Once upon a time, a little girl scrunched up her eyes, blew out all six candles on her birthday cake, and fervently wished that she would grow up to be a Real Author.
(It was a strawberry cake. The little girl had not yet developed her loyalty to all things chocolate.)
Over the next six years, the little girl continued to work towards this goal, filling blank book after blank book with stories about horses. Talking horses, wild horses, crime-solving horses, dreamy show-jumping horses with stars in their eyes – you name it, they had a five-book series. Every once in a while, the humans got their own stories, too, mostly girls equally fierce with a sword and a pen. (Who also rode horses. Naturally.)
When she was twelve, she dreamed about the sisters, and the silvery horse running on the shore. It was the sort of strange dream that haunts you in the daylight, hours and days after waking, and so the girl did what all Real Authors surely do with strange dreams, and put it into a story.
When she was sixteen, a part-time resident of Middle-Earth dissatisfied with her own fiction and craving myth and magic, a wise person told her: “The book you want to read is really the book you want to write.” She never forgot those words. They haunted her like the horse still did.
Twelve more years passed, and the girl wrote, and wrote, and wrote. Remembered the sisters and the ghostly horse, who taught her how to craft a tale and build a world. Remembered again and again how writing made her whole. Every NaNoWriMo novel and every prompt scribbled at writing group brought her closer and closer to the truth: a Real Author is someone who is haunted by stories, and real magic is believing in the stories long enough to tell them to someone else.
And now, with lot more candles on her birthday cake but query letter and synopsis in hand, the next chapter of the Real Author’s adventure begins!