I met Kim Liggett
when the Muses were guests at Free Expressions’ YOUR BEST BOOK Conference (information
about next year’s conference here) last October. So much has happened with Kim since then! She signed with Adam’s Literary, sold her first YA
novel (see announcement below), and now she is writing her very first blog post
here at YAMuses. I know her story will inspire and encourage.
Defining Success and Setting Yourself on Fire
By Kim Liggett
No one thought I could ever write a book. Including me.
I was a terrible student, plagued with dyslexia and ADHD. Luckily, I had other skills. I sang and danced and beauty pageanted my way into a scholarship at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. With all the wisdom of a teenaged girl, I left ninth grade, got my GED, became an emancipated minor and moved to NYC. As I drove out of my small mid-western town, I gave everyone the finger and screamed something like, “I’m going to be a movie star, you losers.”
Super classy, I know.
I worked as an actress for many years. I was an especially good understudy, and rose to non-fame as girls #3 and #5 in several Afterschool Specials, and who could forget my famous jumping scene in the acclaimed Shasta Cola commercial?
Fine…I could still sing.
I worked as a backup vocalist for a lot of big acts in the eighties and released a full-length jazz record, which we fondly refer to as the local release that was internationally panned.
Even though I had a wealth of experiences, what others would consider “successes”, I felt empty inside, a total failure. I had big dreams, natural talent, but lacked the true passion—the steam to see them through.
I kept going back to that Arnold H. Glasgow quote, “Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.” Somehow, I sparked, sizzled, had a flash in the pan, but I never felt the need to break out the kerosene.
Until I started writing.
It wasn’t easy for me. I had to give myself a crash course in basic grammar, the fundamentals of writing, and most importantly, I had to learn how to work with my dyslexia.
Soon I started to dream again, to hope.
I finished my first draft of BLOOD AND SALT. Rejection letters followed. Instead of treating this as yet another failure, I realized that the conventional idea of success didn’t matter to me anymore. The glory was in the work. I dug into my nearly yearlong revision with a passion I’d never experienced. I felt free.
Finding my amazing agent, Josh Adams, and getting a two-book deal with Putnam/Penguin was just an added bonus, to say the least.
Before you start thinking how mature I sound, I should probably let you know that I fashioned the small mid-western town in BLOOD AND SALT after the town where I grew up—full of inbred cultish freaks. Yeah, that’s me giving them the finger one last time. “I’m an author!”
Keeping it classy, I know