[Although Suzanne Anderson (Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure in paperback and Kindle Edition) had enjoyed success in competitive sports and business, she became aware that her life needed something more. But what?
In today’s guest post, the author reveals how she discovered why she writes.]
On a warm summer afternoon in 1994, as I walked home from my job as Assistant Vice President in Corporate Finance for a Japanese Investment Bank, I paused, looked at the wall of skyscrapers that surrounded me, and had an epiphany. As much as I loved working on Wall Street, I suddenly understood that when it was my turn to retire, my absence would not be noteworthy. There would simply be someone else to take my place.
Then I thought of my mother who was retiring that year, who’d spent her entire career in early childhood education, and who, upon retirement boarded a plane to work in an international school in the former-Soviet Union. When she got up from her desk, she left a living legacy of children who had learned to read through her efforts.
Then I thought of my brother John, who is a building contractor, who could drive me around his hometown and show me the historic homes that he’d brought back to life, the clients he’d helped to create a dream home. He is an American success story. With his wife Heidi, he’s built a business that operates on principles of integrity and quality work. His legacy is as tangible as the windows that open up to a water view.
My epiphany that day was that I wanted to leave New York and find my own legacy. Of course, at the time, I had no idea of what it would be.
It was actually my other sister-in-law, Kathy, who provided a nudge in the ‘write’ direction. After I’d left New York and spent more time poolside than I care to admit, with a glass of wine in one hand and a book on ‘discovering your perfect career’ in the other, Kathy called and shared a newspaper article she’d read about romance authors and suggested that since I obviously liked to read, perhaps I should try writing.
Did I start to write just because Kathy told me to? No. Actually, I wrote my first book at the age of 5 and have had a life-long love affair with writing. However, Kathy’s encouragement was the impetus to overcome a history of what Brenda Ueland called ‘helpful criticism’, in her classic work, “If You Want to Write”. As my mother loved teaching, as my brother loved building, I have always loved books. But after one high school teacher discouraged my early writing efforts, I buried the revelation I experienced when I read a book, the singular desire to ‘do that too’, for the more practical pursuit of a career in business.
Unfortunately, recognizing a desire is not the same as creating a new life. I spent the next several years writing, submitting, getting rejected, and getting discouraged. I wrote four novels and several children’s books. And while I loved writing, my books found no home, so back I went into business.
Then last year with a desire to simply see my work in print, I took the plunge into self-publishing. I published Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure in a much edited form, changing the setting from World War Two Budapest to a dystopian European city, changing the First Person POV to Third Person, and completely eliminating the original spiritual message. All in the name of creating what I thought would be a more commercial version of the book I’d originally written. And as what happens when something is not its true self, it went nowhere.
In February of this year, I re-published Mrs. Tuesday in her original version and finally discovered my authentic writer’s voice….a cross between literary fiction and religious fiction, a contemporary woman who loves God passionately, but sometimes wonders if He’s really listening. As a result, I discovered that this was the underlying voice in all of my books and one that I was ready to share. Once I embraced this authenticity, I felt more confident about my work and my purpose.
Finally, let me leave you with two quick illustrations of Why I Write: The other day I was reading Cynthia Rylant’s children’s book The Heavenly Village. Its unflinching beauty brought tears to my eyes and filled me with an overwhelming hope that I will someday write a book that will have a similar impact. And then, a week before, I was at my desk working on the final draft of my next book and as I looked up from my desk and out the window, I realized that if I had a week to live, this is how I would choose to spend it. I would want to publish my next two books. These books would be my legacy. I have finally found the answer to the question I asked nearly twenty years ago on the Brooklyn Bridge.
To learn more about Suzanne, please follow her on Twitter, become a friend on Facebook, and experience her story of Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure in paperback or Kindle Edition. In fact, this novel as an ebook will be available in a Free Giveaway this Friday, May 4 – Monday, May 7.
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one paperback copy of Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure by Suzanne Anderson — in a random drawing — to anyone who leaves a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight! The winner will be notified by email tomorrow.