Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Guestopia: Meredith Towbin

Click here for more information about our monthly Guestopia feature! Today, we're proud to host Meredith Towbin.

Fright night, and day and night…
by Meredith Towbin

I’ve been stuck in an elevator, diagnosed with cancer (skin cancer, but still…), survived an accident in which my car flipped over on the highway, and birthed two kids. But none of these things were as terrifying as—wait for it—writing.

No joke. I was three seconds away from a nervous breakdown before I managed to get those first two sentences down.

Fear has tagged along on my writing journey from the very beginning.

First, there’s the blank page. Want to know pure terror? Stare at a stark white Microsoft Word document for long enough. That stupid cursor, so full of itself, each blink mocking me over and over. Every time I sit down to write something new, it’s the same. What if I can’t think of anything to write? Like, literally, ANYTHING? Or what if I can think of something and it’s so horrendous that it just proves I’m a total joke and I should just stop before I completely humiliate myself any further? Granted, I might get myself a little more worked up than the average person, but I dare you to find a writer who hasn’t felt this at SOME point in his or her career.

So by some miracle I write something. Maybe even a whole book. Now what? More paralyzing fear. Because if I ever want to get published, I actually have to show my writing to someone. What if whoever I show it to thinks it’s terrible? What if they think I’m a lunatic? What if they write a three-page email telling me point by point how absolutely dreadful it is? That last one actually happened. Yeah, I survived it, but I’m kind of emotionally scarred.

Yet somehow I force myself to put my book into the hands of a lucky few. They’ve come back with some honest and helpful criticism that doesn’t drive me off the deep end. I revise a bazillion times. Time to send my baby out into the world and try to get it published. But will literary agents ooh and aah over my cute little manuscript? Will they think everything about it is so freaking adorable, even all the gross stuff?

Umm, no, they will not. And they will tell me so. My fear of being rejected is realized! As in, it’s for real! I am being rejected! Dozens of times! A day!

But maybe, just maybe, there are a select few who don’t think I totally suck. They even think OTHER PEOPLE might not think I totally suck. Things happen, papers are signed, and before I know it I have an agent. Shortly, or not so shortly after, I get a book deal.

Success! I can kiss that crazy fear goodbye. I came, I saw, I conquered.

Except that now anyone on the planet can take a peek at my book with the click of a button. And with a second click, they can tell the rest of the world exactly what they think of my writing, for better or for worse.

I know what you’re thinking—this chick is going to blow her stack any second. But no, I’m not. And I’ll tell you why—if I’ve learned anything through this whole process, it’s that whether you freak out over every rejection (potential or actual) or not, what’s going to happen is going to happen. All you can do is put your best effort out there and be at peace with it.

So as I release my first book into the big, bad world, I’m going to try to remember that. Because a girl can stuff her feelings down with burritos for only so long before heartburn rears its ugly head.

Meredith Towbin grew up in Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in English from Wellesley College. She’s worked as a high school English teacher, a freelance writer, and a magazine editor. She writes whenever she has a free minute, usually when her kids are at school or after they’ve passed out for the night. The rest of her time is spent driving her kids around, cooking, driving her kids around, listening to indie rock, watching movies and swooning over Cary Grant, and driving her kids around. She blogs about ridiculous things that happen to her at www.meredithtowbin.com. STRAIGHTJACKET is her first novel.

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Eighteen-year-old Anna has lived her whole life in shame, losing herself in books to cope with crippling panic attacks triggered by her abusive parents. Forced into a psychiatric hospital, she can’t imagine a future that’s anything but bleak—until she meets Caleb, a gifted, 19-year-old artist who insists he’s an angel.

He swears his mission is to help Anna break free from her parents’ control and fulfill a destiny that she can only dream of. The doctors, however, are convinced that Caleb is delusional.

Anna doesn’t want to be that girl who’s in love with the crazy guy, but when she sees his stunning portraits of her and the way he risks everything to keep her safe, she can’t help but imagine a new future for both of them, filled with hope. But just when it seems they’ve created heaven on earth, Caleb’s past emerges full force, threatening to destroy their tiny, blissful world. And Anna has to decide if she should follow her heart, or if Caleb’s really as troubled as his doctors say…

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Print book available March 15, 2013


  1. Thanks for stopping by Meredith! I have nightmares about that stark white blank page!

  2. Oh my goodness, your book sounds ah-mazing and THAT COVER!! Definitely adding to my TBR list. Thanks for putting yourself out there- it's nice to know we're not alone in our neurosis and I always root harder for writers who are humble about the process versus the ones who claim their book deal fell from the heavens:) Great post!

  3. Can't wait to read this book . . . loveslit.blogspot.com

  4. I can't wait to read Straight Jacket!

  5. Can't wait to check out straight jacket

  6. Thanks for hosting me, Sarah! And thanks everyone for your kind words!

  7. What a great post on fear and perseverance! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I can't wait to read Straightjacket! :-)