In my latest novel, The Things I Do For You, my main male character is always trying (and failing) to get new ventures off the ground. He tries a surf shop in Santa Monica, a sweater shop in Seattle, a coffee house in Colorado, and finally, a lighthouse on the Hudson River that he wants to run as a bed and breakfast. Understandably, his wife, Bailey, is about to lose her mind.
What about you? Are you a dreamer? A self-starter? Or have you always played it safe? Surely you know of others who are just like Brad. I would have to say, I have always been a combination of Bailey and Brad. I love the idea of starting new adventures, but before I commit, my “Bailey” usually kicks in, raking over the pros and cons before I lose my shirt. Writing is a great way of taking risks through your characters. And unlike in life, in novels we want our characters to struggle. It’s the only way we’ll get to see what they’re made of, what they’ll do next.
I recently took a “Brad” type risk of my own. I started teaching 6-week writing classes in New York City. I have partnered with a man who has taught this writing course in Chicago for the past twenty-six years. Just a few months after I began contemplating doing this, and The Manhattan Writer’s Den has been born. I’m sitting here now, writing this post. On Thursday night, I will have a room full of students, eager to learn the craft of writing. The past few months I’ve spent decorating, preparing, studying, and advertising. I’ve been through two complete 6-week sessions, and have been amazed at how fast the time flies when you’re doing what you love. I put in twelve hour days without a second thought. I wake up excited to go to work.
On the other hand, it’s been a bit scary because I’ve invested a lot into it, and I’ve had to make sacrifices (such as getting a roommate after twenty-some years of living on my own—not counting the ex-husband) but it’s also been one of the most freeing things I’ve done in a long time. Until you’re a best seller, or a movie is made of one of your novels, most writers don’t make a fortune. We still needs jobs to fall back on. I’ve spent twelve years doing a job that I liked well enough, but didn’t love. Maybe writing The Things I Do For You helped open me up to the own possibilities in my life, or maybe it was just time. Either way, I’m now working at something I love, and spending most of my time talking about my passion: writing. Hats off to those who live their dreams. I would advise a balance between daydreaming and planning it out. Most businesses take at least a year to five years to get off the ground. This is where funding and planning come in handy. New ideas are inherently risky, but don’t let that stop you from living your dreams, one step at a time. Until then, sit back with The Things I Do For You, and be glad it’s not your pocketbook funding Brad’s dreams.
About the Author:
Mary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist. The Things I Do For You, is her sixth novel. Her fifth novel, The Pub Across the Pond, was July’s pick of the month with Barnes and Noble online book club, and is also available as an audiobook through Blackstone Audio. Her other works include: My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged. In addition to her novels she has written three novellas: A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home, and A Kiss Before Midnight (in an anthology collection headlined by Janet Daily) which will be out in the Spring of 2013. Mary is also excited to announce that she has started, The Writers’ Den, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where she will be teaching the exact writing course that helped her write and publish her first novel. Aspiring writers in the New York City area can go to www.themanhattanwritersden for more information.
Readers can visit Mary at www.marycarterbooks.com.
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About The Things I Do For You:
What happens to a marriage when a husband buys a lighthouse behind his wife’s back?
Bailey Jordan has loved her husband, Brad, since they were ten years old. She’s followed him on every adventure–opening a sweater store in Seattle, a café in Colorado, a surf shop in Santa Monica. Each time, she’s picked up the pieces when things fell apart. But now, it’s her turn. Bailey has a successful real estate career in Manhattan, and she’s eager to start a family–until a car crash leaves Brad in a coma and changes their lives forever.
Awakening after his near-death experience, Brad has a new mission. He buys a lighthouse on the Hudson River, planning to turn it into a B&B. Grateful to have Brad alive, Bailey tries to make his dream her own. The lighthouse is beautiful, but the challenges–renovating, bringing in supplies by boat, navigating the locals and guests–are enormous. And then Bailey discovers a secret in Brad’s past that compels her to question her husband, her marriage, and how far she’ll go to keep them both. . .
Thoughtful and moving, The Things I Do for You exhibits a rare understanding of the joys, compromises, and small rebellions that lie at the heart of every marriage, and of the resilience and surprising power of love.