Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Soul Mate author Monica Knightley sharing a three-act play, complete with prologue.
Had you asked twelve-year-old Monica what she wanted to be when she grew up you would likely have heard, “a teacher, a writer, and a mom.” Depending on the day, you may have also heard, “an anthropologist, a paleontologist, and a person who teaches chimpanzees to speak with sign language.” Actually, I was pretty high on the chimpanzee sign language option. But even then, I knew in my heart of hearts, that what I wanted more than anything else was to be a mother, a teacher, and a writer.
While I know this is a SECOND act series, my story must be told in three acts. And a prologue.
The prologue is that twelve-year-old Monica. That was the year I spent hours writing long gothic romances on that cheap newsprint style paper the schools used in those days. I even would check out the Writer’s Market from the library and look up all the journals and magazines that published short stories. Some would pay as much as five cents a word! Of course, I never sent anything out. But a passion had been born.
Fast-forward seven years, and I was a young bride, beginning my first act. Married at nineteen, and the mother of two by twenty-four, I was blissfully happy as a stay-at-home mom who played with my sons, baked bread, taught my sons to read, and dreamt of the day I would return to school and finish my Elementary Education degree. Oh, and write the Great American Novel. When the youngest entered school, I did too, returning to college to earn that degree. While juggling the responsibilities of a mom, I managed to graduate at the top of my class—Maxima Cum Laude. I was now ready for my second act.
That second act lasted nearly two decades, as I taught kindergarten and second grade. Teaching is one of the most fulfilling professions, and also one of the most exhausting. But I loved it. When I started teaching my plan had been to write during the summers. Ha. Ha. First, a teacher’s summer isn’t three months long, it is actually about six weeks. Just enough time to rest up a little for the next year, and spend some time with family. I never seemed to find the time for that writing—until about two years before I ended my second act.
One morning, three years ago, I woke up and realized I wasn’t getting any younger, and yet there was one lifelong goal I had not attained. For years an idea for a novel had been percolating in my mind, but I’d done nothing to make it a reality. With the dawning realization that publication is a slow road, (and, I really wasn’t getting any younger!) I decided it was time to get moving, despite the long hours I was still spending as a teacher. However, this novel required a lot of research, as it was to be set during the American Civil War. But I wanted to practice the craft of writing! So while doing research, I started working on a fun practice novel, one about a vampire with a Jane Austen twist, set in England. All of my favorite things! That practice novel, The Vampire’s Passion, was published by Soul Mate Publishing on April 9th of this year.
I am now fully in my third act, and enjoying every minute of it. A year ago this month, I ended my full time teaching career—I occasionally substitute teach. I just became a grandmother, and I have too many Works In Progress in my writing folder. Among them, a prequel to The Vampire’s Passion is being polished, and a Young Adult novel is almost ready for submission.
As we go through the various acts of our lives, I firmly believe we can never give into fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. We must simply go out there and give it our best try. These words from J. K. Rowling to the 2008 Harvard graduating class always inspire me: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
I’m living the life I dreamed of. Today, I can look into twelve-year-old Monica’s eyes, and tell her, “Yes, you will be a mom, a teacher, and a writer.”
The enigmatic, ethereally handsome, aristocratic Gabriel Augustine, professor of Nineteenth Century English Literature at St. Giles College in Oxford, England, is a man with many secrets. And it is not his vampiric nature that is his most deeply held secret. Though few know he is vampire, not human, none know the horror that has haunted him throughout his long existence. He has spent centuries attempting to atone for his greatest sin.
Claire Seymour needs to forget her past. She is ready to embark on any journey that will move her away from the pain that has been her constant companion since discovering her fiancé with her best friend. Four weeks at the University of Oxford in a class on her favorite author, Jane Austen, seems like a good place to start.
Neither is prepared for the other.
Where to find Monica
Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey. I’m certain many readers will be uplifted by this post and consider moving their “someday” dreams to the front burner. BTW…The Vampire’s Passion sounds delicious!