A paradoxical blend of light and dark, Jailbird is a warm and humorous tale about the power of hope.
Neena Allen has led a tough life. Born on the reservation, raped and unjustly convicted of murdering her attacker, she survives prison - barely. When an opportunity presents itself, she doesn't hesitate to escape. Presumed dead, she stumbles into a sleepy Arkansas town where she finds refuge with a kind family and glimpses the chance for a real home, a place to belong. But leading a double life isn’t easy, especially when you fall in love with the town lawyer. To complicate matters further, a tenacious reporter gets too close to the truth and Neena finds herself on the run again. With a manhunt under way and her newfound happiness at risk, Neena must face the painful memories of her past or risk losing the future she dreams of.
Should she fight for her new life or give up those she loves to keep them safe?
I recently wrote a guest blog post talking about the fact that I had to watch my dreams come crashing down before I could see them realized. In it, I talked about how the reaction I received to my novel Jailbird forced me to reevaluate what I was willing to give up for my dreams. I chose to stick with the
stories in my heart, even if it meant giving up on my dream of being a published author.
About a year ago I was able to have both the stories and the dream, thanks to a publisher called Booktrope. That post got me to thinking about how surreal it is that I am actually living out my dreams real-time.
Still, for all the time I spent dreaming about being a published author, there were a few things I never
1) The readers. I could be biased, but I think I have the most amazing readers on the planet. Sure, it smarts a bit when someone reads one of my books and hates it (or me) and they aren’t gentle about sharing their opinions, but the majority of the people I’ve interacted with since becoming a writer are amazing and wonderful human beings. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would genuinely like my readers or for their outpouring of support and kindness.
2) The hours. In theory, I knew I’d spend a lot of time marketing. In theory. Even with an amazing book manager, there were times in those first few months after publication that I would be online 12+ hours a day. It’s settling down now, but it’s still a full-time job. Between answering reader mail, writing blog posts, responding to interviews, giving talks, and everything else my new career entails, there’s never a dull moment!
3) The wows. There’s no amount of daydreaming that can prepare you for the first time you see your novel sitting in the number one slot on Amazon or you find yourself collaborating on a book with one of your favorite authors. There’s something incredibly cool about reading a really good book and thinking “This person is my colleague.” Those are the wow moments.
There are days I get so busy living this new life that I forget how far I’ve come. Then there are others when I stop to pinch myself. Whatever the day, I’m glad I didn’t let someone else prescribe how my dream should look. My dreams and the stories I wanted to tell were so worth fighting for.
Heather was born and spent her early childhood in Florida, but now calls the beautiful state of Missouri home. Her greatest joy, aside from writing, is to hit the road with her three boys for adventures unknown. Heather is the author of Throwaway, Ties that Bind, Jailbird, Ring of Fire, Suddenly a Spy and Tumbleweed.
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