If I needed to envision my happiest memory to summon a patronus, I'd think of the Houston Writer’s Conference. The first I’ve attended, I spend weeks preparing for it. Terror overwhelmed me every time I thought about meeting literary agents and editors, but much to my surprise, rather than the sharks I expected, I met professionals that offered nothing but encouragement.
At dinner the first night of the conference, my friends from the Houston Writer's Guild and I sat across from a certain editor/author of How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Rise Up (And They Will), a book I stumbled across several months ago while researching The Garden Gnome Liberation Movement (think Amélie). Never would I have imagined the crucial role my love of Michael Biehn, The Princess Bride and garden gnomes would play in my networking capabilities.
Over the course of the weekend, I learned a lot about the long and arduous process a writer goes through publishing their novel. I left the conference with contrasting emotions – terror that I’ll never get my novel published, thus destroying my life’s dream and months of hard (and payless) work, and joy at my first contacts in the publishing industry.
Though it may be years before my novel sees the light of day, this was without a doubt the best moment in my writing career thus far. A special thanks to my friends from the Writer’s Guild for helping me hold it together, Nikki Loftin for sharing her struggle to get her novel, The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, published, and all the agents and editors I met for their generous comments and guidance.