Years ago (we’re talking early 80’s), a friend of mine handed me a paperback. It reminded me of you, she said. I was flattered until I started reading the story. The main character was a single mom with more children than money. I had three kids and I was married (though my husband wasn’t, but that’s another story), so I was curious about the connection my friend saw between the book and me.
I returned the book to my friend the following Monday and asked her what she meant. The main character did remind me of you, she said, but you could write like that. You could be a writer.
I was shocked. Oh, I dabbled in diaries and journals when I was a preteen. I wrote a few poems in high school and college – over rhymed diatribes riddled in love-angst melodrama, but no one (including me) had ever "seen" me as a writer.
I decided to study Nora’s budding career. I became her number one fan. (We’re talking an Annie Wilkes kind of obsession.) I bought every one of her books.
When I discovered she was presenting at a Romantic Times conference a few years later, I went. I sat at the very front of her session, ready to capture every bit of her wisdom.
She walked to the microphone when it was time to start the discussion. Let me warn you, she said. I am here to answer questions about the writing profession. I am not here to entertain fans.
The way she said fans, made me shift in my chair and wipe off my “I love you, Nora Roberts!” smile.
She talked about the difficulty of making a career from writing. There was nothing romantic or easy about it, she said. It was a business. To achieve professionalism and make this a success, one had to work at it on a daily basis.
I was not offended by her no-nonsense approach; I was inspired.
I love you, Nora Roberts!