I had a huge surprise yesterday–my historical novel, A DECENT WOMAN came out on Amazon two weeks earlier than our intended book launch. After the initial, thrilling shock, and a bit of scrambling about with Hannah, my book manager, I sat down and thought, “It finally happened.” After several years of writing, rewriting, editing, and more editing, tonight I am holding a copy of my book. It is surreal. I stared at the cover for a long time, and placed my hand on the cover. I don’t know why I did that, but my hand felt tingly–it was like meeting a new friend–the manuscript I’ve read for years printed on paper and on the screen of my laptop felt foreign for an instant, and then I realized something– the book, this story doesn’t really belong to me anymore. It belongs to readers, and so far, lovely readers have contacted me from the UK, Australia, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and the US.
I couldn’t open the book right away , so I read the back cover. It was strange, and I don’t know why I hesitated. When I opened the book, I went straight to the Acknowledgment Page and then onto the Praise for A Decent Woman, feeling extremely grateful to the writers who were so kind and gracious to offer their reviews of my book. Finally I thumbed through the pages and let my eyes fall on pages. As I scrolled down different pages, I immediately had a memory of a passage I’d agonized over, an added chapter near the end, the perfect description of a hurricane’s fury, inspired moments of writing, and life’s interruptions and challenges. I whistled softly, remembering how many times I’d rewritten certain chapters and passages, and followed my editor’s suggestion for a new ending. A friend’s suggestion that I remember the goddesses in my last paragraph.
What a journey I’ve been on since 2005. Ten years of painting and writing, and raising my kids overseas. Ten years of working, studying, graduating, and happy family occasions in between a divorce, researching, writing, and moving to West Virginia in search of a place where I could afford to live to write full time. I bought a house on my own. I look back now and it’s staggering how many lives I’ve led.
The manuscript that began as a tribute to my maternal, Puerto Rican grandmother for her 90th birthday became A Decent Woman. I know my mother and grandmother are looking over my shoulder tonight; I feel their breath on my cheeks and see shadows out of the corner of my eye tonight. Every now and then, I look over my shoulder and smile at them. My grandmother’s midwife, Dona Ana, who was my inspiration for Ana Belen is proud of me for telling the stories of the women of colonial Puerto Rico–my ancestors. My children are kind of awestruck by it all, as am I. “My Mom wrote a book…” they each wrote on their Facebook pages above the shared photograph of my book cover and Amazon link for the book. I smiled and blessed them.
After ten years of writing, a lifetime of living a creative life, and raising two awesome young adults–I am an author. I hope you will enjoy my first novel.