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J.D. Salinger averaged 20 words a day to finish his 73,000-word classic The Catcher in the Rye over a 10-year span. My novel took six years to get from a legal pad into a binding.

Much of that time was spent sitting alone in front of my computer. On good days, I wondered how a book could be so easy to write. On other days, I struggled – week by agonizing week – wondering if it was worth the fight. Every book has its journey, which may take a month, a year, or even a lifetime.

Probably because they spend so much time alone, authors value recognition from their peers. At the Florida Authors and Publishers Association 2017 President’s Book Awards ceremony, the goodwill was palpable. Winners had been notified that we were finalists in the competition, so when the bronze medal in the Young Adult category was announced, I prepared to stand. I did the same when the silver medal was announced. That’s when I began to fear I’d been notified in error. (I didn’t even hear my name called as the gold medal was announced.) Fortunately, I DID see a six-foot picture of my book cover flash on stage, so I stood and walked toward it.

Turns out that E. B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web, was quite right when he said, “It is deeply satisfying to win a prize in front of a lot of people.”