Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.” Victor Hugo

I have a new novel coming out this year. I say these words quietly because it seems so self-indulgent to say it any other way. In fact, I rarely say anything unless specifically asked. I have such hope for my novel, but faith alone will not be enough.

Like all artists, I’ve toiled away at this piece of work for years. The characters are as real to me as my neighbours and friends. I feel desperate when my characters make what I think are bad decisions. I hear myself shouting, please don’t do that. Yet, they persist in being their own masters. So I have no choice but to stand by them. I weep with them when they suffer the consequences of their decisions. And I cheer for them if they find their way out of their predicaments.

Long after the novel is complete and I’ve started a new project, my characters and their troubles and triumphs never leave me.

Despite their quirks and shortcomings (don’t we all have them?), my characters have kept me company and been as good to me as any friend or good book might be.

So you see, it is only fair that I get their story out to the world. Problem is: I’m an unknown. In polite company I would be called an emerging author. But the reality is I’m a newbie to this craft and that equates to unknown. If there were a rung lower than emerging, I’d be on it.

So how does someone like me get noticed? Good question.

I tell my friends and hopefully they tell their friends. That’s one way.  I blog. I talk about my novel to those who are interested. I continue to hope, keep fingers, toes and anything else I can think of crossed.

But, there is no better method to get the novel seen than through readings and other public appearances. And there is no more visible way to do this than at events similar to the one I organize in Whistler (read this as a shameless plug for the Whistler Writers Festival – October 15 – 18, 2015).

An author has a captive audience at festivals. Sure, folks have probably come to see the star billing, but if you, fledgling author, also happen to be on the same stage, the light shines on both of you and with some luck the audience discovers the newbie they’d never heard of. You get an audience and the novel you’ve put your entire being into finally finds a readership. Everyone wins.

Partnering emerging and established writers on the same stage has always been the vision of the Whistler Writers festival. This year is no exception. It’s this kind of support that gives a fledgling like me the confidence she needs to feel secure with her wings.

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