Marcy Campbell
A Brief History
I've read many author bios where the author describes her or his childhood home filled with books, the English professor (or novelist) parents, the encouragement from family and family friends (artists, all), the illustrious MFA professors who introduced them to an agent, and so on.  This is not my life.

My parents held multiple jobs such that there wasn't much time for reading besides a scan of the daily paper.  And if there was extra time at nights, it was spent watching TV.  Reading just wasn't something my family did.  I remember asking for books for Christmas and birthdays but don't remember getting them. (Cue violins here.)  Strangely, my parents did purchase a costly set of encyclopedias, back when they were still bound in leather.  I spent many a rainy afternoon reading them.  And I checked out as many books as I could from my school's library and borrowed books from friends.

Yet, I had an irresistible urge to write, which I expressed in stories about my classmates and later, in high school, in very bad rhyming
couplets about the boys I liked (one of those boys became my husband, though I won't credit the poetry with that outcome).  It wasn't until I was nearly out of college (with a mass communication degree) that I stumbled upon a fiction writing course and felt the clouds part and the angels, and perhaps Flannery O'Connor's ghost, descend to inform me I'd found my life's calling.  Sadly, it took me years to really listen.  

I had a brief, and often enjoyable, though ultimately unfulfilling, career in public relations and marketing where I promoted entities ranging from watershed districts to robot manufacturers, all while penning short stories on my lunch hour.  I eventually decided to focus my life around the work that I'm most passionate about, and I entered grad school, which gave me the community of writers I'd been looking for and the assurance that such aspirations as mine were entirely legitimate.  

I floundered around writing short stories and learning the craft, publishing in
literary journals and teaching some college courses along the way, until I "took a year off" (if one can do that while pregnant and caring for a toddler) to write the novel I'd been kicking around in my head. Then, I rewrote it, rewrote it, rewrote it. Then I put it in the proverbial "drawer." By the time I started my next novel, I had discovered this strange beast called an "outline" (alas, grad school taught me characterization, setting, dialogue, etc., but not plot). Armed with a whole new outlook on novel writing, I completed "Happy, Indiana" and am now hoping to find a home for it. I also tried my hand at picture book writing recently and am thrilled to report that my debut picture book, "Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse," got me an agent and a sale to Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers!

Over the years, I've told students who confess a deep urge to be writers, to try to do something else first.  Writing is difficult work, emotionally if not physically (though the knots in my shoulders beg to differ). Few people will understand why you do it.
It's difficult to get published. The competition is astounding and growing by the minute. You will probably not be paid much, or at all. But if you simply cannot stop writing, if it is for you, as it is for me, as necessary to your life as air and water, then go ahead, not that anyone could stop you.


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