A Thrilling and Glamorous Day in the Life of an Author
…try not to be jealous
I don’t know how J.K. Rowling spends her days, but I have to assume her schedule is a bit different from mine. I spend my days more like most of the authors whose books you see in the stores and on the library bookshelves and online…in a frenzy of work and household responsibilities that leaves little time for things like exercise, eating, and on the really hectic days, getting a shower.
A typical day for me starts at 5:30 a.m., when I get up and make breakfast for my husband. He eats it in the car on his way to work. Three days a week I also make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which he takes with him for lunch. Then it’s time to get my three kids off to school. During those 110 minutes, you’ll hear things like, “I told you a thousand times to get up!” “I’m exhausted too, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to lay in bed all day.” “You’re going to be late.” “What do you want for breakfast?” “Potato chips don’t count as breakfast food.” “Don’t forget your gym clothes.” “Have you brushed your teeth?” “Mints are not a substitute for brushing your teeth.”
By the time all three of them are out the door, I feel like I’ve been awake for six months. But that’s when my day really starts- I have breakfast, walk the dog if it’s not terrible outside, start the laundry, and clean up the kitchen. Finally, I’m able to sit down at my computer and begin working. Please note, I am usually wearing a bathrobe or the same thing I wore the previous day. Saves money on clothes.
My morning is spent answering emails, doing my work as the VP for Membership for a non-profit organization called Women Who Write, and promoting on social media. The social media management takes quite a while, as I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram, as well as Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub author pages. In addition to these, I have a website and a blog. I post on the blog once a week (on Tuesdays) and I update my website as needed.
This time of year, when I’m heavily promoting my upcoming release, House of the Hanging Jade, I also spend part of each day writing guest posts and providing interview responses to bloggers who are hosting me both independently and on two blog tours. And finally, I try to find at least one new place every day where I can submit a guest blog or request an interview.
I try to get away from work for a few minutes while I eat lunch. I usually read a book or a cooking magazine while I scarf down leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.
After lunch it’s time to work on whatever book I’m writing at the time. Currently, I’m working on the first book in a series set in the United Kingdom. I’ve finished the first draft and the first round of revisions, and this afternoon I’ll begin work on Round Two (alas, not Book Two).
I work until it’s time to make dinner. We eat dinner pretty late at my house, so I don’t start cooking until at least six o’clock. Usually closer to seven, unless there’s somewhere I have to be that evening, then we eat earlier and reheat the food as people trickle in for dinner later on.
After dinner I try to work again, but that doesn’t always happen.
So here are the things I didn’t include, many of which happen on a daily/weekly basis:
- Folding and putting away laundry
- Helping kids with homework
- Grocery shopping
- Car service appointments
- Doctor appointments
- Exercise- I’m partial to spinning
- Chauffeuring kids- everywhere. All the time.
- Choir practice
- Bell choir practice
- Boy Scout meetings
- Other meetings
- School functions
- High school crew functions and races
- General errands and chores (“Mom, I need a shirt for crew.” “Mom, I need new sneakers.” “Mom, can you pick up index cards for me?” “Mom, I need a haircut.” “Mom, I promised my teacher I’d send in a pie. Tomorrow.” “Mom, don’t forget I need a ride home after school today.” “Can you iron for me?” “I just tripped over a dust bunny.” “We need gas for the lawn mower.” “I don’t know how to clean the fish tank. Can you help?” “We need a birthday gift for Joe Schmoe.” And so on. And on.)
- Reading- this is what I do before I slam my eyes shut for the night. Sometimes I’m actually able to read more than a couple pages before I nod off.
It’s a miracle I get any writing done, but I wouldn’t change the ordinariness of my life for anything. And as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think I’m that different from many other writers or many other moms, for that matter. And I’m so lucky that I get to spend my working time doing something I love so very much- writing. I hope you’ll check out House of the Hanging Jade and let me know what you think of it at one of the places below:
HOUSE OF THE HANGING JADE
family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade–an idyll that quickly fades as it
becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it’s the unexpected appearance of her
ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life . . .
I knew I should have stayed home.
I bent my head as the wind whipped down Massachusetts Avenue, hurling snowflakes at my face, stinging my cheeks with hard, frosty pellets. The icy sidewalks were treacherous, making my walk to work precarious and slow. There were very few others brave or foolish enough to be out in this weather. I passed one man out walking his dog and silently praised him for being so devoted.
I finally arrived at the restaurant. I stamped on the snow that had piled up against the front door and slipped my key into the lock with fingers stiff and clumsy from the cold. Once inside, it only took me a second to realize that no one else was there. On a normal day, one without a blizzard, my assistant Nunzio would already have come in through the back and flipped on the kitchen lights before I arrived. I groaned. Even Nunzio, whom I could always count on, had stayed home. I moved through the darkened dining room and turned on the lights in the kitchen. As they blinked to life, I heard a heavy knock at the front door.
Hurrying to open it, I recognized the face of Geoffrey, the restaurant’s owner and my current boyfriend, bundled up in a thick scarf and hat.
“Kailani, what are you doing here?” he exclaimed, brushing snow off his boots in the vestibule.
“Someone has to be here to get things started,” I answered testily. “I don’t think we can open today,” Geoffrey said. “There’s no way the delivery trucks can get through, and I don’t think we’d have any customers even if they could.”
“You mean I came all this way for nothing?” I whined. Geoffrey smiled down at me. “Sorry. I just assumed you’d know not to come in on a day like this.”
“Why did you come in, then?”
“To catch up on paperwork. Plus, snowstorms don’t bother me.” “Ugh. They bother me. Well, I guess if you don’t need me here, I’ll head back home.”
“Want me to stop by later?”
I didn’t, but I nodded. Geoffrey and I hadn’t been dating for long. He was already becoming a little too clingy.
He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. “Be safe getting home. I’d call you a cab, but there isn’t a single one on the streets.” “Believe me, I know.”
I trudged home the same way I had come, the snow falling even harder now and blowing sideways, making it difficult for me to see. When I finally made it to my apartment building, I clumped up the stairs in my heavy boots and stood inside my apartment, leaning against the door for several moments to catch my breath. It took me a while to peel off all my layers. I left them lying on the floor while I heated up milk on the stove for hot chocolate. As the milk warmed, I gazed at a canvas photo that hung in my front hall. It was a faraway view of the beach, taken from my parents’ backyard, overlooking the black sand and the curling waves of the azure Pacific Ocean.
“We’ve got to go home,” I said aloud to my cat, Meli, as she stepped daintily around me. This wasn’t the first time I had expressed this sentiment to Meli, but this time she stopped and looked up at me. She blinked and twitched her ears.
It was the sign I needed.
I watched the snow continue to fall for several hours from the warmth and safety of my apartment. Meli and I curled up on the couch while I tried to read a book, but I couldn’t concentrate. My thoughts returned again and again to palm trees and warm, caressing trade winds, to the faces of my mother and father, of my sister and her little girl. Geoffrey eventually stopped by, bringing with him an icy blast of air as I opened the door to the hallway.
He laughed. “Looks like this storm may never end.”
I invited him into the warmth of the apartment. “Take off your stuff. Want some hot chocolate?” I called over my shoulder as I walked into the kitchen.
“Sure,” he answered, struggling with one of his boots. I joined him in the living room a few minutes later. He was trying to stroke Meli’s chin, but she apparently wanted none of that. Her ears flattened back and she squirmed out of his reach.
I handed him the mug of hot chocolate and sat down opposite him. “Geoffrey, I have news,” I told him warily, knowing he probably wouldn’t be as happy as I was.
“What is it?”
“I’m going back to Hawaii.” I waited for his reaction.
“That’s nice. It’ll do you good to get out of this weather for a while.”
He obviously wasn’t getting it. “No, not for a while. I’m moving back. For good.”
I was right. He was not happy. In fact, he looked stricken, his eyes wide and his mouth agape. “What do you mean, for good?” he asked, choking on his hot chocolate.
“I mean, I just can’t stand it here any longer. I’m never going to get used to the weather, I miss my parents, and my niece is growing up without her auntie. It’s time to go back. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ll miss you, Geoffrey, but this is what’s best for me,” I added, trying to soften the blow.
He looked like he was struggling for words.
“But . . . but . . . what will you do?”
“I’ll do the same thing I do here, Geoffrey. Sous-chefs are not unique to DC.”
“Okay, but what will I do? Without you, I mean?”
I felt sorry for him. He looked crestfallen.
“Geoffrey,” I said gently, “there are lots of women in Washington who are looking for someone as wonderful and kind and handsome and successful as you are. I have to do what my heart is telling me to do, and that’s to go back to Hawaii.”
He nodded slowly, his eyes downcast. “Is there anything I can say to keep you here?”
“I’m afraid not.”
groups. She lives just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean with her husband and three children as well as a dog and two cats. She loves cooking and all things Hawaii and is currently at work on her next novel. Visit her website at or at her blog.