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~ Written by Tammy Turner, Author of Falling into Forever

Questions with the hardest answers are the easiest to ask. The words slip from the tongue innocently, without a flitting concern for the gravity of the response. The question is always the same and comes with ease, but the first time I was asked I did not know how to answer. The ones asking did not toil for hours and days over pen and paper. They did not feel the cramps as the laboring body hovered over a keyboard. They are happy for me, congratulatory even, but they do not understand.

The girl at the coffee counter inside the bookstore did not know me. My young son was proud to tell her his mother wrote a book just like the ones on the shelves all around us.

“Congratulations,” she said handing me a cold coffee with a mound of cream slopping over the side. “Why did you write a book?” she asked innocently, just as I would be asked again and again from all those with whom I shared my news.

I said “thank you” shyly and paused. The smiling face in front of me expected an answer. I gulped. “Um,” spilled from my lips to stall as I gently bit into my lower lip.

In my mind, a familiar face beckoned my attention as I stared at my feet. I see my father pushing his sliding glasses back up the bridge of his nose, his eyes magnified like brown dinner plates beneath the thick lenses. His bushy eyebrows grow like an untended weed patch and the wild, wiry strands perk up like antennas as a smile crinkles his lips. “What story do you want to hear tonight?” he asked me, patting my towhead.

“Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” I said.

“No,” he said, scratching gently at the back of his neck the way he always did when he was thinking intently. “I’ve got a better idea,” he said, squinting at me through his glasses. “How about Three Bears and a Unicorn Ride their Bikes to Goldilocks’s House for Ice Cream. Would you like to hear that one?”

“Yeah,” I said, clapping, my pillow clasped to my chest as I stayed up later than I should, listening to his voice before falling into a contented sleep.

I looked up from my feet and realized the girl behind the coffee counter was still smiling, her polite cough reminding me I have not answered her question. “Why did you write a book?”

“I love a good story.” The words were all I could muster, but they pacified her. I never had a choice in the matter, I think only to myself. He always told me I could.

In college, my father sent me a simple note scribbled on notebook paper that I cherished but put away for too long.

Hi Tam,
There are three critical things necessary for success in life, which I’ve finally discovered myself and want to pass on to you:

  1. You must believe in yourself.
  2. There must be someone else who believes in you also.
  3. Work relentlessly toward your goals.

If you follow the above rules, you will achieve anything you wish to in life.
Love,
Dad

When I decided to quit thinking of excuses and give myself a chance at writing a book, I regained the sense of personal optimism and faith we have as children. I believed in the little girl who loved to listen to bedtime stories, who told her father she was going to write a book one day, a real book like the ones his beautiful mind devoured.

I am finally following the rules, Dad. When someone again asks me why I wrote my book I know the answer. I wrote it because I believed I could. And so did my dad.

* * * * *

Tammy Turner’s debut young adult fantasy novel, Falling into Forever was released June 5, 2012. Click here to learn more about Tammy and visit BQB’s online store to purchase her book. Falling into Forever is also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and through your favorite bookstore.

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