Yesterday was a first for me. The first time I did a keynote address. It’s terrifying to think about doing it, and even more terifying when I did it, but I did muddle through. I didn’t faint or make too much a mess of things. I’d like to share a little about what I spoke about.
My main topic was dreams, imagination, and accomplishing those dreams. We all dream about something, whether it’s writing or having a clean house. I’ve always had a fair imagination, so dreaming has been easy for me. My dream of opening a publishing company has helped me to get up in the mornings and go to work. If I ever quit dreaming, I’ll die. It’s so much a part of my life. That’s what makes us writers.
I had a dream to write a book. My first book has never been finished, but it was a learning process. My second book, Callie’s Mountain, was published and has done fairly well. I had such a dream about this book. I went to conferences and presented my book to several agents and editors. One told me she wanted to represent me, but then backed out later. This woman is not on my favs list. But it gave me a great opportunity to talk to someone.
One editor liked my book until she found out it was not Amish or about a religious sect. It was about a race of people, the Melungeon race. My heritage goes back to them. They are my forefathers, and I was raised in the second oldest town in Tennessee, Rogserville. There is a lot of history in that small town. Davy Crockett’s grandparents are buried there. That ought to be important, but it is a historical. At the time I was shopping my book, historicals were going out of style, and contemporary romances were coming in. I am a very determined woman. I published my book myself. The book is still selling fairly well.
Like most authors, I knew I’d sell a million copies right off, but like most authors I didn’t. I was not discouraged, I opened a publishing company. I’m still writing a little, but I’m publishing more. At this time I’m writing a book about the community where my husband grew up, Shady Valley, Tennessee. Never heard of it? Don’t worry very few people have, but Nothing Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley. It’s a murder mystery, probably a cozy mystery. So far I have written it in omniscience point of view. It’s not the easiest POV to write in, but it has been fun.
We’ll leaving KenTen Writers Retreat soon. It’s been great. Montgomery Bell State Park is beautiful, and the staff have been wonderful. This is such a peaceful place, and I’ve rested besides teaching and doing this crazy keynote address. I’m happy to have the honor of doing this, and I thank God for sending a sweet lady into my life that told me I could write. Thank you Wilberta Arrowood.