Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Can Life Really Begin at Forty? by Amy Vastine

Hello! I am so thrilled to join this group of fantastic Heartwarming authors and this fun-filled blog. My name is Amy Vastine and my debut novel, The Weather Girl, is scheduled for release in January 2014.  

It just so happens that January is a big month for me and not just because Harlequin Heartwarming is publishing my very first book.



I'm turning 40.  


I'm not sure how this happened. I mean, I remember very clearly when my parents turned forty. We had a huge surprise party for my dad. All his friends were at our house.  You know, all those "old" people. Apparently, that's me now. My three kids tell me all the time that I'm not as cool as I think (ouch!)  

But I don't feel old. In fact, since I'm married to my high school sweetheart, I still kind of feel the same as I did when I was sixteen. Okay, maybe I'm a little wiser (at least I hope so) and a lot less motivated to exercise (who doesn't wish they could be as fat as they thought they were when they were teenagers?)  I'm more mature, but not OLD.

As my birthday approaches, I started thinking about the saying that life begins at forty. Becoming a published author is a new beginning for me. Since I was young, I knew I wanted a career in counseling. I followed that dream and got my Master of Social Work degree back in 1998. I have been a school social worker for the last fifteen years and really have loved almost every minute of it. I work in a middle school with some of the most interesting adolescents on the planet. I love being someone kids can talk to and who can give them support when they need it most. Anyone out there want to go back to middle school? I didn't think so.

One thing I tell students is that they can be anything they want to be if they are willing to work for it. You can also change your mind or create new goals after one has been achieved. Being an author is my new goal and The Weather Girl is proof that anything can happen if you work hard and take some risks. 

I used to write stories for fun, as a way of getting the wild stories in my head out.  When I decided to let other people read those stories, I was amazed they actually liked them. Getting published seemed like a crazy idea, though. Until I entered the Harlequin So You Think You Can Write contest in 2012 and made it into the semi-finals.  

Suddenly, I began to view the dream as more of a possibility. Not everyone agreed. In fact, at a family gathering soon after the contest ended, my brother (who will probably disown me for telling this story) told me that he thought getting a book deal was pretty much a pipe dream. I went home that day a little hurt and a tiny bit angry, but never more motivated to prove him wrong.  

Instead of giving up, I practiced what I preach to those middle schoolers every day. I got to work. I wrote and wrote and rewrote and rewrote. And that pipe dream became a reality.  

This ...
This is a reality.  The Weather Girl is a story about finding your dream and following it even when you aren't sure how it's all going to turn out.  And whether you're 12 or 40 or 25 or 85, anything is possible.

Maybe life doesn't begin at forty. Truth be told, I've had a great life so far. Maybe it's good to remember life doesn't have to end at forty. A new chapter can begin at any time.  

I can't wait to start this one!


20 comments:

  1. What a terrific post, Amy!! I worked in a middle school too and they are the most rewarding age group to work with because they still believe in the their dreams, just as we all should! Congratulations on your sale and I can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thanks Karen! I love middle schoolers. They're the right mix of challenge and fun :)

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  2. Amy, welcome to the group---and you are so funny. I'm sure I have shoes older than you. Looking forward to reading your book. I've worked in both an elementary school and a community college. Anyone who is counselor for the tween group has to be in line for sainthood.

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    1. Thanks so much Roz. Tweens are quite tough sometimes but I think the two in my house are more work than the ones at school most days!

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  3. Warmest welcome Amy! And I'm so glad you didn't listen to the naysayers (there are many out there!). I always say, I didn't succeed to prove them wrong, I succeeded to prove me right:) The kids at your school are very lucky to have such a great role model-your kids too!

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    1. Thanks for the warm welcome! I love your view on it. I proved me right :)

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  4. Amy - congratulations and welcome! This is the BEST cheaper-than-therapy sisterhood you will find anywhere. Not only has your job been more of a life-mission than a job, but I'll bet it's provided you with writing material for the next forty years! Jen is absolutely right about succeeding to prove yourself right rather than the nay-sayers wrong, but it is great to have something to be able to use against a sibling! Again - happy to have you here!

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    1. Thanks Muriel! I love having some cheap therapy ;)

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  5. Your book looks and sounds awesome. I'm looking forward to reading it. Welcome to the Heartwarming sisterhood! We're so glad you're here (even if you're not from Abilene )

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    1. thanks for getting me set up over here! It looks like a very fun place. So glad to be part of the HHW sisterhood :)

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  6. If you are this amazing at 40, I can't imagine what you will have accomplished by fifty (I did not just say that!) - I'm so excited for you Amy! And completely happy you proved your bro wrong! ;) The cover is fabulous and so are you and I cannot wait to get this book in my hands! XOXOXOXO

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  7. Welcome Amy. Don't stress over being 40. I loved that decade! Congrats on finding your dream and getting your book published

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    1. Thank you Tara! Really, I think I'm more stressed over the book than I am turning 40!

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  8. Welcome to our group, Amy. Dreams can come true at any age. Don't ever stop believing.

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    1. Hi Melinda! You guys sure know how to make a girl feel welcome! :)

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  9. Congratulations, Amy! January is going to be such an exciting month for you on so many levels. I love your cover! Welcome to our wonderful family :)

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    1. Thank you Syndi! I have never been more excited to get past Christmas! I am also so happy to be part of this very welcoming family <3

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  10. So sorry I'm late, Amy! Just wanted to give you a huge welcome and say that I love your cover! Such a cool post too! Great to have you as a January release buddy :)

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    1. Thanks so much Rula! Glad to meet someone else who is anxiously awaiting January as much as I am! :)

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