If everything could ever feel this real forever,
If anything could ever be this good again,
The only thing I’ll ever ask of you,
You gotta promise not to stop when I say…Foo Fighters, “Everlong”
Two years ago today, I published my first book.
You know what? Let me rewind a little bit.
I remember the first time I got an email from Amazon that they were allowing people to publish their own books onto the Kindle. Kindle Publishing… Man, I’ve been signed up for those emails since they were available. But there was always that voice in my head telling me I wasn’t ready, wasn’t good enough, wasn’t confident enough. I was never enough.
And just so you know, there was nobody telling me this. Nobody but me. I was holding me back.
Until Diana Gabaldon (yes, that Diana Gabaldon) told me to “just finish the book” I’d been working on for years, and with those words, it was like someone turned on a light somewhere. I finished the book. Then, I made the choice to self-publish and put to use all those emails I’d been getting in my inbox for years. Danny designed the cover. My friend Jess edited. Jessica Park spent hours of her time helping me along in ways I’m still not sure I deserved. I was so lucky to have this incredible group of people backing me up, and in the middle of it all, I decided to release my first book on Adam Duritz’s birthday (Counting Crows, anyone?).
And so, on August 1st, 2017, I released Holly Freakin’ Hughes.
How the hell is it possible that two years has passed since that day? I remember being terrified that nobody would ever read about a sarcastic bastard or a down-on-her-luck babysitter. I remember the nerves and the pep talks I’d receive from Jessica and Jewel E. Ann. I remember the excitement of my first book sales, of realizing that my book was sitting on someone’s Kindle.
A lot has changed since August 1st, 2017. I’m sitting on a published pile of eight, almost nine, books. Thousands and thousands of my stories are sitting on shelves and Kindles all over the fucking world. I’ve seen my books with bestseller flags. I’ve made so many friends. So, so many, I’m afraid to name anybody and leave someone out. But trust me when I say, I have such a beautiful network of people to learn from, to lean on, to find inspiration in.
I’ve been so lucky, but you know what? It hasn’t been all sunshine and unicorn farts. There’s been frustration. There’s been struggle. There’s been stress and sleepless nights. But I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything, because I love every single aspect of this life more than I can ever express into words. But I’m gonna try.
Every single one of my books has changed my life in some way. I love every one of my characters like they’re members of my own family. That being said, a little over a year ago, I saw the Foo Fighters in concert for the first time. I’ve never been more emotional at a concert before in my life, and “Everlong” was given new meaning. I was so inspired by that show, by that song, that I wrote a book inspired by it.
Six months ago today, I released The Life We Wanted. And God, I had no idea if anybody would want to read about an obnoxious, unfiltered drummer and how he fell in love with the aunt of his recently discovered son. I just knew I loved him, and I figured, if I love him, maybe someone else will, too. And as it turns out, that book, that story, that idiot Sebastian, changed everything about my life. And I never want it to stop, not even when I say, “When.”
I’ll never say, “When.”