Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Dreams can come true...plus a book giveaway
**Giveaway is now closed**
Cathleen Holst is a bonafide "Georgia Peach," as she was born and raised in Atlanta and has no intention of living anywhere where sweet tea is unavailable. She resides in the Atlanta suburbs with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Like Jerry Seinfeld, she is obsessed with Superman. Her writing influences include Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk, Helen Fielding, and Fannie Flagg. Cathleen has dropped by Chick Lit Central to talk about her dream of being published, which has finally come true with her debut novel "Everleigh in NYC." She even has one copy of this novel to give away to a lucky reader in the US or Canada.
If you like what you've read here, visit Cathleen on Facebook and
Dreams. No matter how far-fetched, you need them.
My debut novel, EVERLEIGH IN NYC, just recently made its debut—on Christmas Eve 2010, as a matter of fact. Pretty awesome gift, huh? When I think back to my childhood, writing was definitely a dream of mine. One of many, actually. At one time, I wanted to be a singer. Trust me, I followed the better dream. Despite my affinity for belting out tunes around the house, no one wants to hear me sing, not even my family. I decided to leave that to those who can actually carry a tune. Another was a teacher. But once I discovered my astounding ineptitude when it came to anything math related, that dream was doused. I also wanted to act. And many nights, alone in my room, I would act out my appearance on The Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson) after winning my first Academy Award. Oh the dreams of a child.
Writing was something I enjoyed immensely, but never really shared with anyone outside my family. Like most budding authors, I doubted my skills as a writer. I still have my doubts, I think most writers do. But if the dream of becoming a published author was ever going to come to fruition, doubt was something I had to overcome, even if only a little. This town wasn’t big enough for the two of us. One of us was going to be sent packing. And it certainly wasn’t going to be me, by gum!
Sounds like I stood up and stared doubt right in its grimy, failure loving face, doesn’t it? It wasn’t quite that easy. It took years for me to get to the point to feel comfortable enough to share my writing with anyone. If the writing was a class essay, I had no problem, because, even though the words were all mine, it wasn’t necessarily something I’d created. Tell me my writing isn’t up to snuff, and that’s fine. I can work on that. But if someone told me I couldn’t tell a story. Ouch. Those words cut deep. What good is being able to string a bunch of words together if they didn’t form an entertaining story? I avoided feedback at all costs. But I kept at it, albeit secretly. I wrote as often as I could. And the older I got, the less time I had to write.
At twenty-one, I became a mother for the first time. This left zero time to write as I was often working twelve hour days at a local carwash. Needless to say, money was beyond tight. It was non-existent. I never stopped reading during this time, so my love for the written word never faded. Fast forward fifteen years, and two more children later, I made the conscious decision to sit my behind down and write. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. It was during this time that I decided to write with the intention of becoming published. Why not, I thought. Just like the main character in my novel, I finally decided now was as good a time as any to follow my dream. However, I didn’t make publishing THE goal. I just wanted to complete a manuscript and see where it took me. Just like I didn’t make becoming a New York Times Bestseller a goal. If it happened, it would be amazing. More than I ever imagined. But I thought making something so lofty a GOAL that I’d be setting myself up for colossal disappointment. I liken it acting. An actor, I’m sure, goes into the business with dreams of one day winning an Academy Award, but expecting it will surely bring on a crippling amount of stress, not to mention depression when those expectations are never met.
Write for the love of writing. Nothing more, nothing less. Stephen King said something along those lines in his book “ON WRITING”. “It’s wonky, and immoral.” And if you haven’t read this book, you need to. I think it’s a MUST read for all budding authors.
So finally, half a year later (I’m a painfully slow writer—something I’m working on.) I had completed my first draft of EVERLEIGH IN NYC (originally titled THE STORY OF EVERLEIGH CARLISLE). After three more drafts, I began the submission process. No luck. Only rejections. And I was okay with that. The story needed work. I sat down and began a complete rewrite of my story, which took me another seven months. The rest, as they say, is history. I signed a one book deal with a small, independent publishing house.
Oh, happy day! My book was going to be published. My creation. My indelible mark on the world. Someone else thought enough of my story to give it a chance. It was a dream come true, the day I held that book in my hands. All the hard work, the headaches, the sacrifices, they suddenly all seemed so worth it. I just hope the rest of the world agrees.
Special thanks to Cathleen for sharing her thoughts with us and for offering her book for our giveaway!
How to win "Everleigh in NYC":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page if you can receive messages there.)
1. Please tell us: What is your biggest dream?
2. Please tell us: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
US/Canada only. Giveaway ends Monday, February 28th at midnight EST.