Reflecting back on the past year...
I'll admit, unlike a lot of you, writing has never been my passion. Oh, I wrote poetry as a kid, and I'd often toyed over the years with the idea of writing a book, but it wasn't anything that I was ever serious about. Until a year ago.
You see, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had a job that I liked, but it wasn't a career. In fact, I've had several jobs over the years, but none of them called to me past the weekly paycheck. I do, however, love to read. I always have. Most of my earliest memories involve books - my mom reading to me before bedtime; my sister reading the 'Little House' books to me on our front porch; my first airplane ride reading a My Little Golden book (yes, I remember which one). I still own some of my favorite books from my childhood, and when I'm feeling nostalgic, I'll choose one off of the shelf and re-visit Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls, or The Pokey Little Puppy.
So when a friend of mine published her first book, my interest was piqued. When she was getting ready to publish her second one, I decided to try it. Write a story and publish it. I was scared, I had no earthly idea what I was doing, I wasn't even sure how to start. And for those of you who think that it's easy to put words down on paper, let me tell you, it's not. Facing that blank white screen was terrifying. Not to mention, I knew nothing at all about the actual publishing side of things...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I love old westerns. I always have. I grew up watching re-runs of The Big Valley and High Chaparral on Saturday afternoons. When I became an adult, I moved to Flagstaff, AZ, and finally got to see 'The West'. It was as incredible as I'd always dreamed it would be. I visited Indian ruins and old 'ghost' towns, saw wild burros and arroyos. I especially love the Sedona/Verde Valley area. That's where the setting for Here to Stay, and the subsequent Hidden Springs books, comes from. It felt natural for me to write about the time period that I love so much. It's lots of fun (and a lot of hard work) researching when different things were invented, when towns became incorporated, the year territories became states, etc. Although I have made a slip-up (I'm not telling what it is) I try to be as exact as I can be in my descriptions. And while I want to be historically accurate of the Old West, I also attempt to give the stories a contemporary feel when it comes to the interactions between people. Because I think that no matter when love takes place, people act and react the same way.
Back to my original subject...becoming an author. I had no clue what I was doing, but I jumped in and wrote a great story. And while I was writing, I formed the ideas for seven more great stories. And before I knew it, I was planning ideas for even more stories that had nothing to do with Hidden Springs. And that's when I realized...I finally knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. An author!! I have never worked at anything in my life as hard as I do at this. I breathe, eat, sleep, and live all things Kristine Raymond. I still have A LOT to learn, no doubts there! But I look forward to the challenges.
In some ways, when I look back over the past twelve months, not much has changed in my life. And in other ways, everything has changed. I've become a more confident person, which shows not only when I am with fellow authors but in my everyday life as well. I take chances that I never would have imagined taking. I walk up to strangers and ask them to model on my book covers. I travel to cities that I never had any interest in visiting and I have a blast! And I keep looking for to the next project, even when I am having doubts about the current one.
There's no predicting the future, so I have no idea of where I'll be a year from now, but I can tell you this. I'm looking forward to the trip!!