Confessions of a Former Teenage Rebel Turned Writer

I was going to title this post: Why I Love Writing, but as I sat there and thought about what would go into the post, this title that I ended up using seemed more appropriate.

I was on Facebook today, chatting with a reader fan about deadlines and the importance of meeting them.  To me, a publishing deadline is a drop dead date.  There's no excuse for not meeting it, save a natural or family disaster.  But my reader told me I would be forgiven for missing one, even by a few weeks, because he was concerned I'd burn out with so much pressure.

That's when it hit me, how, yeah … there's a possibility a person could burn out, writing as much as I do.  But with me, it's not likely.  And here's why:  my readers.  Especially the ones who take time out of their busy days to talk to me, to share their feelings about my books, and who spread the word about them to family and friends.

And now here's the long explanation…

I did really well in school with little effort until the hormones starting raging through my body.  At 15 I hit my peak, and it was all downhill from there.  Each month I got more morose, annoyed with my parents, and completely disinterested in school.  By the time I was 16, I was sneaking out of the house, partying, and skipping school.  During my senior year of high school, my mom and I were butting heads so much, she gave me the ultimatum: “If you can't live by my rules, you can't live under my roof.”  I moved out and in with my best friend.  A month or so later, I was back home; but my attitude hadn't changed much, and I still hated school.

My parents were divorced when I was nine and my father married the woman he cheated on my mom with.  We didn't get along.  You can probably imagine why.  They never missed an opportunity over the years to tell me how every opinion I ever had wasn't wanted and how I was basically a loser.  I grew up thinking I'd never amount to much and that I was lazy.

Fast forward past a 4-year stint in the U.S. Air Force (honorable discharge), life as a stock broker, CEO, business owner, and lawyer, to about ten months ago.  I read an article about a girl named Amanda Hocking that changed my life.  I learned that the novel that had been in my head for over twenty years, Wrecked, could be self-published without the stigma formerly attached to “vanity” publishing.  I finished the book in record time and uploaded it to Amazon on January 1st, 2012.

Over a period of months, I've had many readers leave me reviews that sang my praises.  I've received personal emails from people young, old, and every age in between, telling me how they love the way my mind works and that I inspire them with my books and my personal story.  Today on Facebook my fans were telling me how much they love my characters, plots, and storylines and how they cannot wait for the next installment in a series to come out.  And then Gary Wilson, a fan who wears hockey jerseys, told me it would be okay if I missed a deadline, because my readers wouldn't want me to burn out.  They would forgive me, so long as I eventually followed through.

The emotions that have been rolling over me since reading those Facebook posts are difficult to express in writing.  But heck, I'm a writer, so I should try!  I think what it boils down to is this:  During my formative years, the message I was getting from all the adults in my life was that I was a lazy punk who was never going to amount to much because I lacked discipline, an inner compass, and the personality that would allow me to get along with others.  So now, to have readers telling me they like my brain and how it works, that they like characters who have a lot of me in them, that they will forgive me if I'm not perfect … well, let's just say it's like a magical healing salve being put on a set of pretty deep scars.

Before I end this sappy little post, I want to say one thing about my momma.  She's been my best friend and my rock for a long, long time.  I put her through hell during a very difficult period in her life, and we did the best we could then, both of us struggling to find ourselves.  But we came out on the other side with a much stronger relationship because of it, so I am thankful that we crossed that parched desert of my hormonal teen years to get where we are today.

In closing, I'd like to thank my readers, for liking my brain the way it is.  For supporting me.  For making me laugh.  And most of all, for making my life as a writer, my adult years, some of the most rewarding ones of my entire existence.  Yay, readers!  I hope that the teenagers out there today, the ones who are struggling to find themselves, find the kind of joy and acceptance I have with my fans.  There really just aren't adequate words to describe how it feels in my lexicon.




20 comments on “Confessions of a Former Teenage Rebel Turned Writer

  1. Thanks for sharing this insight onto you with us fans. I am always amazed by how hard you work (and how fab your stories are!!), you truly are an inspiration. Thank you for the wonderful relationship you share with your fans- we LOVE you!! xxx

  2. We all have a story, Elle, and yours is one that deserves to be told. If not for your benefit, then for the benefit of anyone else out there who has a dream or has a problem believing in themselves. Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a leap of blind faith and hope that you did the right thing. You did that and I give you two enthusiastic thumbs up, big girl snaps, and lots of kudos! Love your stuff!

  3. Elle I don’t think we ever really get over our childhood. It is what makes us who we are for better or for worse. Some people sail through life and it is a bowl of cherries while others suffer. Is life fair…Hell no. You reach so many people of all ages (I’m 60) with your books. You make us laugh and for the time we are reading your books we are in Faery Land and it’s great. Don’t ever sell yourself short. You brighten up lots of lives. I am so glad I discovered you.

  4. awwww! I dont know whatvelse tobsaybthatvhasnt been said, so….SUUUUUUPER HUUUUUUUUIGS!

    Pee ess. Totally not looking forward to my two girls going through puberty. ugh lol

    • I know you will be the awesome dad for them and you’ll tell them every day how amazing they are, just how they are, and they won’t have the issues I did. 🙂 Thank you, Aybee!! xoxo Elle

  5. Ok maybe this comment will go through..stupid computer! Elle that is some kind of life, with a good ending so far. Your going to be one of those old people that are so interesting to hear their stories. I hope that came off as a compliment, it was so meant as one! I’m going to send this link to my niece. Her life is messed up and I worry for her. Maybe this will be the ticket. Thank you for your posts, and yes we sure don’t want you to burn out! That would be the saddest thing!

    • Rebecca, I hope you do pass it on. So many kids go through a tough time. I’m proof there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a train! Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 xoxo Elle

  6. Your very welcome! I did send her the link and told her your books, hopefully, will be out on paper back next year, but that there were sneak peeks on your site. Thought that should get her hooked. She is gifted with words like you are, and she thanks outside the box, also like you…actually most of my family thanks outside the box. We are looked at funny a lot. lol. Our youngest and oldest are crazy outside the box people. Our middle girl Chantel is crazy smart, so Moriah and Delana had to be crazy with the box thing. Love my girls

  7. Elle…thanks for sharing such a personal story, I love how your brain works and your humor is right up my alley…apparently it runs in my family too because I have my son and daughter hooked on your books too. I told him that we have to have our own book club to discuss your books.

    Here’s a big hug for you for perserving through the teenage years and accomplishing so much even before your writing became known. 🙂

    And another hug just because you braved the world and took a chance on yourself by publishing your books. You are strong, courageous and awesome….

    Now ya my racing mule…it’s time for you to share more adventures with the rest of lowly non- lellementals.

    • Tracey, You are very welcome. 🙂 I love that there are fellow deviants out there with me! If you ever do have a book club with my books, you be sure to let me come to a meeting. Hello, Skype! Thank you for those hugs and very kind words. I hope I can continue to entertain the whole family. Giddy-up! xoxo Elle

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