‘Playing Along’ is my first novel and this is the story of how it came to be.
As founder and creator of Write To Be You I want to set an example to all my readers who have dreamt of writing a book but never imagined it was possible. I used to be one of those dreamers… sheltering my writing dreams like they were fragile eggs that might crack and break if I showed them to the world too early. But words have a life force all of their own and if they are repressed for too long, they begin to rebel. My words were longing to be set free but I lacked the confidence to release them.
People around me who loved and cared about me noticed this internal struggle. Some friends sat me down one night and told me that I had a gift, and that I was doing myself and others a disservice by not sharing it. I looked at them oddly.
What on earth where they talking about?!
My sister, who knows me better than most, eventually lured me into the trap that paradoxically set me free.
She told me a really funny story.
She’d been to a Keane concert and while, Tom Chaplin, the lead singer was on stage singing, she was convinced that he had made eye contact and sang an entire song just to her. When she left the concert, her friend, full of enthusiasm, shared the exact same improbable admission. As we laughed about outdated fantasies still lingering – fantasies of the lead singers of bands that had fuelled our teenage longings, my sister pleaded with me to write a book based on that premise.
“For me,” she said. “Do it for me…”
So I did.
It was Christmas day in LA . I’ll never forget brainstorming band names and book titles. George and Lexi were born on my email account. I flew back to London a week later and I emailed my sister installments in LA for 18 months. Every time I did my sister wrote back “OMG!!! I LOOOVE IT!” (there’s nothing like unbridled praise to keep things moving) and before I knew it, I had stopped writing the book only for her.
I began to write it for me as well.
Two years later when the book was complete (I wrote it while I was also practicing as psychotherapist) I became caught in a flurry of enthusiasm from agents, who believed in me and the novel and thought it would be an easy sell. It wasn’t. My submission came hand in hand with headlines announcing the death of women’s fiction (sensationalist articles screaming ‘Chick Lit is DEAD!’) One week after being wooed by a top London publisher, ‘Playing Along’ was no longer flying. It was sinking. Quickly.
I received rejection after rejection in quick succession, many of them applauding my characters and my writing style but blaming the damp ‘publishing climate’. And they were right – it was cold. I felt dejected and aggravated. I kicked myself for ever having dreamt of publication to begin with.
A few months later I wrote a ‘letter’ to my friends – to tell them my story and fend of the endless enquiries “So…. what’s going on with the book??” This letter spread. And as it spread I started to get replies from friends and family thanking me for my honesty, commending my vulnerability, appreciating my openness. It was a combination of the rejection and the response to my words that led me to create Write To Be You.
I had become disillusioned with the promise of the product and six years of training to be a psychotherapist had taught me the value of relishing the process. So I began to create a community which embraced the process, the story as it unfolds, the rawness of words, the braveness of people willing to write from their hearts and share their findings.
This summer, buoyed by the courage of my workshop participants and my blog followers, I decided to self publish ‘Playing Along’. I’m no longer looking for ‘approval’ from the ‘powers that be’ – I’m just honouring the life force that my words have always had.
I’m giving ‘Playing Along’ back the wings it lost. I hope that you help me encourage it to fly!
So there you have it. The story of my story.
If you want to chat about ‘Playing Along’ – the book has a dedicated FB page – click HERE
I’ve also been very grateful for some glorious reviews, such as:
“Playing Along is simply delightful. The novel marvelously intertwines all the tugs of the heart, imaginative visions of the future, and true-to-life self-destructive thoughts that keep our belief in dreams coming true, frustratingly at bay. Exactly as others have written below, Playing Along makes one believe in love at first sight again – at trusting your instincts even though they may seem crazy. In this pragmatic, overly recorded and captured world we live in, there is no way to truly capture that moment when two people connect and Rory Samantha Green does it with grace, humor, realness, respect and love…” A. Gargaro, Amazon