Swoon Author Natalie Williamson: The Road So Far
True confession time: I was almost late turning in this blog post. It was due on release day, and I spent the night of release day eve staring at my computer, willing myself to get some words—any words—on the page. But if you happened to see my Instagram post from release day, you might understand why, when I first sat down to write, the words just wouldn’t come.
It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to say on the day Rules We're Meant to Break came out into the world, but once I finally did, it felt like a huge weight lifted off my chest. My happiness about achieving my dream of becoming a published author and my sorrow over the losses I’ve experienced this year are not mutually exclusive, but in my heart and mind they will always be inextricably tied. And because of that, it wasn’t until I found a way to be honest about the hard parts of this year that I truly felt I could lean into the joy of this moment in my life.
So, in the spirit of celebrating the good stuff even as we acknowledge the bad, here are some of my top moments as a published author so far (without actual numbers and in no particular order, because they are all wonderful):
The day my husband read the dedication and acknowledgments for the first time
This was a biggie for me. Rules We're Meant to Break wouldn’t exist without my husband—seriously! I’d been stuck on another project for a long time, and I got so frustrated one day that I told him I was going to give up on this whole writing thing. He looked at me and was like, that’s ridiculous. Just try writing something else! There was grumbling involved, but I did finally take his advice. And that something else? Turned out to be the very first draft of Amber’s story. So getting to thank him in a tangible way, for all the world to see, and finally letting him read the words I’d been keeping secret for months at this point? Was pretty freaking magical.
Opening my author copies with my daughter
My daughter loves packages, and over the last year she has started to understand more and more that Mommy wrote a book. The day my husband and I picked her up from school with a giant box of “Mommy’s books” in the car was basically a dream come true for her. And seeing her excitement when she pulled out a copy and opened right to the back cover flap, where she could see my picture? That was a dream come true for me.
My HR Director’s reaction the day I got The Call
My call was scheduled for a weekday morning, and I took it in the conference room in my department in between day-job projects. Since I had to use our space and take time away from my desk to chat with the Swoon team, I’d given my boss and coworkers a heads up about what was going on. I didn’t use specifics and I tried to play it cool, but I could tell from the get-go that they were already excited for me. I called my husband first, and we got teary together on the phone (another best moment, really), but I made sure to get myself under control before I went back out into the office. My HR Director was the first person I saw, and when he asked me how it went and I told him my book was going to be published, his whole face lit up. “That’s great!” he said. “Will you sign a copy for me? I’ll buy it, of course.” It was just instant support and enthusiasm. I’ll never forget that.
The surprise lunch my coworkers threw me for release day
My coworkers all know what I’ve been going through this year, and they knew that release day would be a weird mix of excitement and worry. So they lied to me about a random meeting (those tricksters) and pulled me into a surprise pizza lunch, complete with ISBN number cupcakes my boss made for dessert. It was exactly what I needed, and the cupcakes were so delicious that I ate two.
The celebratory cookie cakes my husband made me
The day I got The Call, my husband made me a cookie cake to celebrate. And on release day, he got me another one, this time with my book title and the heart from my cover as part of the decorations. He is my best support system and my biggest fan, and I am so grateful to have him as my partner in this life. I couldn’t imagine doing any of this without him.
Seeing my book in a bookstore for the first time
What more can I say about this one? It’s been a dream of mine for so long, and in spite of the bumpy road to get me here, I wouldn’t trade a second of it for the world.