I started writing "Always Anika" in high school. As a sophomore, I lived out in the country, and other than school, sports, reading, and taking care of our animals, I didn't have many hobbies. So, every night when I could fight my siblings off of our one desktop computer with dial-up internet (okay, let's be real, I hogged it), I would get on Facebook.
Okay, Kelsie, but that's not your novel. I'm getting there, I promise.
I'd always loved to write, so when I found this Facebook app called "Bathroom Wall," I was hooked. It was this massive forum for people my age, and there was everything on there from the gross sort of stuff you would expect on the internet to pages and pages of stories kids from all over the world had written! It was amazing.
Basically, a person would start a thread with the first few paragraphs of a story, and if people wanted to read more, they'd let the writer know in the comments. The writers added stories bit by bit until they got to the end. I LOVED it! Not only was I reading great writing from other kids, but I was also "meeting" people who enjoyed my writing. I learned that I could tell stories people loved to read, and that I didn't need a Big Five publisher to do so (but that would still be neat).
That's how I wrote "Always Anika" - paragraph by paragraph on Bathroom Wall. It wasn't quite a work of art. It was full of typos and had some major plot holes, but it was mine. Ever since, it had always been in the back of my mind.
A few years later, (when I was 22) I revisited it. My brother was in the hospital, and it was honestly the worst time in my life. So, while I was staying with him overnight at the hospital and he was sleeping, I would pull up "Always Anika" and edit edit edit. It turns out writing was even more an escape for me than reading had ever been. Within a month, I had the whole thing converted to basically what it is now.
I knew I needed an editor before I published it, so I waited and waited because, of course, I was busy with other things. Then, a gal named Melanie Bergeron offered to edit it for me. And, of course, I let her. :) I loved her comments, and it helped bring the story to a whole new level. I was super eager and published it right after that.
Since publishing, it's received a new title to match the Texas Star series (it used to be called "Yours, Always") and another round of proof reading from another editor, Theresa M. Cole.
Now, it stands as the first book in the Texas Star series, a series of young adult contemporary romance stand alone novels set in rural Texas. Soon, I will add two stories to that series: "Lonesome Skye" and "Losing Abi."
Before publishing, I'd always wanted to be a writer, but never thought it was possible. Now, I know it is.
Have you ever wanted to write a book?
I want to hear from you! So many people I meet say they have thought about writing a book. What's your story idea? What's stopping you from writing it? Is there any way I can help? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or let me know in the comments. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!