Shannon here: It’s my turn. This week I’m celebrating the release of White Doves to Amazon and stores. Comment on any post dated April 11 – 15 for a chance to win a copy of White Doves or White Pearls. Two drawings, two winners. Deadline: April 16, midnight central time.
Back when I first dreamed of being a writer, I thought getting one book published would make me rich. My husband was driving an old truck and it needed to go in the shop. We were trying to decide whether it was feasible to get it fixed or buy a new—old truck. I told him that when I got my fourth book published, I’d buy him a brand new truck and pay for it in cash.
For sixteen and a half years of our marriage, we had two incomes. With the birth of our son, I became a stay-at-home mom. By this time, my husband had a pretty nice truck. He sold it and bought another old clunker truck, so we’d have one less payment to worry about. Since then, our income has gone up and down. Mostly down. I had no income except a few writing contest wins and short story publications. Not even enough to report to Uncle Sam.
He drove the old clunker truck for a few years, but after we got a few other things paid off, we bought him a better used truck. But then, my bi-vocational pastor/husband changed churches a couple of times. We were in between churches for six months and when we started a new church five years ago, his income really went down. Then to top things off, last year the dental lab—his job that we’ve always depended on—automated, cutting his hours and income in two.
Every time, we struggled, I offered to go back to work, but he wanted me to be home with our son. Even after he started school, hubby wanted me to be home during the summer and in case our son was sick during the school year.
Last year, after I finally got a book contract, I had a bit of income trickling in and had learned that it takes years of book releases to even earn a living at writing. Advances are supposed to go for research and promotion. Mine went to keep us afloat. But it wasn’t enough. He decided to sell his truck again. It was worse this time because this truck was sentimentally tied to memories of his father who passed away in 2008. I begged him not to sell it, but he did. He bought an old Oldsmobile and people he worked with teased him about driving his grandmother’s car.
Through all these years, he has supported my writing. During the up times when we could afford it, he encouraged me to attend conferences. He’s taken me to conferences in Little Rock, Nashville, Dallas, Iowa, and Missouri. Since I signed my contract, he’s driven me to Eureka Springs, Scott, Batesville, Blytheville, and Memphis for speaking engagements and book signings. He spent this past spring break driving me to Fort Worth for research.
At the end of last year, things turned around again. Our church had tripled in membership, so they gave hubby a nice raise. Shortly afterward, the lab downsized his department. They moved his co worker to the automated department. Hours and income doubled for both of them.
In February, I signed my fourth contract for the first in a Texas rodeo series, hence the trip to Fort Worth. I’m far from buying a truck and paying in cash, but I did use part of my advance to make the down payment on hubby a nice ride. No, it’s not new. It’s a 2003 and has a lot of miles on it. But he’s happy in his big blue truck. And I’m even happier. I could never repay him for the love, commitment, and support he’s given me. This small gesture was the least I could do.
About Shannon: Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. Her three book series is set in Romance and Rose Bud, AR and published by Heartsong Presents, a division of Barbour Publishing. Each book releases to a ten thousand member book club and then to stores six months later.
The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards named her #3 Favorite New Author, White Roses #1 Favorite Contemporary and White Doves #8 Favorite Contemporary. The Arkansas Democrat Three Rivers Edition voted Vannatter one of 20 to Watch in 2011.
Come back April 13th for insight into the hero and heroine from White Doves.