For as long as I can remember, I have been writing. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a notebook and pencil as my constant companions. For some years, I was able to pass it off as homework – until some savvy friends figured out that what I was doing was extracurricular. From that moment on, they tried to get me to show them my writing but in the beginning, it was a very private thing for me. It took some time before I felt comfortable enough to allow anyone to read the words I had written. But with time, I did grow comfortable with the idea, especially when my work was praised, and eventually, I entertained the idea of becoming published.
The path to publication has been a long, winding, and often broken road. In the beginning, I didn’t have the self-confidence needed for submitting to publishers and one rejection sent me back into the realm of writing just for my own pleasure. But in the back of my mind, the possibility of seeing my words in print still lingered. In time, I tried again, this time taking an unconventional route. I decided to test my ideas in the contest forum first. I thought this would be a great way to gain exposure and test reactions to gauge if I had what it took to be published. At the time, I had only one book that was suitable to submit – a little book called Nora’s Soul. This book idea had come to me one night in a pair of interconnected dreams and stayed with me over the course of some years and many ups and downs in my life. Still I wondered if it was good enough to publish – and if anyone would be interested in it if it was.
Enter Gather.com and their First Chapter contest. As I had hoped, this contest proved to be a grand testing ground for my story. The response was encouraging and I met a group of authors with whom I formed friendships and a mutual admiration society. Although none of us won the contest (some did come close), we gained the greater reward with our friendships and started a critique group to help each other stay the course on our road to publication. Well, somewhere along the way, the idea was tossed out that we should start our own publishing company so we could all be published and one of our members, the incredible Mike Simpson, took the idea and ran with it. Within months, he set up the company Second Wind Publishing, LLC and invited all of us to submit our stories to him. Just a few months after submitting Nora’s Soul to him, I had the privilege of seeing my first book in print.
Descended from the same bloodline that spawned the likes of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell, Margay Leah Justice was fated to be a writer herself from a young age. But even before she knew that there was a name for what she was doing, she knew one thing: She had a deep and unconditional love for the written word. A love that would challenge her in times of need, abandon her in times of distress, and rediscover her in times of hope. Through her writing, Margay has learned to cope with every curve ball life has thrown her, including the challenges of single parenting, the harsh realities of living in a shelter, coping with the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and the roller coaster ride of dealing with a child who suffers from bipolar disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. But along the way she has rediscovered the amazing power of words.
Margay currently lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, two cats, and a myriad of characters who vie for her attention and demand that their own stories be told.
You can visit her website at http://margayleahjustice.com.