Wednesday, August 26, 2009

From Finance to Fiction

Writing a novel is more difficult than being a New York City banker. I know this first hand. For seven years, I worked in the corporate finance area of one of the largest banks in New York. As a young woman from Alabama, I ended up in the fast paced lane near Wall Street. I loved it there, and I loved the man I met there. We got married and our first daughter was born at Mount Sinai Hospital during one of the hottest summers New York City ever had.

We moved our young family to the Chicago area. My plans were to return part time to the world of finance, but this option was not available. I did some consulting work for the bank where I worked, but after the many bank mergers and another new baby, the door closed. So what to do next?

People always say that you will end up doing what you loved to do in third grade. Miss Cook, my third grade teacher at Brookwood Forest Elementary School pulled me aside when I was nine years old and told me, “One day you will write books.” I loved to write. In high school, I was on the newspaper staff and was even voted Most Creative in Writing during my senior year. (On a side note, it’s the same high school that Courteney Cox and Natalie Holloway attended). In college I was the editor for the editorial section of the paper. But the lure of international business enticed me to earn a master’s degree in international business at The University of South Carolina. I learned Portuguese and did an internship in the treasury department at IBM Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Right after graduate school, I got a job in New York.

As an unemployed new mom in the Chicago suburbs, I applied for a free lance position at the local newspaper. Soon, I had my own neighborhood column. I heard about Write to Publish on a local radio station and attended my first writers’ conference. I met a wonderful acquisitions editor from Thomas Nelson and sold my first book – a gift book called A Mother’s Heart Knows. My entry into the publishing world officially began. In a separate blog, I will write about how I found my first literary agent. It was through a wrong phone number!

Five years ago, I discovered a passion to write a novel. It wasn’t an epiphany, just a subtle realization.

I was at a cooking class and thought that this would be the perfect setting for a novel. So it began….. And yes, five years later, I am still working on it (the cooking and the writing). It’s the most challenging yet invigorating endeavor I have ever undertaken. A love hate relationship. Conflict. All wonderful ingredients for a story and a blog. This blog will be like putting a meal in a slow cooker. I want to fill the posts with some bits of my life, encompassing finance, food, faith and of course fiction. Also, I want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts and recipes with me. Thank you, and let the journey begin!

Take-out Tidbits
1) For aspiring writers, sign up for a local writers’ conference. It’s a great way to dip your pen into the publishing world and meet with editors and learn more writing skills.

2) For aspiring cooks, remember to add fresh herbs to the pan last. If they’re added too soon, the herbs will lose flavor.

3) Collect your pennies that fall into the sofa cushions and under the car seats. Put the coins into a mason jar. Each month deposit it into a savings account for yourself or your kids. You’ll be amazed how quickly the account adds up!


  1. Margaret,

    I like this new blog. All the best on writing this novel. I've never met a more tireless worker and a more compassionate champion of people. Thanks for being a great friend. Its good to hear your story.

  2. Margaret, how fun to vicariously experience your journey into novel writing. I love the tips at the bottom of your post. I'm off to check for pennies in the sofa now...



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