The short version
I'm a writer living in the Pacific Northwest. I write mostly for children and young adult, not because it's trendy but because those are the only stories that ever come to me. Honestly, I find adults extremely boring.
Cheer for my success or root for my demise. Either way, at least I'll have readers.
The longest version ever
This is my 9th attempt to build my writing career. Yes, I said 9th.
Attempt 1: It began when I was six years old and Santa brought me my very first type writer. No, I'm not a million years old. It was an electric typewriter from the 80's. I would sit in a makeshift office typing away, producing the finest stories to ever come from a six year old. I wrote a story of how the hummingbird got its speed, and a hero's journey through shark infested waters...you know, life changing stuff. This practice allowed me to go on to win a writing contest in the 6th grade. Something I will still worm into any conversation today. After that, I was hooked. Convinced I would be the next Laura Ingells Wilder.
Attempt 2: Alas, my teen years hit. I dove into poetry and song lyrics, writing about the dark void of my heart and all that other teen angsty crap. I was going to be the next Alanis Morrisette or Jewel, pouring my angry, misunderstood soul onto the page. Thankfully, none of that writing ever saw the light of day.
Attempt 3: In my early twenties I had my first son and so overcome with love and joy, I changed my style. I wrote about motherhood and love. I saw the world with new eyes and I felt the old me, the one who wrote stories of hummingbirds and sharks, coming back. I began writing for children again. I wrote a few picture books, some poetry books on motherhood, and even tried my hand at writing those sappy greeting cards for a small company (I don't recommend. The pay is crap).
Attempt 4: By my late twenties, I couldn't shake this dream of one day spending my days simply writing stories. So I went back to school. I took fiction writing classes (painful, yet imperative to my craft), and decided to drown myself in words from every angle. I started a blog called Mom of Steel, where I wrote about the comedy that is motherhood. Sort of an Erma Bombeck, Lucille Ball sort of humor. Not satisfied with just blog writing, I began writing a middle grade chapter book. Even though I was raising two young boys at the time, I was determined to make my dream a reality. Oh, and this was at the height of Harry Potter fame, so naturally, I was going to be the next J.K. Rowling.
Attempt 5: Then, in 2008, my life came crashing down. My husband was involved in a near fatal car accident that left him with a life altering Traumatic Brain Injury. With two young sons and a husband to care for, I went into survival mode, trying to pick up the pieces of our lives. But even in the midst of tragedy, I continued to write. In fact, it was during this time, when I needed to escape the war zone of recovery, that I came up with my first real novel. It would be nine years before I would finish and publish it, but it was in those first years that I can truly say "that novel saved my life." After watching my sons struggle to accept their "new" dad, I also wrote a children's book about TBI in a parent. I started a blog titled Daddy's Different to connect with other spouses co-parenting with an injured partner.
Attempt 6: After years of watching my husband recover, I realized I could no longer wait for life to come to me. For our future, and income, I needed to make something happen. I enrolled in school again with a new determination to finally graduate with a degree. I completed my Associates then transferred to a University as an English major. This is where I felt my writing begin to grow. I published a short story and a poem into a literary journal and began a critique group. In an effort to gain even more experience, I began submitting articles to online publications.
Attempt 7: In the beginning of 2017, with my BA in hand and my novel nearly complete, I began to seriously contemplate publishing. I researched agents, how to write a query letter, and watched tutorials on how to build an online readership. Then the fear set in. An introvert to my core, the prospect of others actually reading my manuscript was too much to bear. So I stalled. I tried to think of a way to be a novelist without anyone knowing. Thus, my pen name was born. I could write under an alias, live out my author fantasies, and no one would ever be the wiser. Like my inner superhero being set loose on the world. So I took a page from Indiana Jones and used my dog's name and my grandfather's name and merged them together to form River James, my official alter ego. I queried agents with this new found bravery. I set up a website and social media channels and felt the excitement of finally doing it. But after months of rejection letters and dwindling courage, I started to doubt my original plan. Yet, I refused to give up. I owed it to my novel to keep going. So I turned to self-publishing. I published my precious novel under the name River James and waited for mysterious readers to read it. And a few actually did! Alas, I discovered another author using the same pen name River Jaymes to write Gay Romance. I took that as a sign and abandoned my alter ego, publishing Star Walker under my actual name.
Attempt 8: So there I was. Announcing to the world that I, Ginille Forest, am a writer. I wrote a novel and even though the introvert inside me was cringing at the attention, I wanted everyone to read it. But I still had no clue what I was doing. And while self-publishing may have once been a viable alternative to hopeful newbies, it has since become a saturated market impossible to find the diamond among the turds.
Attempt 9: With an unwavering determination to succeed, this underdog is trying a new tactic. I'm just gonna write a damn good book. And when it's done, I'm quietly sending it to agents. No social media followers, no gimmicks, no watching tutorials on how to beat the algorithms of self-publishing. If the book is good enough, it will find it's place in this world.
I'm going to document my journey on this blog. The journey of struggle, the journey of self-doubt. The journey of wanting to give up but finding the grit to go on anyway. The journey of an underdog.