By Lynda Bouchard
It is a weighty thing stepping into someone else’s story.
Especially an unfinished one. Yet, that’s exactly what happened when I opened the desk drawer. I knew everything was about to change the moment I saw the manuscript. Then I read it and stepped in.
Every author was someone else before they wrote the book that would change their lives. I was quite content on my side of the fence, as a literary publicist, but the unfinished manuscript that my late husband Yates Davis left behind changed all that! I never knew where writing it would lead me. I only knew that I wanted to honor Yates in completing his children’s story, The Witches Three Count on Me! This was a story he poured himself into. He wrote much of it during his final year and it was clear to me how healing the process of writing was for him. It speaks to the healing power of stories as medicine for the soul.
I felt a great responsibility to get this story right.
We talked about ‘the Halloween story’ a lot. He left handwritten notes in the margins of the manuscript that served as guideposts for me as I wrote the final draft. For example, there were notes about the little boy’s favorite color being red and how the boy should use his wits to outsmart the witches. It was heroic the way he continued to write and revise. He was fearless in his approach to life and to his craft. His unfinished manuscript was a precious parting gift. It made me an author.
I was giddy with the mere thought of writing this children’s book. After all, I’ve always been a writer. I wrote every day, in one form or another, as a publicist. This would be easy I thought. Then reality set in. If you think writing a children’s book is easy…well, think again. It’s been said that Faith’s twin is Doubt. It’s more like a distant cousin and a needy one at that. Doubt followed me as I began to revise the rhyming storyline. It stalked me as I made editorial, publishing, graphic and monetary decisions. But I found strength in my friendships with fellow authors who assured me it was normal. Thank you Cassandra King Conroy, Mary Alice Monroe, Angela May, and all the earthly angels who restored my faith.
This book is so full of meaning for me. The manuscript was like finding a love letter. It was also a life-line that pointed me forward. It had marinated in my mind for a long time. The pandemic re-focused me. It was time. I pushed ‘pause’ on my business and got busy. This book has changed my life. I never fully understood, until now, the inviolability of story ‘telling.’ Before this, I ‘caught’ stories. There is sacredness in the releasing of them.
My journey to publication was a wondrous labyrinth and like all great journeys, at the end you are not the same person you were at the beginning.
It’s never too late to re-write the story of your life.
Lynda Bouchard is a literary publicist, podcast host and accidental author. She’s the Founder of Booking Authors Ink, a boutique marketing firm dedicated to Southern authors. Lynda created a niche for herself in the publishing world by being the first literary publicist to focus on the Southern media market. She also hosts the Literary Latte podcast. https://www.BookingAuthorsInk.com
Upcoming Events with Lynda Bouchard
October 23 at 11am – Beaufort Bookstore, 2127 Boundary Street, Beaufort
Children’s Story Time – The Witches Three Count on Me! Interactive presentation, reading and book signing with Lynda Bouchard & illustrator Kody Kratzer. Costumes encouraged! Characters Welcomed.
October 23 at 2:30p-4pm –McIntosh Book Shoppe – 917 Bay Street, Beaufort
Book Signing/Meet & Greet with Lynda Bouchard and Kody Kratzer.