I’ve had a lifelong love affair with books. As a kid, I spent a scary amount of time in the library. That was my idea of fun: picking out a huge stack of books to take home and read. Naturally this passion sparked a dream to write a novel myself. I made my first attempt around the age of ten. But I quickly realized I didn’t know anything about the larger world around me–certainly not enough to write a novel about a runaway in New York. Especially since I was a little southern girl surrounded by cotton, pecan orchards, and tall pine trees with nary a subway in sight.

So I set it aside and continued to tell myself I didn’t know enough about life to write a novel. Instead, I wrote poetry and journals. Because, of course, I am a total expert on “me” and how I feel. There have been few days in my life that I did not write something. In my early twenties, I did the poetry thing which turned into the song lyric thing while also journaling. It was a lot of fun to submit my poems to my college’s literary publication and give my lyrics to a local band to use in their original music. Cool stuff, but still no novel. At least a few thousand words a day for twenty years…and still no novel.

Not that I didn’t start a few in those twenty years. I did. I just never finished them. I’d read articles by other authors who spoke of getting lost in their story worlds and spending time with their characters as though they were real. Since this didn’t happen to me in my first couple of chapters or in my outlines, I never got far enough to experience being swept away in my own writing like I did in other people’s novels. I continued to dream, though, that one day I would write a book. In 2012, I finally got sick of just dreaming about it. The time had come to DO it. I made it my New Year’s resolution that January.

And it was a like mega-watt light bulb went off in my head–a switch of some kind got triggered. I didn’t even outline. I had a concept and some character sketches. That was about it. Once I passed the first few chapters, I totally got swept away–even better than reading a novel. Writing it felt like riding a bolt of lightening. Oh my dearest novel-of-my-very-own, where have you been all my life? Why did you elude me for so, so long? How I adore you, my lovely fictional world.

I completed that draft in about seven weeks. It weighed in at approximately 96K words. I learned a lot from it and about the craft of writing fiction that year. I spent a few months reworking it and making it leaner. In the meantime, I wrote another one–a little over 80K–during the month of November of the same year. I took the National Novel Writing Month challenge with some friends, where you write 50K in a month. I wrote my 80K in 21 days. Awesome? I was electric. Alive, I tell you. Really freaking alive!

I’ll never quit writing novels. I can only ask why in the world it took me so long to really pursue my dream. Or at least why it took me so long to realize how crazy-fun my passion really could be.

So here I am. I don’t live in the south anymore, and I never made it to New York, but I do know a little bit more about life. Now, I’m out here writing under the great big Idaho sky. Life takes us on some pretty amazing journeys. Never what you expect when you’re ten and gonna be the next Laura Ingles Wilder :)

I hope you’ll enjoy my stories as much as I did. -Kristine

Kristine McCord is a southern writer living in the beautiful northwest. She loves playing guitar, writing, soul food, art, the sound of bagpipes, and key lime pie. She holds a BA in religion and graduate studies in marriage and family therapy.

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