This is a guest blog I wrote that is appearing on author Melissa Ohnoutka’s Eat Read Rate June 22. A huge thanks to Melissa for hosting me!
When I was eight, I discovered why I was placed on this earth. No, not to be a writer – although that was already lurking in my mind as the voices grew louder in my head, wanting their stories to be told.
I was born to ride scary rides. The taller, the faster, the more twists and turns? I’m so there!
My first roller coaster ride was at the State Fair of Texas. Students in public schools around Dallas received a FREE DAY off from school and a FREE TICKET to attend the fair. Of course, everything from parking to food to rides cost beaucoup bucks, but I was all about going to the fair. Games! Corny dogs! Cotton candy! Rides! My mom took me and I had her all to myself, my little brother and sister staying home with my Nanny. So no diapers, no strollers, no whining siblings. Just Mom and me. That already made it a red-letter day.
Now when you’re a scrawny little 3rd grader, a humongous wooden roller coaster is about the scariest thing around – scarier than spiders, clowns, and long division problems given out by Mrs. Brock. Come to think of it, Mrs. Brock might have been a little scarier than the roller coaster at the fair … but I digress …
I got on this ride after being in line and hearing the tortured screams of passengers whizzing by. I even got on by myself – my mom is NOT someone born to ride scary rides. What probably made it even worse is that the man fastening me in told me to secure loose items, and he told me that meant my glasses. So I took them off, griping them in my hand. Now you have to know that I was the kid who could see the big “E” on the eye chart – only because I knew it was there. I saw a blur with some side blurs, not even separate appendages. Anything below that “E” didn’t register at all. Basically, I had 20/400 vision. In layman’s terms, that’s not good eyesight.
So I ride this very frightening ride – by myself – blind, holding on for dear life, knowing I would die any minute as the world rushed by in a blur of sound and color. And when it pulled back in and let everyone off? I was ready to go again.
I’m like that even today, years and years later. I live to go to Walt Disney World because I can ride Mount Everest, Tower of Terror, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, and Space Mountain. Fortunately, my daughter is a wild child like I was when it comes to wanting to be scared by getting on large mechanical devices that throw you around like a rag doll, leaving you bruised and battered and hungry for more. She was tall for her age and riding Space Mountain by age 6. We are adrenaline junkies to the max, arms held up straight by our ears as we hit the sharp turns and steep inclines.
Writing and seeking to be published is a lot like getting on a roller coaster. It has so many ups and downs, you become giddy … woozy … even nauseous (take that, you nasty rejection letter!). It has twists and turns that throw you for a loop. Takes you to dizzying new heights. Drops you to incredible lows (which a 1-day pity party of crying, wine, and dark chocolate help as far as recovery goes). Just like that moment before the Tower of Terror drops me, in submitting what I’ve written to my editor, I know something’s coming. I’m committed to it. No stopping the ride. No getting off. Then the drops and swoops and thrills occur. I’m powerless to do anything since the manuscript’s now out of my hands. And just as when I get off a fast ride, I want to ride it again – no matter how long the wait in line. Nowadays, I’m compelled to get my stories down. Send them off. And hope and pray and sweat bullets that my editor will love my people and plot as much as I do.
Writing romance novels is more exhilarating than that 2-minute joyride at the amusement park. It’s painful. Exciting. It fills me with fear. Waiting to hear back from my editor is nerve-wracking. I’m anxious, queasy, nervous, all over the place. And then a YES comes (Yea for the yes!!!!), and there are edits and rewrites and cover art decisions to be made. Then my baby is thrown out there for the ride. No turning back. It’s out of my control. The book is published. Readers will either go along for the ride and love it or read it and never want to get back on my train again. I’ve learned to take the good with the bad. Move on. And above else, just keep writing.
I’m lucky. I’m living my dream. I have a debut novel out now, a medieval historical romance entitled MUSIC FOR MY SOUL. And it’s not a fluke. My editor wanted to see more from me, and she’s already bought two western historical romances. I hope she’ll want even more. But every time I submit, it’s like getting on a roller coaster again.
But I was meant to ride roller coasters. For the fun. For the thrill. Because I have to. I’m compelled to. Just like I’m meant to write my characters’ stories down and share them with you, Dear Readers. It’s become a necessity. It’s hard work, but it gives me that same adrenaline rush as getting on a roller coaster. I hope it always will.
When not visiting amusement parks or listening to her characters clamor for her attention while she’s trying to watch House Hunters, Lauren Linwood enjoys walking, reading, watching movies, and attending sporting events.