How I became an author

I’m living my dream life in New York City as a full-time author of modern love stories, wife to my high school sweetheart, and Pomeranian-parent.

I prefer stilettos over flats, can never resist a romance with “duke” in the title, own way too many black turtlenecks, and think everything tastes better out of a fancy glass—especially champagne.

Even as an early reader I gravitated towards books with some sort of romantic element, so it’s not much of a surprise that the moment I picked up a Nora Roberts book from my Mom’s Costco haul and discovered that there was an entire genre devoted to romance, well …

That was pretty much “it” for me — my dream job was sealed in my mind, and nothing else would do. I went on to discover Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Judith McNaught, and to this day, I live for the butterflies a good romance novel can trigger.

I know for a fact that day dreams do come true, with a little bit of planning, a healthy dose of guts, and a whole lot of hustle.

my writing journey

Like most kids, I was no stranger to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer never wavered. An author. An avid reader of everything I could get my hands on, from the classics to whichever new release the librarian handed me, books were my entire world. As a child, it never occurred to me that I would or could be anything but a writer. But then, real life (or what I thought was real life) kicked in. Despite English being my favorite school subject in high school, and despite every single elective in college being related to creative writing or English, I was also a practical 20-something who thought that paying bills and following dreams were mutually exclusive.

I graduated from Santa Clara University with a political science degree and vague plans of going to law school. I didn’t go to law school, but I didn’t become an author either. Instead, like so many college graduates, I got sucked into the corporate world before I even knew what was happening. My first “post graduation” job was a receptionist at a commercial real estate firm, followed by several years working for a major wireless company on their e-commerce and web marketing team. It paid the bills with room to spare, and I didn’t hate it, and I tried for years to convince myself that was good enough. That relative contentment and financial security instead of undiluted joy on a daily basis was as good as it got in adulthood.

And yet, the writing dreams of my childhood were still lurking. The desire to write romance would rear its head occasionally. I dabbled with a few paragraphs at 22. Outlined an entire book age 24. Actually wrote most of a book at 26. But each time, I retreated back to the safety net of a steady paycheck, 401k, and fitting in. At age 28, something broke. I’m not entirely sure what, but I think in hindsight, I think it was extreme skepticism of the idea that “work” was supposed to happen between the hours of 9-5, Monday through Friday from a cubicle with awful lighting, combined with my thirtieth birthday on the horizon.

I couldn’t stop thinking that life should be more—that life is too short to spend it ecstatically counting the hours until Friday afternoon while simultaneously dreading the correlating countdown to Monday morning. I did a little soul-searching, and asked myself: if money were no issue what would I do with my life?

I didn’t even hesitate: I’d be a writer.

But money was an issue. I have to eat, I have to pay rent, and … I like nice things. So, when I sat down to write it wasn’t just for writing’s sake, though the joy from writing was and is paramount. When I sat down in 2011 to write a book, I also intended to finish it. I intended to sell it. And I intended to build a freaking empire from it.

That’s what I did. It wasn’t easy. It took awhile. It required some detours, and a whole lot of debt, and I’m still working on the empire part. But I got the agent. I got the book deal. And then another book deal. I got my first paycheck, and then another paycheck, and then another, until eventually, I no longer had to lean on my credit cards or my husband’s salary.

I published my first book in 2013. Since then, I’ve published over thirty books, many of them hitting bestseller lists. I’m living my childhood dream: I’m an author.

And because everyone’s too shy and polite to ask about the money even though they really want to know, I’ll come right out and tell you: yes, I make a living out of this. And yes, my income exceeds what I made at cushy corporate job, by quite a bit. I tell you this, not to brag, but to assure you that childhood dreams do come true. And as for that impossible goal of yours? What are you waiting for?