I WRITE BECAUSE MY HEAD WOULD EXPLODE IF I DIDN’T

By Sherrill Bodine

 

As a child I was scolded by my aunt for telling my younger cousin that at night her Bonnie Braid doll and my Terri Lee doll came alive and played together.  I wove elaborate adventures that took place in the garden between our houses. Often the dolls owned by friends on the next block came and joined them. I created a world she believed.  She wanted to be a part of that world so she got out of bed nearly every night, rushing into the yard trying to catch them at play.

My cousin was my first fan.

In High School my grandmother scolded me for “Day Dreaming” in class, thus the C- in Math. I couldn’t help myself!  Scenes and characters spouting dialogue I made up for them ran through my head like a movie I couldn’t stop until I created the perfect happy ending.   One story would end, and then another immediately burst into life, filling my thoughts with how to help these characters reach their happy ending.

The C- remained on my record but the A  in Journalism and being asked to join my High School newspaper helped my grade point average.

As I was ready to leave for college, my grandfather advised, “Stop Day Dreaming.  Write down all these stories in your head.”

Release!  Freedom! The world became big, bigger, biggest!  No limitations to my day dreams except the breadth and depth of my imagination.

Only one of my 19 published novels have seamlessly gone from my head onto paper.  It was exhilarating to know exactly every word of that novel. And my editor only changed three words in her edit for Fawcett Regency.

The other eighteen novels have been rewritten many times before I was satisfied with the result, although, always the scenes were in my head evolving into the world and characters I wanted to create.

My mantra which I share with all writers is work hard, never surrender ( the sign over my desk reads “just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly”)  and hope for some luck. Although I have found that luck comes to those who are out there doing what they love – WRITING.

Then readers will believe you and become fans, like my younger cousin did me in the beginning.  They will want to get out of bed and pick up your book to be a part of the world you have created.

Once at a Writer’s Conference a reader rushed up to me, shouting “I am so mad at you!!  I stayed up all night to read your book and I had to go to work the next morning!”

It was one of the greatest compliments of my life.

 

Books by Sherrill Bodine: All I Want Is You, A Black Tie Affair and Talk of the Town from Grand Central Publishing. The Rake’s Redemption, Scandal’s Child, A Soldier’s Heart, Duke’s Deceit, Christmas Ball My Lord’s Lady, and Written in the Stars from Diversion Books