Happy September 1! Today is the day Line of Scrimmage officially launches. I'm pleased to invite you to attend the launch party here and simultaneously on my blog. All this week, everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing. I'll be giving away two copies of Line of Scrimmage as well as two Barnes & Noble gift cards! One week, four winners! Enter again over on my blog for four more chances to win! Both contests end at midnight Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, September 5.
I want to thank my family and friends for sharing in the excitement of these last few weeks with me. So many people helped to get me here, and I thank you all for your endless support and enthusiasm for my books. Line of Scrimmage is dedicated to my parents, George and Barbara Sullivan, who always said I could, and to my husband Dan and our kids, Emily and Jake, who stood by me while I did. I wrote the following paragraphs for my website, but I thought today would be a good day to retell my story.
When we lived in Jacksonville, FL, from 1998-2002, my husband deployed on the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy for months at a time. The kids and I used to drive down to Ft. Lauderdale to visit my parents who spent winters there. My dad and I would take long walks through the marinas where he would show me the boats we were going to buy someday. “You need to get busy writing that book,” he would say. My reply was always the same: “When exactly do you think I could fit that in? Between changing diapers and working full time?” With a big grin, he would say, “Three to six a.m. is available.” A pipe dream. That’s all it was. But there was this character running around in my head. A man with thick dark hair, gray-blue eyes, an engaging grin, a quick wit . . . His name was Jack, and he was an architect. I’d find myself talking to him in the car, when I was doing dishes or bathing babies. He’d crop up on days at the beach and on walks through the neighborhood. Someday, I said. Someday, I’ll write Jack’s story.
In 2002, I began to make some notes. I stumbled upon those notes recently and laughed so hard I cried. It was God-awful! Clearly, I wasn’t ready. Once in a while, though, I’d reopen that file, take another look, and make some more notes. I vividly remember outlining the story I had in mind to Dan when we were out to dinner one night. He loved it and encouraged me to pursue it. I knew I wanted something to happen to Jack’s wife, Clare, something that would incapacitate her but not kill her. I had great plans to put Jack through the wringer, but inevitably, life would interfere, and he’d get relegated to the back burner.
After we moved to Rhode Island in August 2002, I started to get more serious about the book but still wasn’t able to get very far. A year later, in November 2003, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The next nine months were a roller coaster ride, during which I turned to the book more and more often, seeking an escape from reality. By early August 2004, I had four solid chapters that my mother was the first to read. I made her cry, she said. She died shortly after.
Something that had lain dormant for years kicked into gear in the aftermath of my mother’s death. I asked myself—what are you waiting for? What meaning will it have to finally write that book if you wait until neither of your parents—the two people who always said you had it in you—aren’t around to read it? I firmly believe my mother is sending me these amazing characters who continue to pop up out of nowhere and lead me on one great adventure after another. How else can I possibly explain the incredible things that have happened in the four years since she died?
I finished Jack’s book, Treading Water, on May 18, 2005, and it’s my fondest hope to one day see it published. I’ve finished a few since then, including Line of Scrimmage, but no accomplishment will ever mean more to me than writing “The End” on that first one. You sort of expect the world to at least have the decency to tip on its axis in tribute to your enormous accomplishment. But alas, kids still have homework, there’s work and laundry and bills and dinner to make. Life goes on, but nothing is ever the same again.
My dad has read all of my books. Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my mother's death. Today Line of Scrimmage officially launches. I like to picture her holding her own launch party in heaven. "WHOO HOO!" she would say. "WE DID IT!"
Has there been an event in your life that spurred you to action? That got you to do something you always said you were going to do?