Friday, September 18, 2015

The Pursuit of Dreams

Hi everyone, Sophia Sasson here, waving hello as this is my first time on the blog. I’m the newest author for Harlequin Heartwarming, a dream come true for me, so I thought I'd write about pursuing your dreams.

You know how you sometimes stand in front of the shower, and pretend to accept an academy award? Or pose for the flash of reporters on the red carpet? Maybe air guitar that awesome rock performance? I pretend to sign books.

"You have to dream before your dreams can come true." 
-- A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

I was the kid who needed to be told to put her book away at the dinner table. My parents would often take books away from me because I was reading too much. I started sneaking my mother’s Mills and Boons when I was twelve years old. I’ve always been writing, but just for fun. I did the safe thing in going to college, all the way to getting a doctorate degree in public health, and working hard at a regular job. Become an author? That’s just crazy!

When I returned to work 4 months after giving birth to twins (no maternity leave here in the U.S), my heart wasn't in my job. I saw a speech Steve Jobs gave where he encouraged students to pursue their passion, to do that one thing that made them get up before the alarm went off in the morning.

Could I really become an author? Walt Disney started from nothing and built an empire. All because he had the courage to pursue his dreams. Why shouldn't I at least try?  Before I knew it, I had written a book. I started entering writing contests, and submitting to publishers to see if I was any good.
My first manuscript was rejected (and for good reason). I should’ve been discouraged, but I learned that rejection is a rite of passage for writers. JK Rowling was rejected by several publishers for Harry Potter. So was Dan Brown for the DaVinci Code, JD Salinger for Catcher in the Rye, and L.M Montgomery for Anne of Green Gables. Even Dr Seuss received a harsh turn down. I kept at it, improving my craft, and focusing on writing stories from the heart. Stories I wanted to read.
And before I knew it, Claire Caldwell at Harlequin Heartwarming found my work and decided to get me a contract. My debut novel, First Comes Marriage comes out in February. But before that, Harlequin will be publishing one of my short stories in November as a free online read along with twelve other Heartwarming authors. More to come on that.

So go ahead and dream. If mine can come true, so can yours.

Tell me, what do you dream of doing one day? Or, are you already living a dream?

20 comments:

  1. I loved reading your road to publication story, Sophia! It's always so inspiring to hear how other authors reached their dream. I'm so glad we've added you to our Heartwarming family and especially thrilled that you added your voice to romance. Writing is an act of bravery. It takes courage, perseverance and heart. I can't wait to read First Comes Marriage! (I love that title :)

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  2. I enjoyed your post very much, Sophia. I'm so pleased that you've joined our Heartwarming group. It was a great pleasure meeting you in person in NYC.

    Your post is an inspiration to aspiring authors (say that fast five times!), and I am happy for you for living your dream!

    I wish you much success with your writing career.

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  3. Welcome, Sophia! This is the best, most supportive group of women you will ever meet, each one with her own dream-big story. Good for you for pursuing your dream as the mother of twins! I'll bet deadline is fun at your house. Congratulations on your first book, and here's wishing you an entire catalog of titles to follow.

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  4. Like you, I’m living the dream. Enjoyed your first blog and look forward to your first book. Congratulations on making your dream come true.

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  5. Oh Sophia, congratulations on perservering! And for knowing you had those stories in you.

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  6. Sophia, welcome and it's wonderful that you stuck with your dream. So many people give up and that's a shame. As romance writers we are the purveyors of dreams that we make come true for our characters. So always dream big. Looking forward to your first book.

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  7. Congratulations, Sophia! I always love to read about the road to publication. I recently had a "before I knew it experience"...still in shock after receiving a call from NYC. I'll look forward to reading your book.

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  8. Congratulations! I like to hear everyone's stories. It was great meeting you at conference.
    m

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  9. Congrats, Sophia for debuting here and in Feb with your first book. It's a wonderful cloud to ride on. Enjoy it.

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  10. Congrats, Sophia! Debut novels are always special - I still cherish my debut, just because it was, as you've noted here, the fulfillment of a dream. Can't wait to read it! :)

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  11. Hello Sophia Sasson. I'm a reader who tries hard to visit this blog daily because I enjoy it so much. I just returned from vacation and saw your post. Your perseverance really paid off. Congratulations!! I would truly like to write a book one day, and I think I might finally have a plot I'm happy with. Now I just have to learn what to do next. ( :

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    1. Hi Laurie, being a reader you're already on your way. The best writers are voracious readers. Wish you the best of luck in making your dreams come true.

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    2. Hi, Laurie,

      You are such a wonderful supporter of all of us Heartwarming authors, I can safely say I'm not the only one who'd love to see you succeed!

      Start writing and keep writing! One of the best pieces of advice I've heard is that you should write what you love to read. It would be wonderful to have you join our group at some point.

      Best wishes making your dream come true!

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    3. Thank you so much Kate. That means so much to me.

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    4. I second what Kate said! We all appreciate your ongoing support of Heartwarming, Laurie. It would be amazing if we could one day add you not just to our list of favorite readers but also to have you as a fellow author! :)

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    5. Thank you so much Cerella, that would be a dream come true.

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  12. Welcome Sophia, we are so glad you're here! I look forward to reading your book :) Dreams come true every day, especially to those who believe.

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  13. Excellent post and so excited to have you as part of the HW family, Sophia!

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