Monday, March 16, 2020

The Shining Moments by Brenda Chapman

What moment of personal accomplishment within the writing realm made you most proud? Outside of writing?

There have been a few moments of pride in my writing journey.

The first would be when Canadian Living, a national magazine, printed my short story True North” way back in August 2001. This was my first submission, the first time I signed a contract, and the first time I saw my name in print in a bona fide magazine. Such elation!

This was followed a few years later by the acceptance of my middle grade book Running Scared, a book I wrote for my two daughters. The book launch at my local pub was a crowded, happy affair. Over a hundred people came out to raise a glass, and I can't think of a time in this writing career when I've felt such complete and utter joy.

Since then, I've had a total of twenty-two books published and holding each one in my hands for the first time has been a moment filled with pride and satisfaction. Each has taken a great deal of work and care not only by me but also by everyone who worked on it, from editors to marketing to publicity. Each book has been a collaboration and I'm proud of the professional relationships and friends I've made.

There have been smaller but no less impactful moments that stay with me.

The one I keep coming back to is when the father of a grade five boy named Chris asked me to visit his son's class to talk about Running Scared. They'd recently moved to Ottawa and Chris was having trouble fitting in. "You'd be doing me a big favour," his dad said. I drove to his school one afternoon and Chris's teacher sent him to the office to escort me to the classroom. My talk went over well. The kids were enthusiastic and lined up to get my autograph afterwards. Chris gave me a card and small gift and thanked me in front of his classmates. He smiled the entire way back to the office and said before he left me, "That was the best day of my whole life."

Hard to top that moment - and turns out Chris was the one who did me a favour in the end.

Every email or interaction with a reader who tells me they love my books and speak about the characters as if they're real people builds on that bit of pride. I mean, why else are we writing except to move or entertain readers? I love that people want to share their thoughts about the books and their enthusiasm for the stories with me. I even enjoy their attempts to have me steer the storyline in a particular direction for the next book.

Last year, my daughter Lisa introduced me at the launch of TurningSecrets. She spoke with such assurance and so movingly about the impact I'd had on her growing up and the pride she had in me, that I, in turn, was overwhelmed with pride in her. I mean, how many moms get to experience that? I liked it so much that I've asked my youngest daughter Julia to introduce me for the Closing Time launch :-)


This brings me to other moments of personal pride outside of writing. The top one would be watching my daughters create happy, successful lives and loving relationships. Giving them the self-confidence and tools to make their way in this world and to be strong and independent women is probably their dad's and my greatest achievement.

Lisa and Julia

Speaking of the next launch, Closing Time, book 7 in the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series, will be available at the end of March. The last in the series!


Twitter: brendaAchapman

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Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks for sharing some wonderful moments, Brenda. Here's to many more to come.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dietrich! Cheers to more wonderful moments for everyone.

Susan C Shea said...

That's a lot of memorable moments! I love Chris's happy comment. And 22 books is in itself pretty terrific. Congratulations!

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Susan! I bet we all have had a lot of happy writing moments :-)