I grew up moving a lot. It wasn’t fun, but it was the way things were. I spent a lot of time in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the surrounding area. I lived in a few trailer parks (which was an experience I will one day write a Southern comedy about, but not today). The experiences gained by moving around a lot combined with staying in that particular area for a big chunk of my childhood gave me a quirk that I still struggle with today.
People watching. Apparently, lots of writers do this. But, so does a certain Joe Goldberg we all know and, uh. Nevermind.
My point is, people watching became a favorite pastime and I learned a lot about other humans this way. There was a bar/laundromat (not kidding) where my family frequented that I used as a launch pad for my people watching habits and duties because lots of folks came through there. Some wanted to wash their clothes and others just wanted a beer. Either way, I was there, tucked away, just watching and observing everything because there was just about nothing else for a kid my age to do there. One summer, a bar tender gave me spelling tests while I sat at the bar and my parents did laundry because he was a good guy. And may have had a thing for my then young mom. But, I often tell people I really did learn how to spell whilst sitting in a bar. That bartender taught me some tricks and helped me learn how to test myself, a skill I carried well into high school and beyond. I’m grateful for that place.
People watching is the very pastime I utilized to the full extent when I wanted to write a vampire novel based in North Carolina in an area I was familiar with. A few years ago, I nearly completed that very novel, though for some reason I never wrote an ending. I called it Vampires Of Fourth Street and I just let it sit since about 2015. That is, until a few days ago when my young teenage son found me at my laptop and said, “Mom, you should write a book again.”
He never takes an interest in my writing. Never. Ever. So, it sort of caught me off guard. It was a welcomed change, though, and I thought about it a good three minutes before I suddenly remembered that somewhere in my files was a novel just waiting to be edited, revised, and finished. I printed the first ten chapters (out of a whopping twenty-nine) and am still looking through them, but I have to admit I have seriously missed those characters. I really did a lot of work to create them and because they live in a place I could have passed a million times on the elementary school bus, I feel like I just know them.
I’m sharing this with you, my readership, because I want to hold myself accountable. I want to finish this novel, get it polished, and begin sending it out (send snacks and bourbon). I dislike the process of submission. And, dislike is an understatement. I don’t know many writers who actually look forward to the multitude of rejections and months of anxiety, but I don’t know every writer, either. So, I’m sure somebody out there likes it. Just, ya know, not me. Also, it gives me pause knowing that there aren’t a lot of publishers out there looking for vampire novels anymore.
Wish me luck, folks. The vampires have taken me hostage.