5/19/2021 2 Comments
At the In-Gate: A Novel Debut
What’s it feel like to have a book coming out?
I’ve been writing since I was eight years-old. My first professional credits came from a galaxy far, far away when I was twenty-three. But I’ve been working my whole life towards one specific moment: a novel. My debut, an urban fantasy titled Forging a Nightmare, is a story about an unruly infernal warhorse and the Rider who loves her.
If you happen to be horsey, like me, you see things in terms of how they relate to the horse world. So the answer to this question - how does it feel to have a book coming out - is simple, practical, and horsey. It feels like a horse show!
While standing at the in-gate on your horse, there’s a moment of exhilaration and terror when the announcer calls your number and name. Your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure rises, and you ride into the ring. That threshold is a crossroads—where hours of training, practice, and more than a few tears all come together.
As November 23, 2021 approaches, I am thrilled by the same exhilaration I get while standing at the in-gate before a class. “All things are one,” the old man tells Santiago, the protagonist in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Training a show horse and writing are similar in process and consequence, product and result. “You only get one debut,” my friend and author R.W.W. Greene once told me. The same can be said in the show ring.
I have spent countless hours working with my manuscript. I have sent it to contests to see how well it stood against the competition. It placed well, but the big win was the representation of an agent, Sara Megibow of KT Literary, a legend. However, there was much more work to do. Beta readers and industry professionals had to put it through its paces, sending it back to the ring over and over again to polish the rough edges.
Am I nervous? Hell yeah! Am I worried? Hell no! (Okay, maybe a little!) There’s really no time to think about what could go wrong. Fear of failure is a paralysis - a living death. Channeling Aramas, Alexandre Dumas writes in The Three Musketeers, “…the merit in all things consists in the difficulty.”
It is a sentiment understood by all those standing at the in-gate, waiting for our turn to show what we have accomplished. So, live for what you believe, friends, and believe in what you love. I hope you will join me on November 23, 2021 for a ride on the Vestibule Road in Hell. Bring a flask and a sandwich case, and I’ll bring you a trusty Nightmare.
Patricia A. Jackson is a writer, rider, educator, mentor, and hopeless romantic, who lives by the motto: "Live for what you believe; believe in what you love."