If you’ve turned 40 and had that “what do I want to be when I grow up?” panic attack, then you’ll relate to why I wrote the book. If you haven’t turned 40 yet, this is what you have to look forward to if you don’t pursue your dreams.
I had an Oprah “aha” moment one day in the summer of 2008. I was coming up on my fortieth birthday, feeling like I’d reached some level of success in my life, but I wasn’t really fulfilled. I kept trying new ventures that always seemed to fail.
As I got to thinking about what I wanted to be when I grow up, I was flipping through an edition of the “O” magazine and watching her show when it just hit me that I wasn’t living my best life. I’d always wanted to be a writer. I’d been writing in my diaries and journals since I was maybe seven or eight years old. Although I have two degrees, I’d always let the fact that i didn’t have a degree in English or any fiction writing experience keep me from starting. But with the fortieth birthday looming, D-Day had arrived. I pushed those negative thoughts out of my head and decided to honor this gift God gave me and write a book about a woman who took stock of her life and decided to make a major change. I wrote the book in four months and edited for or five months.
Of course, I wanted what every author wants, you know. I wanted a six-figure multi-book deal. I wanted to be on Oprah and to make my rounds on the morning show circuit. I wanted to blow kisses to my beloved fans. All that stuff. But let me tell you, the publishing industry is nothing if not a sharp dose of stark reality for most authors.
After querying my book to literary agents all over the country and getting rejection after rejection after rejection, doubting myself and my writing ability, listening to people tell me, “You need to put this book in a drawer and start the next one,” I had a come-to-Jesus moment and I had to decide who was I writing for. Was I writing for the publishing industry? Was I writing for other authors? Or was I writing because I loved writing and had a story to share?
I realized I was writing because I love writing and telling stories and making people laugh. I do feel that was God’s plan for me. So, darn the book deal. I decided to publish my book myself. And if ONE reader’s day was brightened or if they were moved by this story, that would mean I was fulfilling my purpose and God’s purpose for my writing, and that has been my focus ever since. Acclaim is nothing without readers. Acclaim for me is getting that note on Facebook or Twitter saying, “I loved this story” or “Your book helped me realize that I’m a bum magnet” or “I was laughing so much my family thought I was crazy.” That’s acclaim. And I’m gonna have the same measure of success whether I sell one book or one million—my only goal is to touch a reader’s life in some positive way.
And it’s funny that in a way that ONLY God can do, my decision to write for the love of writing and honor my gift from Him is what helped my book deal find me.
The story came to me in an epiphany as I was reading a self-help article about dieting. And I laughed to myself because I thought, “How many of these dang articles have I read?” They give you 12 steps, and the first I do in my mind is negotiate. “Well, I don’t have to walk two miles a day, maybe just two blocks” or “I can eat vegetables three times a day, but I’m going to eat them with fried chicken.” Yet, I still expect to lose 112 pounds.
So, I thought I’d write a story about a woman who attracts more players and goes through more break-ups than the law should allow. She knows it’s a pattern in her life that she needs to stop so when she happens upon this self-help article about emotional baggage and toxic men, it hits her like a lightning bolt. And she goes through these same “negotiating” motions with the article, except it’s not a food diet, it’s a man diet. And just like a dieter that drives past the McDonald’s and stops for “one little Big Mac” and knows full well she should’ve gone home and eaten a carrot stick, so Charisse, the main character, stops for a big “something else.” And that is how the Bum Magnet came to be.
K. L. Brady is a D.C. native but spent a number of her formative years in the Ohio Valley. She’s an alumnus of the University of the District of Columbia and University of Maryland University College, earning a B.A. in Economics and M.B.A., respectively. She works as an analyst for a major government contracting firm and is an active real estate agent with Exit Realty by day—and writes by night (often into the wee hours of the morning). She lives just outside of D.C. in Cheltenham, Maryland, with her son and lives to eat chocolate, shop, read, and write.
Her upcoming adult novel, THE BUM MAGNET, will be published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books in March 2011. THE BUM MAGNET was the winner of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Multicultural Fiction, as well as the Third Place Grand Prize Winner for Best Fiction of 2010. Moreover, the African Americans on the Move Book Club recently named her their 2011 Female Author of the Year. You can visit K.L. Brady’s website at www.authorklbrady.com.