A Note from Tosca Lee
The first time I ever blurted out the words “I want to write a novel” I was home for spring break my freshman year in college (this is 1989 for those counting ;). I was telling my dad how I loved that a great book was like a roller coaster with its ups and downs, twists and turns. And then I blurted it out: I want to write a novel.
That day, my dad made me a deal: he’d pay me what I would have made working as a bank teller that summer, if I spent the summer writing that novel and treated it like a job.
It was a no brainer. (I was a horrible bank teller!) So I started my research, gathered my notes and that summer I set to work.
Two days in, I thought, “Wow, this is really hard!” I had no clue what I was doing. But I wrote through it, powered by a dream of seeing my books on a shelf one day, of afternoons spent on the phone with my agent or editor.
The dream didn’t go much further than that at the time. Neither did that manuscript, which rests in a crate somewhere in my basement like a skeleton.
Today, 30 years later as I finish my 12th to-be-published novel, the dream is different. I still want to build roller coasters, but the reason has changed. Because I’ve lost track of the readers who have told me, sometimes through tears, how important novels have been during trying times in their lives: during a difficult marriage, while caring for an ailing parent, in the midst of illness, recovery, or psychological challenges. When they couldn’t work, felt alone, or otherwise simply needed to escape, if only an hour at a time.
That was me, once, struggling through my first marriage. Dealing with OCD and anxiety. Needing to slip into someone else’s skin, if only for a while.
Today I don’t consider myself a novelist so much as a purveyor of bespoke, healthy escape—even if only from boredom. It’s a job I am humbly thankful to every reader for, every single day. Because I do it with the belief that we read—and write—not just to set real life aside for a time, make sense of the world, or to have fun (a pursuit I take seriously) but to know, ultimately, that we are not alone.
You may not know me, you may not have read my books. But I’m thinking of you today, as I work at my desk. And I am grateful.
A Note from Jennifer Mitchell, Bibliolater
Tosca Lee has a new novel, A Single Light, releasing on September 17th. For more details, visit last week’s post – Blog Tour: A Single Light
She has also written The Line Between which is in development for television! Learn more here: https://deadline.com/2019/01/edward-burns-radar-developing-the-line-between-thriller-novel-for-television-1202538907/