The following guest speaks close to my heart as I'm also a teacher. Please welcome Allison Knight as my guest blogger. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I did.
I never gave the 'real' life of an author a thought, until some interesting things happened in me that were directly related to my writing romances and the way people perceive me.
Let me start at the beginning of my fiction writing career. Here I was, a forty something, I been teaching Home Economics for years, I was mother of four, plump, and viewed as a grandmotherly type. In fact, more than once in a classroom, I got called grandma. So, you get the idea. Picture what you would imagine the typical Home Economics teacher of forty years ago to be.
Then try and imagine the shock of the other teachers who had no idea you were writing anything, when, at a teachers' meeting, your principal pulls your first romance from his briefcase and asks you to autograph it. Of course, in those days, the covers always featured the heroine and the hero leaving nothing to the imagination as to what kind of book it was. And at the time, romance novels were considered little more than trash. Quite a few people insisted they had little value and there was nothing worthwhile about them.
But it didn't end at the meeting. My principal insisted, before our assembled teachers that I had to include him in my next book. At the time my thought was, "Yea! I'll make you a villain." Of course I didn't say it.
I even made radio in those days. Paul Harvey, on his midday show, commented there was a Michigan teacher telling her students about family living during the day and writing romance novels at night. That raised a few eyebrows at school. I didn't hear the program. I was busy teaching and telling my students to put my book away because they couldn't read during class. But, believe me, I heard about Mr. Harvey's comments.
There was one shining moment in my early career as an author and I'd like to share that because it gives purpose to what I do. One afternoon, as I hurried to the workroom for something, (I don't remember what) one of my male students stopped me in the hall. He wanted to know if he could talk to me. He wanted to talk about my novel. By this time, I got a bit defensive if anyone said they wanted to talk about MY book.
He indicated he wished to have his say someplace private, not in the hallway, so we went to a corner of the library. I assured him we would talk, and I figured, oh boy, here it comes again! Another - shame on you, or how could you, or my parents.... I'd heard it all before.
Imagine my shock when he said he'd read my book and then sheepishly, admitted he'd never read a whole book before. I was stunned. He was a junior in high school. I don't know why, but I asked him if he like it. He said, yes, he did. But the story doesn't end there.
Two years later, in the fall, I was shopping in our local mall and stopped at the book store. Here came my student from the back of the store, his arms full of books. He had a stack of five or six hardback novels, and not small ones, by any means. He greeted me and said, "See what you've done to me. Now I spent all my spare money on books." At that moment I knew why I wrote fiction. If nothing else, I had inspired one young man to read a book and once he discovered how wonderful the experience was, he had to have more of it.
Now, when I get a bit discouraged, and wonder why I keep plugging away at the computer, I remember my student. It's worth my hard work if through my books another young person can experience the joy of immersing themselves in the world of make believe.
So, the next time you read a book, you might give a thought to the life of the author. Just what are they like, what kind of life do they live and why are they writing fiction. I'll bet they are much like you and me and I can tell you now, they write because it's in their blood; they have to write. And like me, they have probably experienced something that gives them the incentive to keep writing.
Allison Knight writes "Heart-warming Romance with a Sensual Touch"
Her books can be found at http://www.champagnebooks.com/