Thank you, STYLE WEEKLY readers, for voting for me for Best Local Author.
I want to share a story about David Baldacci, another Local Author favorite: I taught English for nearly ten years. First, in Nottoway County, where I taught special education English and U. S. history. Mind you, this was my first year as a teacher and I had NEVER taken a course in special education. Also, and I love this: my morning monitoring duty was in the cafeteria outside the boy's bathroom. Nottoway County is known, as well it should be, for its football. Whenever a fight broke out, I just screamed, "Fight!" There was no way I was getting between two boys the size of grown men.
I taught at Nottoway High School for three years, and then I taught 8th grade English at L. Douglas Wilder Middle School for four years. In many ways, it was hard to leave teaching. It's fulfilling to know that you are making a difference in a young person's life.
While I was at Wilder, David Baldacci came and spoke to the county's English teachers. He was very inspiring. After he spoke, I went up to him and asked him to sign a poster for one of his books. I told him, "I'm going to be a published novelist one day." Rather than dismissing me, he was encouraging.
It blows my mind that my name is under his in Style Weekly's Best of 2011 issue. While I was teaching and getting my MFA in fiction writing at VCU, he sponsored VCU's First Novelist award. He still does. I'm "up" for that award this year! Mr. Baldacci is generous with his time and his money, supporting other writers. I am so fortunate to be in such good company. XO
P. S. I think The Book Lady and I are going to Target Road Trip when my novel hits the stores, May 22nd!!!