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Life Between My Pages presents Kate Jacobs
December 31, 2009

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We are pleased to bring you BCQ's own series, Life Between My Pages!

This series will feature a selected author each month who will share with you their personal story about how they got to where they are today.

Prepare to be completely WOWED by these writers! You've read their books, fallen in love with their style, now learn about their journey.

Each month, when the newsletter shows up in your inbox, look for the featured author's name in the subject line. Some authors you will immediately recognize, some you will not. We can assure you that every single author invited to participate will tell a story you won't want to miss!

Special Edition New Years Eve 2009:

Kate Jacobs

All I Needed Was a Notebook

By Kate Jacobs

My bedroom was my sanctuary growing up, and I loved to draw pictures and make up stories about my creations. Pioneer girls, no doubt inspired by Little House on the Prairie, loomed large in my imagination, as did great women such as Queen Elizabeth I. I spent a long time, around age six or seven, on my Elizabeth series; it wasn’t easy being a princess in the 1500s, you know. And then, when I was in third grade, I confided to my nine-year-old cousin Joanne that I dreamed of writing a novel. She, in turn, agreed to be my “manager” – a concept I’m sure we’d learned about watching repeats of The Monkees or The Partridge Family.

No doubt I was feeling anything was possible, having come straight off writing and directing a Christmas play that ran during lunchtime in our elementary school classroom. We had a good teacher that way, one who encouraged us to use our recesses and lunches to work on puppet shows and the like. I’d worked diligently on my dialogue and stage notes, handwriting several copies of the play for my cast (until my father volunteered his photocopier at the office.) Still, it had been a tough period of rehearsal and I had trouble making the boys behave; I recall the thrill and shame of trying out my first swear word to express my frustration and the fear my mother would somehow find out. Such were the dangers of being a writer. And yet the play came off, and all was well. (I wrote more than one Christmas play over my school years, the most notable focusing on elves striking against Santa in the North Pole.) Quite simply, third grade was very nearly my most prolific year, and my plan to write a novel consumed my thoughts. Not certain how to begin such an undertaking, I sketched out approximately 300 characters, gave them each fanciful names, and created complicated family trees connecting them together. It was, in short, a brilliant means of procrastination. I have little memory of the plot. But by the end of the year, I had barely completed a sentence, and my nine-year-old cousin fired me. And so my career as a novelist stalled before it ever began.

Over the next few years, I wrote dream journals and poems and short stories, and at twelve I even sketched out another novel about two best friends, one of whom was called Georgia. (The same name that would later grace the main character of The Friday Night Knitting Club, the novel published when I was 33.) But I was uncertain then about the possibility of becoming a “real” writer. And then my eighth grade teacher, Marilyn Collington, took me aside and suggested I enter a short story contest. It was the first time an adult really addressed my dream of being a writer and took it seriously, offering practical advice. I submitted a short story but didn’t even place. Instead, my story was returned via SASE along with a simple a post-it – no doubt similar to many of the entrants – with the very best advice I ever received: “Do Keep Writing!”

I did keep at it – and I kept that post-it note as well.

My adult years focused on college and grad school and a career in magazine publishing. I wrote and edited, worked at my craft, learned how to develop a thick skin against rejection. The truth is that being a writer as an adult is about a combination of persistence and luck and just putting in the hard work at your desk. It’s not really glamorous. But it is rewarding. To me today, and to the child I was, the dreamer who simply believed in the magic and power of storytelling.

Kate Jacobs is The New York Times bestselling author of Knit the Season, Knit Two, The Friday Night Knitting Club and Comfort Food. She lives in Southern California.

Kate’s website is:

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