My MentorPosted: August 2, 2012
The other day I got an email from Redroom, a blog site, to write about “the mentor who most changed your life.” I haven’t been on Redroom in quite some time because for a while I was experiencing a technical glitch, but I thought, Hey, why not just post this on wordpress? A part of me jolted with excitement because as soon as I read the email, Linda Morrison Spear, author of I Know You By Heart, came to mind. (http://www.amazon.com/Know-You-Heart-Linda-Spear/dp/1439248788).
Well, it all started with The Hunger, which is now an e-book. (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/141089) People who are familiar with my work say this is one of their favourites of my collection, and on a personal level it’s always been one that I’m most proud of. That’s why I decided to keep it under wraps until I knew the time was right.
When I received an email from a writing contest with a picture prompt, I took the opoortunity to put it out there. The photo was of a building that could have been anything, but I used what I saw as “eerie” to accommodate my story. Other entries in the contest were love stories, murder mysteries, and anything and everything in between. There were several that I’d read that I just thought were really good and there was a lot of competition. I figured I’d try my luck.
I had to bring the word count up and twist the beginning and end around to suit the photo, but that wasn’t a big deal. And a few days after my entry was accepted, I received an email from someone I didn’t know saying how much they enjoyed the story. I was speechless! I couldn’t believe it! I’d rarely had feedback like that, and as it turned out, this person was no ordinary reader, but someone who had a lot of accomplishments of her own. I was flattered that someone with such an impressive background in writing and media would have taken the time to stop by to send such kind and encouraging words.
We chatted back and forth via email for some time, and she sent me a copy of I Know You By Heart. I absolutely loved it. It’s on my list of favourite reads, and it was so gripping that I was pulled into this book. When I think of this book, I just get this bittersweet feeling that overcomes me. Part of that is because of the bond I felt with Linda and part of that was just from this amazing story. It was just so real, like nothing I’ve read before.
As a person, Linda is kind, understanding, and just everything you could want in a friend and/or mentor. I’m still trying to get my Forever Gothic series in print, and she helped me to up my game with my query letter as well as get my first few chapters organised.
I got that drive to keep going, even if I end up with a million rejection letters. I was motivated. She taught me to just trek through every time I got a rejection letter with confidence in my work and in myself. It’s easy to lose sight of that when everyone is telling you that your book “isn’t right” for their agency. To the mind of a writer who is critical of their work in hopes of getting somewhere, it’s easy to translate that to, “You’re just not good enough.” She showed me how to take that at face value and to find someone who is better suited to my work. After all, you want someone to love your characters and wants the best for them as much as you do.
So Miss Linda, thank you for all of the support, advice and encouragement when I needed it most. Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to make it as a writer. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get *There* . . . Wherever “There” might be. But I have a copy of I Know You By Heart proudly displayed on my bookshelf, and whenever I feel those pangs of discouragement, I look at it and am reminded that someone out there liked my work enough to take the time to find me to send a message. And along with all of that, thank you for your friendship.