Just over two weeks ago, I wrote the very last line of my first full length novel, Hitting for the Cycle. I actually wrote the last line not knowing it was the last line. I had planned to write one more paragraph, but when I glanced it over, I realized that anything beyond what I’d just finished typing would only serve to take away from the story at that point. I’m not going to lie, at the moment of realization, I stared at the screen for a while. To say I was a deer-in-the-headlights would be putting it mildly. More like catatonic on steroids. 415 pages and 120,000 words later, the feeling of euphoria was indescribable…which is pretty sad since a writer’s job is to describe things. The next thing I did was wake up my wife, Tara, with a loud shout of “Done!” (I should mention this was well after midnight, when I do my best writing). My sweet bride got up, gave me a big hug, said she was so proud of me, and went back to bed.
I spent the next week reading over the whole thing from beginning to end, something I’ve done countless times with other novels, but never when the words penned were my own. Kind of surreal. The book is now in the hands of some terrific beta readers who, themselves, range from writers to literary reviewers to peers. Feedback has slowly been trickling in and I’m looking forward to finding out what people enjoyed the most and what they felt could use some tweaking, rearranging, removing, or adding. For the time being, I’m just enjoying not staring at it every day.
Many of you have asked when exactly this book will be available to the masses and if I’ve found a publisher. The next step for me, however, will be to land literary representation, ie, an agent. When that happens, he or she will be in charge of helping me get the right publishing deal. So, right now, let’s just say I’m gathering some irons for the fire.
I can’t thank all of you enough who have told me, whether in person or over social media, how the premise of this story has impacted you, how much you’ve enjoyed the excerpts, and how much you’re looking forward to reading the full novel. Your kind words of encouragement are why I write at all and have provided me the extra push to keep going when I’ve felt like giving up. Believe me, you play a very instrumental part in all of this and I can’t wait to see this thing published and in your hands.
Since I began this project, a number of you have asked me about the nature of this story. Based on a ton of questions I’ve been getting lately, allow me a moment to bullet point a few things about what this book is and is not.
- This book is not an autobiography or a memoir. This is entirely a work of fiction. Ryan & Megan Linwood are not Alan & Tara Atchison. The best way to describe the Linwoods is they’re loosely based on us (though way cooler). They do, however, have a dog named Bailey, who’s pretty much a carbon copy of my own dog named Bailey (ah well, sue me).
- This book is categorized as “Inspired by a True Story.” This is often interpreted as “a blow-by-blow account of what really happened to the author.” It’s not. To put it a different way, two married couples could talk to each other about their wedding days, but the only common thread is that both couples got married. The details of their respective wedding days are going to be vastly different.
- This is not an “adoption” book. By far the most common question, thought, and opinion. At its core, this is a story about a couple’s roller coaster of a journey to become parents amidst the shackles of infertility struggles. Who knows if the Linwoods’ marriage can survive something like that when many have not? Who knows what path to parenthood they’ll even take? Who knows if they’ll even become parents at all?
- This is not a book just for female readers. Let’s be honest, when the subject matter concerns family planning, that’s sort of what people think. However, this story is told primarily through thirty-one-year-old Ryan’s point of view. Not only does Ryan want to be a dad, but he’s also a rabid baseball fan. And if you hadn’t noticed, the title is fairly baseballish (though I will concede it has a double meaning). This book is for both men and women who want to be captivated and taken away into a tumultuous, unpredictable, heartwarming story that will (hopefully) leave you laughing, crying, and maybe even reaching for the Tums from chapter to chapter. Which brings me to my final point…
- This book is freaking awesome. Next week I’ll work on humility.
So, that’s where things are at right now. And again, I take all your support and encouragement straight to the heart. If I may be so bold, you would be doing me a huge favor by forwarding this post (and this website in general) to your family, friends, enemies, and any other carbon-based lifeforms you think may be interested. Perhaps you yourself have gone through crippling struggles with infertility. Perhaps you know others who are in it, or have been through it, who might be interested in a novel like this. Perhaps you know others who are simply interested in a good story. This is the part where I ask you, in not-so-subtle fashion, to help me generate buzz as I work hard to get this labor of love off the ground and into your bookshelves and Kindles!
The writing of my first novel is done but hopefully the end is just the beginning.