On December 5, 2014, I self-published my first novel, A Calling Above Oneself— something of an accomplishment for a twenty-year old, if I do say so myself! That day was full of excitement, and was the culmination of a very long and confusing process for me and my mother, who helped me throughout the publishing journey. Writing the novel (although it took seven months and to some people seems daunting and impossible) was the fun part; once I got to the actual formatting and publishing part, all that enjoyment was forgotten. I remember many nights where I stayed up until midnight, laboriously Photoshopping my book’s cover and trying to format the book appropriately. It was not my kind of work, and it was not fun.
I am extremely proud of my novel’s cover. I had a vision, and although my Photoshop skills are hardly anything special, I was able to make it a reality! Once you read the novel, every element of the cover makes sense.
But I got through it, and my book was finally born. It was the most surreal and exciting feeling to know that something I had created and felt so strongly about was free in the world! Of course, after publishing it, I had to focus on marketing; which is also incredibly difficult for me. But I hoped that my book would sell. To be honest, it hasn’t; but nor has this past year been what I planned in other areas either. Eight months ago, I started working at the local Mitsubishi dealership, and have been there full-time ever since. What was supposed to be a two-week stint became a proper job; one that has taught me more than reading books ever could. My job at Mitsubishi isn’t a normal 9 to 5 job, it’s more of an 8 to whenever-the-work-is-finished one, so I don’t have time to write like I used to. Even finding time to write a post a week here can be challenging. But I feel that through Mitsubishi, I’ve become the person I’m meant to be but was too scared to become; and I’ve also been reminded that my writing is a very important part of my life.
Although it was time-consuming, proof-reading was always a satisfying task for me
Since working at Mitsubishi, my focus with writing has shifted. Whereas before I was concerned with how I was going to be able to support myself with such slow novel sales, now I care more about simply getting my novel out there. I feel so strongly about this story and its theme of the Eastern Front, and I believe that A Calling Above Oneself offers so much that modern readers will appreciate. Its protagonist is a young woman who strays from the normal roles for women in World War II; it sheds light on the struggle of a nation that is often misunderstood and overlooked in the West; and its themes of courage, determination, loss, and self-sacrifice add depth to what I believe is a compelling historical adventure story. At this point, I am just genuinely eager for people to read A Calling Above Oneself.
Although my life is very different now than it was when I published my novel a year ago, some things are the same. While I have less time for it now, I’m still just as passionate about my writing– and especially about A Calling Above Oneself. It’s an accomplishment that I couldn’t be more proud of, and I hope that it contributes to raising awareness of the Eastern Front. I do urge you to read it– it never takes me more than a few days to read so it doesn’t require enormous commitment on the part of the reader, and it really is a fascinating and unique story. It offers an honest look at one of the forgotten theatres of World War II; from an honest perspective as well. Plus, I’m offering A Calling Above Oneself for free through Kobo for the week of December 5-12 so now is the time to get your copy! You can read more about my novel here; and just to clarify, my novel is an e-book but it can be read on smartphones, computers, and tablets as well as e-readers!
The card my parents gave me upon publishing my book. Although life is different now, I still believe in my writing dreams and I certainly believe in “A Calling Above Oneself”!
The first year has been a learning experience in ways that I never expected. I am often sad that I no longer have endless time for writing, but I know that working 50 hours a week at a fast-paced, deadline-driven car dealership full of interesting characters has done nothing but help my writing. It’s enriched my knowledge of people and the way they think, and has given me so many new ideas and perspectives! Though time may now be short, I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve had this year and I can’t wait to apply them to my next literary project.