January presents the opportunity to renew the old or experience new beginnings. For me, 2019 provides both. Thirteen months ago, I signed a contract with Guiding Light, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint for my debut novel. During the year-long journey to publication, with thirty-two deadlines,I stretched and matured as an author. Today, The Secret of Willow Inn releases. The second book in the Willow Falls series releases in January 2020. Thus, I am celebrating an exciting new experience, while jumping back on the publication path, and writing book three.
My writing career began in 2014, nine years after I retired from a twenty-seven-year corporate career.The loss of our God daughter, who had drifted in and out of our lives for thirty years, compelled me to write a novel based on her life, but with a happy ending. Although I made a ton of novice mistakes, the experience ignited a passion I couldn’t ignore. So, I buckled down, studied the craft, attended conferences, and connected with other writers. I wrote book two, pitched both to seven publishers and agents, and received seven rejections. One benefit that comes with age is the ability to view disappointment as opportunity.
I took all the feedback I’d received to heart and fleshed out a new idea. A series about two women, strangers from different backgrounds, and a convicted felon returning to the scene of her crime. I visualized the characters, the way they looked, their personalities and their history. Next came a decision about the settings. A small town struggling to survive and a big, bustling metropolis. Because I live thirty miles from downtown Atlanta, I chose it as the city.
When it came to the second setting, I wanted to create a community I could conform to the story. I drew an aerial view of atown, beginning with century-old storefronts facing a lakeside park and a block-long section graced with seven southern-style, antebellum homes. An abandoned hotel and historical general store completed the scene. It was time give life to Emily, Rachel, and Sadie.
As I reflect on the past five years, I am grateful for the discipline, goal setting, and multi-tasking skills I learned during my corporate life. Now my goal is to write 1,000 words a day and devote forty-five minutes to marketing, while meeting my publisher’s deadlines and continuing to study the craft.
Some might question why I chose a demanding writing career after I was eligible for social security. The answer, I believe God planted a desire to write years ago, but life took me down a different path. Now I want to inspire others to view their senior years as opportunities to pursue exciting new beginnings and realize it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
Author Public Biography
Pat Nichols launched career number two as a novelist, proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Drawing on years of corporate experience working with hundreds of amazing women from all walks of life, she creates stories about women who face challenges in the pursuit of their dreams. She lives in an Atlanta suburb with her husband of fifty plus years, is the mother of two, and grandmother of three. She is grateful for God’s blessings and unfailing love through all of life’s peaks and valleys.