July 29, 2014

Made It Moment: Wendy Tyson

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:53 am

Deadly Assets

I can’t imagine a writer out there who won’t relate to Wendy Tyson’s Made It Moment. Readers, too. For that matter…humans.

Who doesn’t understand what a hair-raising drive, family antsy, through the snow is like when you’re late? The work/life tightrope, our best attempts not seeming good enough, then finally realizing the reason we’re doing all of this…In other words, life. Wendy’s Moment is a mini novel, with a triumphant arc, on its own. And her debut novel, named one of 10 Best Mysteries of 2014 for Book Clubs, is well worth checking out as well.

Wendy Tyson

My “Made It Moment” happened on a dreary February night in New Jersey.  It was a Friday, and I had a panel signing scheduled at a North Jersey bookstore that evening.  I’d rushed home from the day job, grabbed two of my boys (ten-years-old twins) and my husband, and we all set off for Sparta.  I thought I’d left enough travel time.  I was wrong.  The sky was overcast, and while it wasn’t snowing (like almost every other night last winter), Mother Nature provided a steady, icy drizzle—just enough rain to make driving in the congested northeast a treat.  What should have been a two-hour trip took nearly four hours.

Somewhere along I-15, with traffic at a standstill and police and ambulance lights flashing in the distance, I called the bookstore in a panic.  “I’m still coming,” I said, and apologized profusely.  They were gracious.  I know things happen, but I was a fledgling author and the last thing I wanted to do was make a bad first impression on a bookstore owner.  Nevertheless, we could only be Zen about the situation.  So with two antsy boys in the back and an annoyed husband next to me, I waited.

We finally arrived at the bookstore about forty minutes after the panel had started signing.  The events coordinator showed me to my spot between two other (much more local) authors.  I noticed a lone woman standing in front of the table, a copy of KILLER IMAGE in her hand.  “She waited for you,” the coordinator whispered.  “She’s been here the whole time.”  Indeed, as soon as I sat, the woman put the book in front of me.  I signed it and a few minutes later, she left.

Every day since getting the news that Henery Press wanted to buy the Campbell series has been a Made It Moment of sorts.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak at conferences and festivals, do a theater talkback alongside a famous cast for the play DEATHTRAP, and meet established authors.  I feel very blessed.  But that moment in Sparta, New Jersey, when one reader waited for me was the most memorable.  Like many authors, perhaps, I write in part to connect with people.  It’s a way to share this human condition.  I’m grateful to that woman—to all my readers—for providing the chance to connect and for the reminder that writing is about so much more than sales figures.

Wendy Tyson is a corporate lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. She’s the author of three crime novels. Her latest, DEADLY ASSETS, the second Allison Campbell mystery, was released on July 22. The first Campbell novel, KILLER IMAGE, was named by Examiner.com as one of the ten best mysteries for book clubs in 2014. Wendy lives near Philadelphia with her husband, three sons and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs.

July 16, 2014

Made It Moment: Andra Watkins

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 6:11 pm

To Live Forever

I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that Andra Watkins had her Moment in a place no one else ever has. She also gets the crown for strangest-place-to-hold-a-signing. Through it all, Andra’s prose tells us something about how a story can reach readers, one at a time. And maybe even something about why we write at all.

Andra Watkins

The Natchez Trace. Northwestern Alabama. I forced my bloody feet to carry me through Tasmanian-devil-like dustbowls. When I licked my lips, I tasted grit from the dawn of the universe. For the twentieth time, I dragged my body from whence the wind battered it, back to the grassy shoulder.

And I kept walking. I still had five miles to cover in my 26th consecutive fifteen-mile day.

A minivan swerved toward me. A victim of the whimsy of the wind. Like me.

Or so I thought.

Until it stopped, plowed through the shoulder and skidded to a halt two feet from me.

The window scrolled from tinted to open in slow motion, while I leaned into the gale and waited to see whether the inhabitants of the minivan were friend or foe.

I waited to stare down the muzzle of a gun. Instead, I greeted a different weapon. A green book. White letters. My name.

Will you sign our copy of your book? We’re descendants of William Clark, and we believe Meriwether Lewis was murdered, and we came all the way out here in this windstorm to get your autograph, because we heard you were out here walking the Trace.

My Made It Moment blew in on the coattails of a windstorm, the instant after I wondered whether I could go on. Because sometimes, Life has a perverse sense of humor. It goes out of its way to buffet and batter our dreams, only to show us why they matter.

Andra Watkins is the first living person to walk the 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did prior to the rise of steam power in the 1820’s. From March 1, 2014 to April 3, 2014, she walked fifteen miles a day. Six days a week. One rest day per week. She spent each night in the modern-day equivalent of stands, places much like Grinder’s Stand, where Meriwether Lewis died from two gunshot wounds on October 11, 1809. In addition to celebrating the release of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis, the walk inspired her upcoming memoir of the adventure, Not Without My Father, coming in Fall 2014. Andra lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband.

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