Hot on the heels of that success, I began my second project, fictional this time. It told the story of Angela, a girl who wanted to become a gymnast but was held back by her poor family's finances. I can't recall the title but I do remember I drew a great illustration on the cover.
When I was eleven, I decided to get serious. Inspired by Gordon Korman, a Canadian teen who published best-sellers, I was determined to write a proper book this time. My subject: a handicapped girl who wanted to become a champion diver. She would defeat all the odds -- overcome her disability -- and win the gold. Typing away on the trusty Commodore 64 during the hot summer months, the novel began to take shape. My interest dwindled when school started, though, and the project languished until a year or so later when I got a second wind and decided to finally finish it. Sixty pages later, 'Glint off the Gold' was born.
I have to laugh reading it, but it's actually quite a morbid story. Anne, my main character (named after Anne of Green Gables), loses her best friend to a drunk driver and her Grandmother for reasons I can't quite recall. And Anne herself dies of cancer at the age of 40.
Full of enthusiasm to have finished my 'fictional only' story, I was sure it would get published. I looked in the front of some of the books on my shelf and decided to send it away to Tyndale House Publishers. Tyndale House is a Christian publisher and I thought they might be nicer. So I printed out the whole thing, shoved it in an envelope and sent it off.
Time (almost a year) passed and I'd pretty much forgotten about the whole thing until I got a letter in the post turning down my offering. Disappointed, I put the whole thing aside and straight out of my mind.
It's only now, twenty years later (yikes!), when I'm querying agents to try to get published that I truly appreciate the response from the Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief (or his assistant). I didn't include a self-addressed envelope, I had no cover letter, yet someone took pity on me and decided to respond anyway.
And thus, my journey towards getting published had begun.