Author Julie Whitley tells the story of a dream that's become a reality after 20 years.
My most persistent dream since I was nine years old was to write my own book. I had had a love of books from the time I could toddle, so it seemed a natural progression to go from losing myself in someone else’s story to being swept up in my own. I was too young to be daunted. Although my enthusiasm never waned over the years, other priorities like education and career and then family supplanted the aspiration. In the back of my mind, however, the dream never lost its glimmer.
When circumstance allowed I began to take creative writing courses, first at Sheridan, then McMaster. Life intervened again and it was several years until I could return to the seeds sown in the Sheridan course. A classroom exercise became the inciting event for my book. The fascinating element of the exercise was what happened to the character I created, David. He began to live and became increasingly insistent on being heard. I was taken by surprise with this aspect of writing. Over the next 20 years, his voice became impossible to ignore, worse when his son and wife joined the mix. I had no choice but to finish and what a great ride it has been.
Once I retired, I was able to take David and his family to an online course, then to workshops with editor/teacher, Brian Henry (Quick Brown Fox) and finally their story was completed in the Humber School for Writers with author Richard Scrimger as my mentor. At least, I thought it was completed. David’s family isn’t finished with me. I have since started the sequel.
The dream is about to take a further step when, in a few short weeks, I will have my first book signing. This stage is both exciting and scary. I have been published several times for non-fiction articles based on elements of my first career, but seeing in print something that came purely from my imagination is satisfying on a whole new level. The process has been different though. With the articles, I just sent them off, did a little tweaking where requested and then waited for the journal to come out.
This time, in order to achieve my dream, I chose to take the self-published route. I’ve been on a whole different thrill ride. From the copy and content edit, to designing the cover, setting the prices and learning the skills of marketing, each step has had its own curve. Now, with book in hand, I am putting myself out there. Terrifying.
Whether the results are sales of five or five hundred, I will still be happy. I will be holding my dream in my hands.