Last night I had an epiphany: I have always been a writer. While other children might have dreams to be actors, singers, doctors, firemen…I always wanted to be a writer.
The storyteller in me first showed itself during play. Perhaps that is one reason I loved my Barbie dolls—the dolls were my story’s characters and I could write their script. Even when playing outside, and climbing the oak trees in our rural neighborhood, I orchestrated elaborate story backdrops for our play—we were pioneers or cowboys, or whatever I might imagine.
At age eleven I wrote our class play. Age fourteen I wrote my first book. During my senior year of high school I was the co-editor of our school newspaper. At twenty I wrote a screen play in college. The next year I wrote and produced a documentary that aired on a school district channel in Southern California.
After college I married and a few years later started my family. I didn’t stop writing. I spent my twenties writing a cookbook, my first romance novel, and a television script for a children’s program, along with poetry and short stories. None of those were ever published, aside from the cookbook, which I self-published for family.
At thirty-one I started a community newspaper, which I published once a month. For it I wrote and research countless non-fiction articles, many historical in nature. I also published an annual full-color magazine, twice. Income came from advertising revenue.
By my late thirties we moved to Lake Havasu to help my parents run the family business, Havasu Palms, when my father became ill. I had sold my paper, and while my new job didn’t include writing, I continued to write.
At age 41 I wrote and self-published Where the Road Ends, Havasu Palms Recipes and Remembrances. Today it is sold at our local museum and at Amazon.
The next year I wrote Lessons, which would become the first book of fiction I would publish on Amazon, some fifteen years later. (Today it is Coulson’s Lessons, book three in the Coulson Family Saga, under my pen name Anna J. McIntyre.)
By my 45th birthday we were no longer at Havasu Palms and had foolishly started a restaurant. During this time I also started a website—which in many ways was like the community newspaper I had once owned, yet this one was online. Initially I used it to help promote our restaurant. But this was 1999 and business websites were still a novelty.
After we lost our restaurant, my husband and I went into real estate. I was now in my late forties, starting a new career. I was active in real estate for seven years or so, yet writing was still part of my life.
That online magazine I had set up when we had the restaurant, was now promoting our real estate business. In those days, when one searched online for Havasu Real Estate, my website came up first. In fact, if you searched just about anything Havasu, my website was on the top of the list.
When I reached my mid-fifties the big real estate crash happened. While my husband and I had been doing a good job of rebuilding our lives after losing our restaurant (and all of our money) we realized it would no longer be feasible for us both to continue working on commission, now that commissions were so scarce.
The job market was not terrific in Havasu, so I looked to the internet for generating income. I landed a gig with the online content provider, Demand Studios, and worked for them for about three years. The money was not terrific, but it was steady, and I was doing something I loved—from home.
As I approached my 57th birthday, writing opportunities with Demand Studios was dwindling, plus I was burning out. This was in 2011. Several years earlier I had dabbled with Amazon’s eBook publishing platform (KDP) when I had uploaded the file to the second family recipe book I had written. I had uploaded and forgotten about it. (I think I made about $13 on the eBook while I had it live on Amazon.)
I decided to publish Lessons on Amazon, but first, I had my daughter, who had graduated from the Art Institute in graphic design, design a book cover, and I had an editor I had met at Demand Studios, edit the book.
That was nine years ago. Today I have some thirty-five books published on Amazon, and other venues, like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Google, and iTunes. Twenty-two books in my Haunting Danielle series are on audiobook, and the Coulson Family Saga will be on audiobook by the end of the year. Unlike my eBooks and paperbacks, my audiobooks are trade published.
I’m blessed. I am making a good living doing what I love—what I have always loved. And the icing on the cake? Email I receive from readers who tell me they love my stories.