It's known across the globe as the "Happiest Place on Earth." Yet one begins to question this self-proclaimed title while standing in a two-hour line at Disneyland, in ninety-degree heat, surrounded by crying children and irritable strangers. I remember pondering this irony years ago, awaiting my very first turn on the popular Thunder Mountain ride. This thing better be worth the trouble, I thought to myself.
Looking back, I suddenly realize the similarities shared by my journey to publication. Many a time, my query letters, then copies of my manuscript, stood in lengthy queues to reach the eyes of a promising agent or editor—only to learn it didn't reach the required height line. With a pat on the head, I was sent away, encouraged to come back when I had grown enough, or to try a more suitable ride.
And so, I continued to improve my craft, despite the rejections that streamed in, and I would stand in line after line. Each time that I was told World War II women's fiction would be a tough sell—or worse, that it would never sell—I grew more determined to succeed.
You see, I didn't write my first novel, LETTERS FROM HOME, to fit neatly into the marketplace. Truth be told, I was barely a reader when I discovered my grandparents' wartime courtship letters, which inspired the premise of my story. Instead, I transcribed the vision of a movie that played out in my head, and always I did my best to write from the heart.
Eventually, I made it to the front of that daunting line again, though this time, to my delight, I was invited to board. An official contract was offered with my name on it. Since then, uncertainty and excitement have continued to swirl through the clickety-clack, two-year climb to reach my book's launch date. The past few weeks, following the release, have passed in a blur. Twists and turns and an almost constant adrenaline rush have often overpowered what I had foreseen to be a blissful feat.
At last, however, life has begun to settle to a comfortable speed. And this week, I actually had the chance to sit back and savor the moment. The ride has hardly been free of bumps, but as I stood in the Costco aisle, staring at my pleasantly shocking stack of books—of a novel, mind you, that was never supposed to sell—I couldn't help but smile.
Was it worth all the trouble? I asked myself.
Kristina McMorris's first novel, Letters From Home, was released in February. You can learn more about her writing and her journey to publication at her website: http://kristinamcmorris.com