Isn’t it interesting how our lives take unexpected twists and turns? In my youth, I enjoyed writing poems, stories and plays. Like most teenage girls, I kept a diary in which I expressed the angst of adolescence. But I never thought I would become a writer. I certainly never thought I could be a published author.
As I reflect on my forty-five years in the field of music, I realize that while I was fulfilling one of my life’s aspirations, I was preparing for another. I wrote articles for a church newsletter and produced a monthly newsletter for my music school clientele. I wrote curricula, grants, staff notices, policy manuals, parent orientation speeches, and closing program speeches. As I developed five levels of weekly handouts for parents, I discovered how important it was to use precise wording so that even the parents with no musical background could use them to help their children at home. Without realizing it, I was becoming a writer.
As few years ago, I wrote a memoir about my childhood experiences living on a dairy farm, but I knew I couldn’t publish it without hurting some family members. Chalking it up to catharsis, I set it aside for several years. Recently, I resurrected this work and found that, through God’s grace and many edits, I had let go of any resentments I felt as I wrote it. Although it still lacks a title, I’m turning it into a short-story collection about growing up during the 1950s and 60s.
In 2010, I entered a contest in an online newspaper, the wydaily.com with a story entitled, “A Christmas Memory” which won first place. Soon God was placing all kinds of opportunities in my path. I signed up for a writer’s workshop with a local writer/publisher, Greg Lilly. From there, I participated in the inaugural Williamsburg Book Festival, organized by Greg.
In the meantime, I had written a novel, Unrevealed. Three years ago, as I approached retirement, I yearned for more time to write. I realized there were stories in my head that I wanted to express on paper. My first effort was a novella, Diary in the Attic. I had no idea how to navigate the publishing world but through research found a company that was happy to take my money. Since then, I’ve learned that legitimate publishers don’t require money in advance. They make their profit from selling their author’s books. That was an expensive lesson, but now I had a book to promote.
The following year’s Williamsburg Book Festival was a turning point. It was where I met Jeanne Johansen, CEO of High Tide Publications. Unlike other legitimate publishers I had contacted, High Tide was accepting submissions. Immediately, I prepared a query letter and synopsis for Unrevealed and was shocked and thrilled when Jeanne accepted it. Last year High Tide published my second novel, The Dark Room, and recently released Edition two of Unrevealed.
Becoming an author is a dream-come-true. I’ve discovered that I love writing as much as I loved teaching and performing music.
Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories and three published novels: Diary in the Attic, Unrevealed and The Dark Room (Don’t let the title scare you. It has a happy ending). Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman.