Ahhhh… the Stephenie Meyer phenomenon. Just how many writing phoenixes must have arisen from the ashes of the tortured Bella, Edward, and Jacob saga with a little light bulb and an “Aha!” moment of “maybe I can do this too?” The beauty of the Twilight books was not limited to the “cha-ching” sound jingling in the well-lined pockets of agents, publishers, and merchandisers who jumped on the sparkly vampire bandwagon. Instead, Meyers’ stories provided great fodder for a massive exodus of closet writers and sworn-off readers who concealed their copies of teeny-bopper romance novels behind the New York Times on their train rides into work or on the park benches while their children played, (although my cover-up of choice was actually The Wall Street Journal).
What was astounding to me as I breezed through the series was that a nearing middle-aged mom of three was able to single-handedly incite a mass following of adoring fans through her writing. This had to be a clear sign that there was hope for us all.
And in that same vein of hope, I forced fingers to keyboard and began to type, type, type—but a love saga was as far away as possible from what I happened to spill out onto the pages. Part social commentary, part self-help book, and completely not children’s book, even I was surprised by where my fingers took me when I first restarted that writing journey.
I guess there’s a lesson in there somewhere. Something corny along the lines of follow your dreams and find the rainbow or the silver lining or maybe the chicken that crossed the road. Moving beyond mixed-up metaphors, though, I think there’s a more important message, which may not be so lame-o. I set out wanting to write another children’s fiction book—preferably MG—so that I wouldn’t have to get caught up in a decidedly uncomfortable PG-13 scene. Yet, somehow I found myself writing an adult book about divorce cases among Muslim couples instead. Way to veer off course, right?
The funny thing was that after all was said and done and the book was published, I realized that the course I’d originally charted was probably not the best one to begin with. So, in the spirit of rolling with the punches, I’ve resigned myself to accepting the fact that the next Harry Potter or Twilight Saga may not be what comes gently gliding off my printer. But, whatever does happen to make its way off my keyboard and onto the semi-permanence of clean white paper, will in itself be a small victory. Because every time I write, I know that I am putting a small piece of myself out into the world and just waiting to see what the world might have to say in return. So, even if there isn’t quite a resounding “cha-ching,” a Hollywood contract, or a mass following, there is that satisfaction that a nearing middle-aged mom of three put something out there that may eventually gain an adoring fan—even if that fan is just herself.-Suzy Ismail