Today, we have the honor of chatting with our guest blogger, author Meredith Holmes. She is one of my fellow writers with Drollerie Press and a very talented storyteller. For her blog post, she’s been kind enough to give us the story of how she got started as a writer. –Angie
In the beginning… Well, there was me. Hi. This blog tour we’re (mostly!) talking about origins–our origins as writers, the origins of our stories…Maybe Origins stores. Who knows! I think most writers have a similar start–their imaginations, especially as kids. I know I did. I’d make up stories all day long to tell my stuffed animals, my brothers, my mom… Stories about the plastic Native American figure that survived the cold war and ended up in my bedroom (I’d made him into a lost descendant of Geronimo, his spirit trapped in the plastic drugstore toy that one of my uncles had purchased decades ago), stories about how the large tree outside the bedroom window was actually a woman and I sort of let my writing sit on the back burner for a while. I was actually first published in elementary school. I wrote a haiku about a kitten and it was put in the little school newsletter that was handed out at PTA meetings and in the language arts classes. “You should write more,” my mom and maternal grandma both told me. I blushed and rolled my eyes (sarcastic even at six). I would poke at it, making “books” with ruled paper and pretty wrapping paper as the cover, held together with brads or staples. Short stories that, looking back now, make me cringe but for a seven year old or ten year old, weren’t too bad (in my honest opinion *wink* ). I was too obsessed with becoming an actress at that point though and thought of writing as something someone else did, make me a script or write a book about me! In junior high I was asked to read a short story in an assembly. Wow. Intimidation, anyone? I glowed, I shuddered, I read, and I tucked the praise away for later, refusing to believe I might be good at anything, the self-defeatist certainty that adolescents seem to revel in making sure I believed that.
transformed at night. Stories about gremlins under the bed to scare my little brothers, about ghosts in the woods (sensing a theme here?), elves and faeries, imps and demons. As I grew older the stories evolved, took shape and form and texture as I read more and expanded my literary world (I was very precocious reading-wise and read way above level, which might explain some comments on my Language Arts papers from elementary school…).
Years passed and I began to dabble in journalism. Nothing serious–newsletters for campus projets while in college, technical writing for an anthropology project that was to be published in a journal, and some tentative poking at “unembedded journalism” which left me burned after the alleged publisher for the paper ran off with all of our articles and tried to pass them off as his own. I wrote a short story that was published on Byzarium (it’s now on Drollerie’s site) but I didn’t think much on fiction or “seriously pursuing” a writing career. During this time I had finished college and begun grad school, attempted a career at teaching but all the while kept coming back to my flights of imagination. I had notebooks of half-formed plots and ideas, pictures cut out or described which made me think of characters I was sure that I’d never use. Then one day, I was introduced to National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo, for short. My dear friend who told me about it had participated in it herself a few times and said I should give it a try (she had seen my notebooks!). I hemmed, I hawed, I signed up a month or so in advance but I didn’t give it much thought. At least not until one day soon before the start of NaNoWriMo when I was in a local New Age shop and saw a beautiful card depicting a male faerie: he was dressed in semi-Edwardian garb and had hair the color of autumn leaves, nearly translucent wings that were almost nonexistent against the brightly swirled background of holly and snow. “Cadfael,” I said aloud. “That’s Cadfael.” And like that, Unseelie was born. I couldn’t tear myself away from NaNoWriMo whenever I had a free moment and I eventually wrote Unseelie, Stone Circles and A Year and a Day–the three novellas which would become known as Unseelie.
I haven’t looked back, really–it’s been a rollercoaster ride getting published and now working on two more novels to submit and several short stories but sometimes, when someone asks me where it began, I do think of the kitten haiku and I tell them about my overactive imagination.
Visit Meredith’s blog at: http://meredithholmes.wordpress.com/