Two years ago I signed a contract for Natural Attraction with Penner Publishing. I’d written numerous short stories over the years but this is my first novel. I’d taken a break from writing fiction to write non-fiction because
1. I needed money and
2.. I didn’t feel very wise.
Having teenagers will do that–make you feel broke and not very wise. And we don’t have dowries now but we do have weddings to pay for. Not that I didn’t adore those years. Quite the contrary. They were a rush of emotions and activity. Bottom line. I didn’t write unless it was for solid money. That meant I wrote about science. I wrote the truth about science. From this I learned at least one thing–don’t argue with editors. They have a tough job and a vision. Plus they won’t pay you if you don’t follow their directions.
I have an MFA in fiction writing and as a child I wrote prolifically. A writer needs something to be passionate about and for me that was science.I like how science changes perceptions. My best advice for those wishing to get into an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program is this–have an angle. For me, it was science. Writing about science wasn’t enough. I wanted to be a scientist. I honestly love the hands on aspect of laboratory research. I even like fixing equipment–perhaps because my grandfather was a plumber. I like scientists. They’re quirky and unbelievable humble before Mother Nature.
How did I turn back to fiction? I was encouraged to do so by other fiction writers. I sat down to write a short story and it became a quirky novel about a scientist in 1871 who takes a tonic to become a man and falls in love with a preacher. The novel takes a humorous look at gender and class roles in the Victorian Society when they were absurdly strict. My goal was to de-romanticize that time period because in many ways, it was terribly cruel. It also explores how science gradually changed ideas about slavery and human equality. As I said before, that’s what I love about science.
I thank Penner Publishing for taking a chance with this book. I am grateful for its acceptance because it contains a diverse set of characters. The Kindle version is on sale right now. Tomorrow I’ll be at the Pella Author Fair selling copies. Yes, you do have to get out and sell your books and promote yourself as an author. You need to be on social media.
I also thank everyone who has purchased a copy and thank those who have put up a review to help those who might enjoy it.
Did my life change dramatically in the past two years? Not really. I do now get to teach a fiction writing course. My students never fail to impress me with their passion and creativity. And every day –often in the morning and before bed–I spend some time with a new story to tell–weaving in my experiences as a scientist and a female. The bottom line for me now is this: there are not enough diverse stories about the female experience out there. I’m doing the best I can to tell these stories. Once again, to everyone: Thank you!