So excited to host my brand-new #nErDCampMI friend, Bridget Hodder, today. She graciously stepped in to help when another nErDCamp Jr. presenter needed to leave early, with grace and humor. She’s with us today to talk about her journey to writing The Rat Prince (Macmillan/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux/ Margaret Ferguson Books).
With my very first book, THE RAT PRINCE, out in the world at last, I’ve been touring around the country, meeting readers and fellow authors, making new friends right and left. Sometimes it feels like one big party that started at the end of 2016, and keeps on going from conference to festival to school visit…
Honestly? I love it. But it’s exhausting. It’s also unbelievably fun and fulfilling. Since THE RAT PRINCE came out, the deep community connections I’ve made directly, and in the online universe, have been numerous and genuine. I can’t count the ways this has enriched me as a person and brightened my life.
Now, here’s what I want to point out.
The year-long party is the Second Stage of my writing journey for this book. It’s VERY different from the First Stage, where I sat alone for six months and pounded out my story, with no one but my laptop for company, then sat alone for another three months researching agents and writing them cold query letters.
My book, THE RAT PRINCE, happens to be a re-imagining of Cinderella. I realized as I was creating it that perhaps the worst suffering Cinderella experienced when her stepmother came along was a deep and terrible solitude. She was cut off from all companionship, with nothing in her life but work. Under those circumstances, any of us would wish to go to the royal ball, where we could once again see our friends, and re-connect with the community.
So, knowing that the author’s fate is to write draft after lonely draft over days, weeks, months and even years, here’s a bit of authorly advice.
I would be a total hypocrite if I told people not to hide away from the world while you’re creating. Because I do it, too. But if, like me, you absolutely have to lead a Cinderella existence as you write, remember there’s an end to it. The year-long party I’ve been talking about? Think of it as a ball, to which your invitation has already been sent. That ball is waiting for you afterwards.
And if “afterwards” is taking too long, don’t wait for a fairy godmother to get you dressed and out of the house.
Do it yourself, even if it means just getting out of your car at school pickup time and having a quick chat with another parent through her driver’s side window. Or simply take a break and check in with your Twitter friends.
You deserve your work to be celebrated. YOU deserve to be celebrated. And when friends meet, whether it’s in body or in spirit…that’s always a celebration. Welcome to the ball.
Shall we dance?
Bridget Hodder began her career as an archaeologist, translating forgotten documents in order to tell the lost stories of the ancient Aztec of Mexico. Then she realized she had her own stories to tell. She now lives and writes full time in a small New England seaside town. THE RAT PRINCE, published in August of 2016 by Macmillan/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux/ Margaret Ferguson Books, is her first novel.