantic historical fantasy. I don’t know if it’ll be enough, since this whole business is so subjective, but I’m proud of it, and what it’s become. I’m just hoping someone else will connect with it too, so send some good luck and positive vibes my way if you have any to spare. And send some to my fellow writing buddies and Muses Nicole and Joyce, as we all dive into the trenches together! (And check out Joyce’s book LAND OF SAND AND SONG which was just published by Penguin SEA!!)
It’s been a poignant journey to get to this point actually, since I started writing Raven Book wayyy back in autumn 2013, when I was still living in Scotland and had just started my PhD. I’d write it alongside my dissertation, and procrastinate on one with the other. It was the perfect escape for my analytical brain, and I finished the first draft on Christmas Eve in 2014. I was back home in Connecticut then, and ran downstairs to tell my mom and brother. My mom said then that my dad had always wanted to write a book, but never got the chance, and I remember being absolutely floored by that. My dad was always a big reader, often falling asleep in his easy chair with a naval battle thriller paperback open on his chest, but he’d never once mentioned wanting to write his own.
So this book is special for that reason, and since it’s my first-ever novel that I finished. It’s been the book of my heart through so many life changes over these past years, and I haven’t given up on it yet. I’m ready to push it out of the nest once more, and see how it does out in the big wide world. Fingers crossed that someone’s looking for a spooky, slow-burn, witchy Scottish historical fantasy adventure!
It’s also poignant because (after getting our second vaccine doses!) my partner and I were able to travel to Scotland a couple weeks ago, and it felt like coming home in a way. I knew I was going to be re-querying Raven Book soon, so I absolutely relished being back in Scotland and soaking in all the atmosphere and history. We weren’t able to revisit the castle where most of the novel takes place, but we did spend a few days in Edinburgh, and we took a bus tour of the Highlands, where we got to stretch our legs and fill our lungs with gorgeously fresh Scottish air. This was our first trip outside of London since the pandemic began—actually it was our first trip anywhere really, since we’ve been trying to stay as safe as possible at home. So it was a big deal for us, and for my journey writing this novel. Once we got home, I reworked my first few chapters in preparation for querying, and I hope I’ve been able to impart even more of Scotland’s magic into my pages.
It’s also a nostalgic year for me, since I’ve been in the UK now for 10 years. It’s hard to believe how much has changed in this country, and back in the US in that time, and how much has changed for me too. But honestly, despite some of the darkest days of my life happening here, I also believe it was the best decision of my life to come here, and I’m so fortunate I was able to pursue my postgrad degrees here, and stay afterwards. I’m grateful too for all that the UK has given me, and all that I’ve learned by living here as an immigrant. Here’s to another ten years and beyond.
Now that it feels like I’ve come full circle with Raven Book, I’m feeling ready to move onto a new project, and hoo boy the plot bunnies are a-hoppin’ for my next idea. It’s still in the early stages right now, but with any luck, it’s going to be a dual-timeline multi-POV art heist thriller, featuring some of my favorite Venetian Renaissance painters…
I can’t wait to dive into it once I let Raven Book fly, and I’ll share more updates as I get into the drafting mindset again. I’m also hoping to do #AuthorLifeMonth on Instagram, inspired by Joyce and other writers I admire, since hey, I might not be a published author YET, but I still wanna join in the fun!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re staying safe wherever you are.
PS – Here are some tunes and books I’ve been enjoying recently. Let me know what your new favs are!