However, while no one would dispute that having one child makes one a parent, for some reason, some writers (raising hand) don't feel like a "real" author after their first book is released. Which seems absurd, on the face of it: if one writes a book, one has authored a book and, published or not, one is an author. Some friends have told me that they really didn't feel like a parent during the pregnancy; it wasn't until they actually held their child in their arms that the reality of it hit them. I have to say that I had a similar sentiment the first time I held a print copy of "End of the Road". But did I feel like a "real" author?
I'll tell you what I did feel: like I was living in one of my daydreams. The ones that writers spin in their heads during their day-to-day tasks (but not the daydream that includes me standing in a long gown saying "I'd like to thank the Academy....") The reality of it--the fact that I was a published author--somehow didn't feel "real" yet. And slowly this gave way to a "surreal" feeling. Obviously my book wasn't topping the NY Times bestseller list (or even the local paper's non-existent bestseller list) and I began to wonder if my writing career, like Harvey, could only be seen by me. This could be for several reasons, but the one that seems most prevalent is "What if they find out I'm not a real author???"
It's crazy, but sometimes, after "End of the Road" was published, I wondered if I was going to wake up and find myself doing the only writing that I'll ever get paid for: with icing, on a cake, with the customer telling me what to write. Or that my publisher might suddenly take a good, hard look at my book and think, "Oh, my gosh, we published the wrong book!" Or that I would have a reviewer post a -5 star review with merciless feedback ("Keep all writing implements away from this person... for the sake of innocent words and readers alike!")
Well, none of that happened (thank you, Lord) and when my publisher asked for the manuscript for the second book in the series, "No Lifeguard on Duty", along with my marketing plan, cover art, blurbs, etc. I knew that it was real. I really am an author. Not a NY Times bestselling author, not an author who's going to be making Oscar acceptance speeches (well, not yet, anyway!), but an author whose book was published, an author whose second book was eagerly anticipated by several readers (bless you all!), and an author who had a second chance to live a once-in-a-lifetime dream.
This is what a dream-come-true looks like!
For this, I have my publisher, my friends, my family, and the good Lord to thank.