Have you visited the Tall Poppy Blog? Author Amy Sue Nathan and I have teamed up to write a column together called Tell Me a Story. Read about how Amy and I ended up being friends both on and off the page: Women Sharing Stories
I am a mom and a stepmom, but my three kids are all out of the house now, either working or in college. Of course, two of them are back for the summer, so my empty nest schedule is about to change for a few months, but it’s okay. It is a welcome change and I’m happy to have them around. I wrote an essay about them at PopSugar Moms.
I hope you’ll click over and read it. It might give you a different view of stepmoms than you thought, or maybe you already knew. After all, moms are moms. We are different, but on a basic level, I believe we have the same hopes and dreams as all other moms.
My daughter has always been the biggest muse for my stories, so I wrote this one about her over at the Tall Poppy Blog.
Click here to read about how we started out together: WE STARTED WITH A STORY
“…on days when I look at my publishing career and acknowledge that I am still not a NYT Bestseller and that I’m still trying to make it as an author, there are many things that have come from being a published author that are worth more than money and fame.”
Look What I Found When Looking Through Old Picture Files:
That time when my parents and I had dinner with the publicists (Wynn-Wynn Media) who worked on my very first novel, Ruby Among Us.
From the pictures I found, it might look like our families became friends after I was published, born out of a friendship between an author and a publicist, but the truth is, we connected because of an existing friendship between our dads that my publisher didn’t even know about when they connected us together. In fact, my publicist Jeane and I didn’t know about it either.
Real quick, let me explain something to you about the industry. Most readers don’t know how traditional publishers and outside publicists work together, but it is important to note for this story that publicists and authors don’t get to pick each other. At least not when the publisher is the one hiring the publicist, which was the case with my first novel. What happens is that the publisher assigns who they want and while it is not unheard of for an author to have heard of a publicist on a professional level, this was my first novel, so I barely knew what publicists did, let alone who any of them were.
It turns out that my publicist, Jeane Wynn, and I were always meant to be friends. We just hadn’t had a chance to meet each other before. Little did I know when I nervously waited for my first phone call from Jeane, I would immediately feel like we’d met before. She just reminded me so much of people from back home, which was the last thing I expected from a phone call with a publicist.
Long story short, I liked Jeane from day one, which came as a surprise to no one who knew her. Who could not love Jeane? She’s just that kind of person. What did come as a surprise is learning that our families already had a history together, and that it started before I was even born, decades earlier in a tiny little Oklahoma town.
At first, when Jeane mentioned that she lived in Oklahoma, it made perfect sense. I remember thinking, no wonder we seem to have a lot in common. She has that friendly way about her that people have in my hometown. It made sense that she might seem familiar to me. However, when Jeane mentioned that her family had actually once lived in Colcord, Oklahoma, the small town I grew up in, I was shocked. How in the world could my publicist have even heard of my town, let alone lived there?
Well, there is no way someone could have ever lived in Colcord and gone unnoticed. Everyone knew everyone else, so the first thing I did was call my parents. Our families had to have known each other, and it turns out that they did. In fact, not only did they know each other, but our dads knew each other quite well since before we were either one born.
That’s when my dad told me that Jeane’s dad had been his best friend.
When I told Jeane, we started comparing stories. We figured out that a long time before Jeane was assigned by my publisher to work on my book’s campaign, her dad was my dad’s beloved Boy Scout leader, as well as his teacher. That’s how my dad, as a young boy, started looking up to Jeane’s dad and considered him his best friend. Isn’t that cute? Further, we learned that our dads have been fishing buddies ever since.
It turns out that even after my dad was grown and Jeane’s dad had already moved away to another small Oklahoma town, they would still run into each other at favorite fishing holes. As my dad shared his stories of Jeane’s dad, it didn’t take me long to realize that I’d been hearing about Jeane’s dad for years. Her dad was THAT guy, my dad’s favorite fishing buddy, and his kindness, faith, and wisdom had an impact on my dad’s life a long time before Jeane and I came along.
Jeane and I are pretty sure we never met before our publisher and publicist put us together, at least that we know of. Since our dads mostly kept in touch over the years through fishing, our families didn’t have joint dinners or hang out together, but now that Jeane and I have met, we share a common bond.
I guess that to some people, this might not seem like such a big deal, even though I think the chances of an author and publicist being put together and learning, unbeknownst to them, that their dads were already the best of friends, is pretty serendipitous. To me, to Jeane, and certainly to our dads, it is special, kind of like a great big hug from God.
I am grateful for the friendship of our dads and our families, and I am so grateful for my friendship with Jeane. I love that God brought us together in such a special way, and on days when I look at my publishing career and acknowledge that I am still not a NYT Bestseller and that I’m still trying to make it as an author, there are many things that have come from being a published author that are worth more than money and fame. Friendship is one of them.
I’m so grateful for this book review from BookTrib by Katie Rose!
“Set against an authentic Western backdrop (the author lives in Wyoming), Tina Ann Forkner gives us loving families with troubled histories and an imperfect, adorable heroine who can handle it all. The Real Thing teaches profound truths: that love, parenthood, and marriage aren’t supposed to be perfect, and it’s the imperfections in life that can bring us the most joy. This is an enchanting, heartfelt book that you will remember long after you finish reading.” – Katie Pryal for BookTrib (Read the Complete Review at BookTrib…)