I started writing when I was 10 years old. My first short story was about a girl named Kelsey (because that was the coolest name ever) whose babysitter was killed by a man named the Peanut Butter and Jelly Murderer. Every time he claimed another victim, he would eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at their house, then leave.
So, yeah. I was a weird kid.
But I wasn’t one who knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I went through phases: the astronaut phase, the actress phase, the longer-than-you’d-think grocery store checkout girl phase (the scanning always looked so glamorous).
In high school, I was mostly in the keep-my-head-above-the-social-waters phase and the boy phase. There wasn’t a lot of strategizing career-wise.
Then, in college, I switched my major three times. I went from Theatre (too dark) to Real Estate (too serious) to English (ah, just right). Borders on psychosis, though, no?
My point is that I never had this moment where I sat down and said, I want to be an author when I grow up. My writing was always with me, something I loved doing, something that came so naturally to me that I didn’t even realize it was my passion.
My junior year in college I wrote a book called Our Story that will never see the light of day. That first book was a cathartic experience, and I learned more about myself through it than the craft of authorship. But when I finished it, something clicked into place inside of me. I knew I would never stop writing books.
My second, third, and forth manuscripts followed. Most of it was complete garbage. I mean terrible, terrible stuff. And at first it was all in good fun. And I know people read this and think—I’d rather carve my eyeballs from my head with a rusty coat hanger than write for fun—but that’s just how it was, and how it still is for me.
Three years ago I started writing Tempus. I loved my job and had a full life, so writing served no other purpose for me than a hobby I was passionate about. Then, when I finished Tempus, I shared it with a few people. I was literally (genuinely, seriously) blown away when they expressed how much they enjoyed reading it.
That’s the moment my writing went from being about me, to being about a reader. It was an addictive feeling—writing something that made people think and feel.
So I decided to edit Tempus and query it—just to see what happened. Simultaneously, I started writing more for my actual job, so it took me a while to get around to sending Tempus out.
I was in bed the night my publisher reached out to me about representing Tempus. It didn’t really seem real, so I didn’t tell many people. I was crazy busy with my job, my family, my friends—plus, I’m a I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it kind of girl—the most optimistic skeptic you’ll ever meet. I shared the news with a few, but mostly focused on the season I was currently in.
Through a series of life events, it become evident to my family that I needed to step away from my day job to allow more margin in our schedules. It just so happened that the month after I quit, Tempus was published.
So I never set out to be an author, and yet, here I am. It’s very humbling, surreal, unexpected, and wonderful. I believe so fully in God’s sovereignty, and these circumstances only serve to confirm that.
What’s next for me? Well, I can promise you more writing. For one, I have a contract to finish the Tempus series. I also have another idea for a series that I’m just squirming to get started on. (Yup. I’m that big of a nerd.)
I don’t want to limit my life to just one narrow career path. That’s not for me. I want to give myself permission to pursue my dreams, however random or unexpected or challenging they might be.
And who knows? I could wake up tomorrow and hate writing. If that happens, I may be the lady scanning your groceries on your next outing.
Hey. Anything can happen, right?
Holly Lauren is the author of TEMPUS, a Young Adult Science Fiction Romance out now at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com