20 March 2012

Guest Post: I Was Supposed To Be A Scientist!

Today I'd like to welcome Liana Brooks to the blog. As those of you who hang out on twitter probably know, Liana is my twin (separated by an ocean and a couple of years O;)) - so I'm extremely excited to be able to announce that her debut novella, Even Villains Fall In Love, is about to be released! (April 4, Breathless Press). A round of applause, if you please!

And yes, I'm the one that knows how to use a comma ;)

I never meant to be a writer. Truth be told, I failed a writing class in my first year of high school. I spent a year in remedial English being politely beaten over the head with the definition of a noun.

Yet, somehow, I found myself writing in my spare time. Scribbling out scenes for fun and amusement. I shared my work with friends in high school, talked about the books I would write if I had time in college, and forced myself to try and edit a novel after I graduated. Because I was amazing. No one had books like me!

I wasn't a writer, of course, I was just a magical being with plot prowess instead of fairy dust. I knew that if I wanted to be an author (which of course I didn't - I was going to be a scientist because I'm serious and studious like that) people would trip over themselves to read my work. Really, that half-finished hand-written novel in my desk was my nest egg. All I needed to do was open a window and whisper that I, Liana Brooks, had written a novel and money was going to fall from the clouds like rain.

Please don't die laughing...

Everything was sunshine and roses until I received my first critique from my online critique group. Unsure of which novel was best I'd posted my favorite scene, from the middle of a book. I did edit first! If you call hitting spell check editing...

They didn't get my genius!

I was flabbergasted. Then suspicious. Then a little ashamed. Then properly mortified. I couldn't even use a comma correctly. I couldn't use adverbs correctly! I didn't have a clue how to communicate in my native language! (Although, I'd like to point out, I had the grammar and spelling correct for the Latin portions of the text. I can communicate in some languages. Just not living ones.)

Maybe I should have quit there. I could have found a better hobby - you know, one I was good at. I could have gotten a real job, one with a paycheck every two weeks. But instead I found myself huddled in the Slacker's Corner, a tiny place of the internet where a few lost souls curled up under cyber-blankets to talk about bad days, chocolate, families, and books.

For a group called Slackers we really weren't - everyone was busy with something, and we all were writing something. Scribbling. Imagining. Dreaming. Learning.

What a beautiful word! Learning... some of us were gifted at plotting, some of us actually knew how to use that frakkin comma. And what we knew, we shared. We encouraged each other.

After several years of writing and abandoning projects I wrote one just for fun, just to make the Slackers laugh. With a little encouragement (and a lot of editing because the comma is still a mystery to me) I sent my story off to a publisher. Rejections came, and bounced off my iron-plated ego. Then came acceptance.

I had a panic attack and ran straight to the Slackers.

Through all the ups and downs, they were there. Perfect friends, always encouraging, always helpful, always willing to look past my flaws.

My first novella is EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE, and the only reason you will get to read it is because the Slackers encouraged me. I'm happy to say I gave something back, and I'm not the only Slacker with a book or play out this year.

I guess it goes to show, a label is only a word. Call them Slackers, call them Villains, call them what you will, at the end of the day they are still a person and capable of doing anything. Even falling in love.

Even Villains Fall In Love Banner
Liana Brooks was born in San Diego, California. Years later she was disappointed to learn that The Shire was not some place she could move to, nor was Rider of Rohan an acceptable career choice. Studying marine biology so she could play with sharks seemed to be the only alternative. After college Liana settled down to work as a full-time author and mother because logical career progression is something that happens to other people. When she grows up, Liana wants to be an Evil Overlord and take over the world.

In the meantime, she writes sci-fi and SFR in between trips to the beach. She can be found wearing colorful socks on the Emerald Coast, or online at www.lianabrooks.com.


Louisa Bacio said...

Yeah! Congratulations, you "slacker." (Or not.) Sounds like you've worked very hard to make this achievement happen.

Support of others is vital. My 9-year-old recently told me that she wants to study ceramics in college. I cringed. Can't she do something that will make money?

But what would have happened in my parents told me that writing wasn't a viable career?

Liana Brooks said...

Louisa - They use ceramics to line the space shuttles. It can be a lucrative career if you do it right.

Amy - Thank you for having me!

Amy said...

Liana - never a problem :)

Louisa - My parents compromised, suggesting that I look for a primary career that would support/complement a writing career while I got it established - hence, teaching :)

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