By Liz, who has been waiting for this day for a really long time!
You guys. I’m so excited. After almost 15 years of knowing what an amazing writer (and person!) Christine Keyes is, now you all get to meet her! Here’s a little background – Sherry, Edith and I met Christine at the Seascape Writers Retreat, hosted by Roberta Isleib, Hallie Ephron, and Susan Hubbard back in 2008. She literally crashed the party all the way from Australia and it was definitely fate. I spent the night on the floor of the room she and Sherry had, and we’ve never looked back. She’s an amazing chick and you’re gonna love her. She’s here with a post called Tell me a story. Take it away, Christine!
I hate nothing more than people who say they’re “gonna” do things and don’t. I even call these people “Gonnas”. One day in 2008, I heard myself say for the third time that I was gonna to write a novel. That made me a “Gonna” and that was not acceptable. So I sat down and wrote a book. It’s the way I roll. It didn’t take that long once I set my mind to it. And I knew enough about publishing to figure out I should get feedback on the novel before I submitted it.
The following year, in 2009, I thought I might as well get that feedback at a mystery writers’ course. I never do things by halves so I travelled all the way from Australia to SeaScape in Connecticut. Sure, we have courses in Australia, but where’s the fun in that? Looking back now, it probably was a little crazy. Even the taxi driver agreed. He was quite sure he was dropping me off at a cult, full of serial killers and I would never be seen again. He even went inside to do a little recon, before he allowed me to stay, making me promise to call him at the first sign of danger.
The rest, as they say, is history. I shared a room with Sherry Harris and Liz Mugavero. Edith Maxwell was in our group. I did not join a cult, I got (mostly positive) feedback on my novel and best of all made lifelong friends (with people who only write about serial killers). I’m being serious now. It’s inspirational to see how dedicated they are to their craft and how many novels they’ve published in the 13 years since we met. I guess they have theoretically killed quite a few people though.
I did finish that first novel and I tried to get it published, but since then life has taken over and my writing has taken a backseat. To be honest, I’ve made myself feel pretty guilty for not wanting to do it. But a recent gap year (OK, midlife crisis!) helped me discover what I truly loved doing. I spent four months traveling across the USA and Europe with no plans and no schedule. I saw amazing places and met fascinating people. I laughed. A lot. And then I wrote about it. Truly, writing the festivaloftina.com was like waking up from a coma. It has changed the course of my life, because I’ve finally worked out what I want to be when I grow up. And guess what? I’ve actually been doing it all along. Meeting people and hearing their stories. And then telling them, on television, in books, online and in person.
Everyone has a story to tell but not everyone can write. I know now that I can.
Readers, what about you? Anything you’ve been “gonna” do that you want to commit to? Tell us in the comments.