With the release of my fifth book Sugar’s Night, the third in the Sugar Series, I guess some would say I’m an author. I guess I’ve never considered myself an author as much as I’ve considered myself a writer. The funny part is I never had any intention to become either. I’ve always liked to write, but never to the point that I felt an uncontrollable urge to get these characters out of my head into the pages of a book. But in the winter of 2011, after I underwent the amputation of my left leg, it was like they were set free. Now, I’m not claiming that the anesthesia went to my brain and when I awoke I was a literary genius. It’s more that with the loss of my leg, it freed the rest of me. It freed me to leave that part of my past behind and look forward to a new future. With that future came a lot of souls vying for release. I suddenly become obsessed, and I do mean obsessed just ask my family, with getting them out of my head and onto the pages. I needed to tell their story and, to be honest, after that I really didn’t have a clue what I’d do with them, but I needed to write them down.
The first soul who found her way onto the page was Sugar DuBois. She’s a ballroom dance instructor from the Twin Ports of Lake Superior and her story started in 2011. To say writing Sugar’s Dance was cathartic would be very accurate, and I felt very satisfied when I hit publish on her story in fall of 2011, at least for a few days. Then I started to feel like maybe her story wasn’t done, so I wrote the next part of her journey, Sugar’s Song, and when I hit publish on that I knew there was one more to be written. She hadn’t found her light yet, and I knew her story wasn’t told until she did. So, I sat down to write Sugar’s Night. Sugar’s Night was filled with a lot of turmoil for me; partly because my life was very much in turmoil as I tried to write it and partly because it was the last book of the series. I needed to tell her story, and I needed to do her justice and make everyone feel satisfied with her final dance. I couldn’t do it. What I had imagined the book to be is a far cry from what it actually is. When I finished the book I set it aside and really pondered if I would even publish it as it stood. I was very much in a no faith stage. No faith in myself, no faith in the reader and no faith in Sugar. I sent the book out to a couple of trusted readers and held my breath, for days, while I waited to hear what I knew they would say, they hated it. When the e-mails started coming in it was very much the opposite and although they gave me some great tips and ways to make the story stronger, as a whole they all agreed it was perfect. Perfect except for one thing, the ending. Oh boy, the ending, the grand finale, the clincher at the end of the series! And they didn’t like it? Well, no, that wasn’t actually the case at all. They loved it, they just didn’t like that it ended. So, I pondered and prayed and found the solution that I think will make all the readers happy in the long run.
So as I ponder the “Noah didn’t see the rain either” moments with Sugar’s Night I understand deeply that she’s taught me a lot about being a writer, but I’m still not that good of an author. I guess mostly because if I have to choose between promoting my books and writing, the souls that want out always win and I continue to be the writer. Maybe someday I will be a better author than a writer, but I hope not, because when and if that happens then it’s time to hang up my pen because for me it’s always about writing first and publishing second. Sugar has also taught me a lot about myself, my life, my dreams and my fears and I will always be thankful for that.
Here are the top ten things Sugar has taught me:
- Don’t live in the past. It’s a dark place filled with things you can’t change that only bog you down.
- Don’t blame yourself for things you can’t control. There is never anything good at the end of that road.
- Take time to tell the people you love how much they mean to you. Never assume there will be a tomorrow.
- Forget about what you THINK you should be doing and do what you KNOW you should be doing, personally and professionally.
- Build a support system of friends and family who will always be there whether you are laughing or crying.
- Never assume that because you are handicapped you can’t live your dreams. They are YOUR dreams and therefore YOU know how to achieve them. Don’t let the words “I can’t” become your motto.
- A good legman is worth his weight in gold.
- Always, always, always have faith in yourself. You are who you are for a reason, embrace it.
- Have hope, all day every day.
- Love often, forgive easily, cry together, and keep your heart open to all the new opportunities that await you.
Blessings this holiday season from me, Sugar and her gang. And now these three remain; faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is…..to be continued.
Katie Mettner grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and moved to the Northwoods where she now resides with her husband and three children. As a young adult Katie enjoyed ballroom dancing and like Sugar she didn’t let her physical limitations hold her back from what she loved. Katie writes The Sugar Series, Sugar’s Dance and Sugar’s Song, a Christian romance series. Her stories are a reflection of her love for family intricately woven with life experience. When the gales of November blow early you can find her at the computer with a cup of joe, listening to Michael Bublé and working on Sugar’s next adventure.