Sisters, the Short
and the Tall
When Mary asked me to do a blog, I was thrilled. When it turned out my blog day was going to be my little (and I do mean both younger and smaller) sister’s birthday, it was a bonus. You see, my sister is the person who opened the door to writing for me. And for that I am forever grateful.
My sister is five years younger than I, and I spent her first fourteen years waiting (fruitlessly, as it turned out) for her to get as tall as me so I could look her straight in the eye when I gritted my teeth, balled my fists and popped a blood vessel in pent up fury. Yep, my little sister knew how to punch my buttons.
Now, I realize that you might think my viewpoint skewed when I tell you I was the “good” child and she the “problem”, but it’s essentially true. I was a people pleaser, would (and still do) walk a mile to avoid a conflict. I eagerly anticipated getting a new baby brother or sister. And then when she, the only redhead in our family, was born, the motto “Never Surrender, Never Back Down” had to have been tattooed somewhere on her tiny body. I never saw it, but I’m sure it was there somewhere.
And after all of the aggravation, all of the needling, the spying on me, the in-your-face defiance when I was left in charge, we have somehow found a way to be very, very good friends in our adulthood. Not saying it’s always been smooth sailing, she still occasionally makes that blood vessel pulse. But I cannot imagine my life without her.
Several (bordering on many) years ago, when we were both at-home moms with young children, my sister, she of the flamboyant and never ending imagination and infinite impatience, admitted to me she’d been secretly working on a novel. It stunned me, she wasn’t a huge fiction reader, preferring non-fiction as a rule. I however was a slave to the story, novels, movies, songs; so she asked me to read it and give her an opinion. Well, I am the older sister, so of course I had one.
That opened the door to our writing five novels together. She was most interested in the creative aspect and not overly concerned in learning the craft of novel construction—which as it turns out is a much bigger task than either of us had imagined when we embarked upon this adventure. So we’d work on the story line and the roughing out of the scenes, and then I would go to work on hammering it into something that resembled a novel. It was great fun, getting together while our children were in pre-school and grade school and running through the possibilities of what road our story would follow. Little did we know that getting the book, or in our case books, completed was probably the easiest of the tasks when it comes to getting a book published and on the market.
But we kept at it. Learning more with each book we wrote. We always forged ahead with the next story while we tried to market the previous ones. Came close to selling to a publisher a couple of times, but in the end, none of those five novels have been published.
Then she moved away and began another career, leaving me alone in my creative venture. By this time, I was totally hooked and there was no way I was giving up. I loved everything about this process, the formulation of the ideas, creating the characters, and yes, even the challenge of getting the finished work in print. A year later my first solo novel, BACK ROADS, was completed and I had an agent actively marketing it. A few weeks later, I was offered my first publishing contract with Warner Books (now Grand Central Publishing). I’ve since published nine novels with the same publisher, and the same editor.
So I guess my sister had more than made up for the time she rubbed my face in the snow, and maybe even for the time she told a boy I was trying to avoid that I had jumped into the back seat of the car I was washing in the driveway and was hiding on the floorboard.
Here’s to a fabulous birthday, Sis. I can’t wait to see what adventures you take me on in the future.
And for those of you reading this who have sisters, maybe you have some stories of your own to share???
I’ll be giving away a copy of my first (now out of print) novel BACK ROADS to two commenters. (I have it and it is WONDERFUL!)