Something S’more About Beth Merlin!
And yes, all my blog posts are going to include the word S’more while I am writing this series 🙂
I’ll be the first to admit… I chose the road more traveled. Even though I wanted to pursue an MFA, I went the perceived safer route and got my JD. I took the NY Bar exam, practiced law for a bit, and somewhere along the way realized I was completely miserable. I remember coming home after a particularly brutal day at work and telling my husband I wanted a do-over of the last couple of years. I regretted my decision to not follow my passion for writing, and felt that pipe dream would now be forever out of my reach. I wanted something more.
My husband turned to me and said, “Do you need an MFA to be a writer, is that a prerequisite?” I shook my head no and told him I didn’t think it was. He then calmly asked me what I did need. I thought about it for a moment and answered, “Just a laptop and an idea.” He pointed to our kitchen table and said, “There’s the laptop. As for the idea, I have a feeling you have a couple you’ve been mulling over.”
He was right–I had one idea for a book I kept coming back to. I’d even written the first chapter of it on some scraps of paper while riding the New York City subway home. I kept imagining a story about a girl in her twenties who decided to run away from the problems in her life to her childhood sleepaway camp.
Growing up, I loved all the summers I spent at camp. There’s just something about sharing a cabin–creating a home for the summer with friends–that forms a completely unique bond. We weren’t just cabinmates, but a support system, a team, sometimes group talk therapy, and even a sisterhood. I kept imagining what it would be like to go back as an adult to try to recapture some of those same feelings. From those musings came the rest of the ideas for One S’more Summer.
It took me another ten years to finish the book on that same laptop my husband had pointed to on the kitchen table that day. Real life came calling and I did eventually find a career that made me happy, but I never stopped writing. At night, early in the mornings, on the subway–really every little amount of time I could scrap together–I worked on the manuscript. I wasn’t sure if anything would come of it but I kept forging ahead.
In just three weeks, One S’more Summer is getting released followed by Book 2 and 3 of the Campfire Series. In my wildest dreams, I never could have imagined I would be the author of not just one but three novels. I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that calling yourself a “writer” isn’t about million dollar publishing contracts or throwing that particular title on your business card, it’s simply about wanting to write and the willingness to keep perfecting your craft.