2009 was one of the best years of my life.
I gave up poetry at the beginning of the decade because let's face it, there's no money in it (but I still write poems. I can't help it!). I turned to fiction and wrote my first novel in 2002. It's a raunchy book about a consensual sexual relationship between a young woman and her step-father. The woman eventually murders her mother so she can be with the step-father. No wonder no one would touch it! Since then I've written another book and a collection of stories, but no luck with publishing outside of lit journals. Until summer of 2009!
I'm a realist, though, and I know this: I lucked out considerably. First, I wrote a zombie novel at a time when zombies suddenly became hot again--especially in literature. When I started the book, there weren't many novels about the living dead, just those darn sexy vampires. My book went for sale right about when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was selling well. That was just serendipity. Nothing to do with me.
My other stroke of luck was snagging Janet Reid as an agent. Not only did she sell the book, but she made it better! Plus she knows what's hot, and zombies were heating up.
This year I also received an Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship--which came with a nice chunk of cash. This was for short fiction and was awarded on the basis of my short story, Stuck on a Truck, which is still looking for a home. Hint, hint.
What was so good about all this was I've spent years writing--and nothing came of it but rejection, rejection, and more rejection. I'm not gonna lie: I was getting to the point where I was wondering if I should just give up and watch CSI full time. Or drink all day. Or take up golf. Or have a baby. But I didn't.
Bottom line: I feel extremely lucky and grateful. And if you're in the boat I was in for the last decade, don't despair. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you!