O

ne of my vivid childhood memories includes chicken-scratching thoughts and ideas in notebooks. I remember reciting passages to my parents. One time, I swear, I saw my father wipe a tear from his eye. I was craving acceptance, and I was determined to be a writer; even at a young age. However, the rules of English and spelling were a challenge for me at the time. Maybe that’s why Dad was crying! 

My strong determination to succeed and my passion for language led me to major in English in college. What! I set myself up for scrutiny and even had one teacher tell me to withdraw from her course. I never gave up on myself, and I learned how to adapt. 

After graduating from the University of Massachusetts with an undergraduate degree in Creating Writing, I still didn’t have the confidence nor the savvy to follow my dream to be an author. My career and high level of determination led me to work in public relations and marketing, where I continued to craft my skills. Writing for different audiences, I was good at selling messages about the companies and universities where I worked, but what about my desire to write stories? My husband Marcus, a techy, talked me into blogging one day. It was the scariest day of my life! I realized I’d be committed to sharing my thoughts and ideas with a worldwide audience, which I did, but my style was more journalistic.

After overcoming a life-threatening illness several years ago, my determination to follow my dream led me to question why I was not being true to myself. I had recently graduated with a Master’s in Entrepreneurship, and as an entrepreneur, you commit to bringing that idea you write on a napkin to life. Mine was my book!

I convinced my husband and son to travel westward and consequently left my full-time job. We sold our house, bought a camper, and got rid of most of our belongings. While absorbing the places and characters we discovered along the way with an experiential enthusiasm, I confess there was one small ghost town in New Mexico, ironically called Shakespeare, that triggered the idea for my first novel. Rather than a napkin, I took my journal in the bathroom at 3 am, and I gave birth to my characters and story. 

Grateful to have the support of my family, and to have embraced the circumstances that led me to take a leap of faith, I am excited and fulfilled to follow my lifelong passion to finally become a published author.

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Damon Vaughn is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist and the author of the multi-million copy bestseller “The story of my life.”

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