The first time I ever blurted out the words “I want to write a novel” I was home for spring break my freshman year in college. I was telling my dad how I loved that a great book was like a roller coaster with its ups and downs, twists and turns. And then I blurted it out: I want to write a novel.
That day, my dad made me a deal: he’d pay me what I would have made working as a bank teller that summer, if I spent the summer writing that novel and treated it like a job.
It was a no brainer. (I was a horrible bank teller!) So I started my research, gathered my notes and that summer I set to work.
Two days in, I thought, “Wow, this is really hard!” I had no clue what I was doing. But I wrote through it, powered by a dream of seeing my books on a shelf one day, of afternoons spent on the phone with my agent or editor.
The dream didn’t go much further than that at the time. Neither did that manuscript, which rests in a crate somewhere in my basement like a skeleton.
Today, 30 years later as I finish my 12th to-be-published novel, the dream is different. I still want to build roller coasters, but the reason has changed. Because I’ve lost track of the readers who have told me, sometimes through tears, how important novels have been during trying times in their lives: during a difficult marriage, while caring for a sick parent, in the midst of illness, recovery, or psychological challenges. When they couldn’t work, felt alone, or otherwise simply needed to escape an hour at a time.
That was me, once, struggling through my first marriage. Dealing with OCD and anxiety. Needing to slip into someone else’s skin, if only for a while.
Today I don’t consider myself a novelist so much as a purveyor of healthy escapes. It’s a job I am humbly thankful to every reader for, every single day. Because I do it with the belief that we read—and write—not just to set real life aside for a time, make sense of the world, or to have fun (a pursuit I take seriously) but to know, ultimately, that we are not alone.
You may not know me, you may not have read my books. But I’m thinking of you today, as I work at my desk. And I am grateful.
A glimpse of post-pandemic U.S. in a thriller that blends headlines and science, A Single Light releases September 17, and is currently in development for TV
Fall 2019 Appearances
Sunday August 25th: Blair Public Library, NE
Saturday September 7th: Nebraska Book Festival, Lincoln NE
Thursday September 19th: Schuyler Public Library, NE
Sunday September 22nd: Seward Public Library, NE
Tuesday September 24th: Norfolk Public Library, NE
October 4th – 6th: South Dakota Festival of Books, Deadwood, SD
Saturday October 12th: Hastings Public Library, NE
Thursday October 17th: Neligh Public Library, NE
Sunday November 10th: Bennett Martin Public Library, Lincoln, NE
Monday November 18th: Kearney Public Library, Kearney, NE
Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of a dozen books including The Line Between, The Progeny, The Legend of Sheba, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker. A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games and football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.