Dear SheWriters, Today marks my final Countdown post here on SheWrites. After several weeks of blogging about the pre-publishing experience I am thrilled and relieved that my second novel, The Salt God's Daughter, officially hit the shelves yesterday, September 4th. While this book is in many ways an American coming-of-age story, it is at first glance a complicated pitch (I knew that going in)—it is feminist, it is mythic and all too real.
Like many of you, I've been a writer my whole life. My journey has taken me from the Guatemalan jungles with PBS to the elementary school classrooms of Long Beach, CA, to the publishing offices at Houghton Mifflin. But I was wholly unconnected when I wrote my first book, The Language of Trees, and when I signed with my agent. I was not part of a FB group, nor was I teaching at a university. I did not know any established writers. I was an Outsider with a capital "O." While much of that has changed, I keep the knowledge of that fiery white existence close to my heart. We are all, amidst the chatter, alone with our words on the page at one point or another. It is necessary and nothing to be afraid of.
Today I can (and do) turn to an amazing group of supportive writers and readers, but on some level each new book marks a beginning. What has not changed is my commitment to this beautiful and soul-wrestling work.
This is not a foot race—no, you don't win by reaching the finish line. But to not acknowledge the competitiveness of the literary marketplace would be almost profane. This is a crowded city. You absolutely must stay true to the craft and the art. You must not give up. Passion, in its purest form, is what fuels the resolve to keep on.
I have tried to cover in these weekly posts not only the blissful moments—but also the challenging times as well. She Writes is a grand community, one we're lucky to have thanks to Kamy and others. In the best cases, SheWriters find themselves among kindred spirits. I did, in this piece on Feminism and Mysticism in which Leora Tanenbaum shares her incomparable insights.
Thank you so very much to everyone who has read, commented and sent heartwarming hello's via email. Notes and kind words really do matter. Please say hello here or on Facebook. Even though I'm not an ENTJ I'll be checking in through my book tour, which starts this weekend. I've enjoyed getting to know you. Mostly, I hope this has all in some way helped.
Wishing you inspiration.
Ilie Ruby is the author of The Salt God's Daughter (forthcoming from Counterpoint/Soft Skull 8-21-12) and The Language of Trees (HarperCollins 2010). Ilie's first novel was a Target Emerging Author's pick and First Magazine for Women Editor's Choice. She won the Edwin L. Moses Award chosen by T.C. Boyle and the Phi Kappa Phi Award for Fiction, and a Davidoff Scholarship, among others. She has written for the New York Times and CNN and teaches writing in Boston. You can connect with Ilie on Facebook and Twitter, or on her website: www.ilieruby.com.