About author, Jennifer Vessells: After practicing law for nearly three years, Jennifer Vessells decided to leave the practice to pursue her dream of being a novelist. After an intensive year and a half of writing, Ms. Vessells is proud to finally present her debut novel to the world – a story that’s been marinating since her early college days.
Passionate about women’s fiction and children’s chapter books, Ms. Vessells plans to enjoy a long writing career. Keep your eye out for more exciting publications from this author in the future!
The Life of a Chick Lit Author
When people think about what life must be as an author, I’m sure many of them harbor the same romantic images I did when I first decided to abandon my life as an overworked attorney and take the plunge into authorship. I imagined myself sitting peacefully at my laptop, sipping calmly on a cup of gourmet coffee while enjoying an effortless surge of literary brilliance. I thought I might spend a few of my mornings at some local coffee shops, immersed in what would obviously turn out to be a best-selling novel. I couldn’t wait to wake up to those blank pages full of possibilities, and assumed (albeit naively) that I would be writing a book every four to five months.
Like most things, however, the reality of life as an author has not been as romantic as the dream. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my life as an author and relish the time that I now have to fulfill my creative needs. That being said, however, there are a few things I didn’t consider when starting down the path to authorship.
First, I’m a procrastinator. Who knew? After several years of education – including three years of law school – I certainly didn’t. It was only until I was left to my own devices that I realized that without deadlines, bosses, or third-party accountability, I tend to procrastinate. A lot. This doesn’t mix well with my book production goals, and often leaves me frustrated when I look back on what I’ve accomplished in a given time frame.
Second, once my financial contributions to my family went from significant to zilch, I struggled with feelings of guilt. My husband continues to be amazingly supportive of my new career path, and I knew that becoming an even mildly successful author would take time, dedication, and patience. But even so, I have trouble dealing with that guilt from time to time. And the looming law school debt certainly doesn’t help!
Third, I became a parent! This one has really thrown me for a loop. As a non-pregnant woman with two dogs and a husband, I was able to complete my first chick lit novel, Life in Plan B, over a fun-filled nine-month period. I finished my manuscript the month before I found out I was pregnant – and thankfully, not a moment later. My first trimester brought fatigue, headaches, and brain farts, which prevented me from doing anything other than sending out form query letters to various chick lit agents. After approximately three months of query letters, I decided to publish Life in Plan B on my own, and could barely concentrate long enough to ensure the book’s formatting looked professional and flawless. By the time the third trimester rolled around, I was so anxious anticipating the arrival of our daughter, that I spent the bulk of my time cleaning the house, doing laundry, and undertaking whatever else my nesting instincts drove me to pursue. Naturally, writing, outlining, or marketing my new book was not on my instinct’s list. And now, with a newborn baby to take care of, I barely even have time for a daily shower!
Notwithstanding my aforementioned gripes or problems, however, I must conclude this post by saying that life as an author, all-in-all, has been wonderful. Huh? I know what you’re thinking. How could I say that after spending the majority of this piece explaining the ways in which life as an author is trying or difficult? I can say it because it’s true – and because I don’t want to risk leaving the impression that I’m ridiculously self-deprecating or pessimistic. Despite all of its unanticipated struggles, authorship has opened the door to new and exciting career opportunities, creative outlets, and people. I’ve enjoyed putting my ideas to paper and will always be thankful for the opportunity to fulfill my life-long dream of becoming an author. If my new career has taught me anything, it’s this: following your dream isn’t romantic, easy, or without struggles, and the grass is never as green as you think it is on the other side. However, if you take a leap to do what you love and are committed to giving it all the energy, time and passion that you can, you can truly lead a wonderful, fulfilling (and occasionally frustrating) life. I’ve never regretted my decision to become an author, and look forward to what tomorrow will bring!
**About “Life In Plan Be”:
When twenty-eight year old Haley Simpson, a sales associate for her best friend’s clothing boutique in Columbus, Ohio, begins a secret affair with the boutique’s potential New York City business partner, she digs a cavernous hole of deception that not only threatens to end her blossoming career, but to destroy a life-long friendship.
Jennifer Vessells’s debut novel, LIFE IN PLAN B, encompasses everything classic chick lit should: the dynamics of friendship, the nuances of high-reaching career aspirations, and the struggles – both usual and unique – presented by romantic and familial relationships. An entertaining story at every turn, LIFE IN PLAN B is identifiable for readers of any age. In short, Ms. Vessells hits her debut novel out of the park!
After a quick lunch on Lexington Avenue, I took the Southbound 6 Train to Spring Street. The train was fairly empty in the early afternoon, and I was thankful for the chance to sit. I abhorred having to grip the germ-infested poles to stabilize myself while standing on the subway. I wasn’t a clean freak by any stretch, but I also wasn’t eager to share whatever organisms the millions of others riding the train may be carrying.
Stepping off of the train when it reached my stop, I was temporarily mesmerized by the early twentieth century mosaic tiles announcing my arrival at Spring Street Station. Blues, greens, and oranges dominated the sign, forming a decorative triangular border at the bottom of the stark white “Spring St” letters on the subway wall. Mosaic signs marked most, if not all, of New York’s subway stations, and all were strikingly beautiful, especially given the fact that they existed in the dank, smelly underground. Although I’d seen them hundreds of times before, their unexpected grandeur never ceased to impress me.
Climbing up the stairs from the subway station, I felt a rush of excitement as I emerged onto the street. SoHo was alive with people, all dressed in outfits more interesting than the last. One woman passed by in a purple strapless maxi dress, paired with a short denim jacket and peep-toe leather print pumps. Her dyed blond hair was pulled together in a long, relaxed braid, and her white Prada handbag was swaying back and forth as she marched down the street, chatting loudly on her phone.
To my left, I noticed a middle-aged couple holding hands as they waited on the corner to cross the street. The man was dressed in fitted, cuffed jeans, a corduroy, brown jacket, and a neutral colored scarf wrapped loosely around his neck to keep out some of the cool spring air. His curly dark hair was tied back in a low ponytail. Although his back was turned to me, I could tell from his hands he had smooth, olive skin. His partner was equally well put together and had the same beautiful skin color. She had long brown hair that fell easily past her shoulders in loose curls. She wore a pair of black skinny jeans, paired with an oversized, light blue sweater that peeked out beneath her cropped beige jacket. Her flat-heeled boots, made of brown distressed leather, covered her to her knees. I could tell they weren’t from New York. Although their foreign language initially gave them away, their reluctance to jaywalk was also a clear sign that they were visiting. No cars were coming from either direction, but the couple didn’t move until the signal beckoned them across. No New Yorker worth his or her salt would have stood there for more than a couple of seconds before bolting across the street.
As I watched them cross, I felt an unexpected twinge of jealousy. It was clear they were in love. I watched them saunter casually across the street, holding each other tightly. Once safely on the other side, the man pulled the woman in close for a kiss. It was quick, but passionate. Smiling as she pulled away, the woman let go of her lover’s hand to touch him lightly on the cheek. He put his hand over hers affectionately in response and intertwined their fingers once again. Turning their backs toward me, they continued walking together down the sidewalk, hand-in-hand, until they disappeared from view.
I caught myself daydreaming as I watched them fade out of sight. I imagined myself in her place, walking hand-in-hand with my own gorgeous man who couldn’t walk too far without bringing me in close. I found myself longing for that companionship, that easy love.
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