It’s about 5:30am in the Keyes household and I’m up, checking Facebook and Twitter while my husband gets ready for work. I, too have to get ready for work, but not until I’ve had a cup of coffee. On my way downstairs to the kitchen, I get stopped by my oldest son, five, who asks if it is time to get up and play. After I explain that it most certainly is not, I manage to step on the dog and trip the house alarm, which culminates in my waking up my second son, under a year old.
Now that everyone in the house has been woken up, I make it to the kitchen and my beloved Keurig. All the while listening to my oldest give me a lecture worthy of Carnegie Hall on Dinosaurs, their eating habits, and various skin types. “Oh and by the way Mommy, you didn’t give me a vitamin yet,” he says in that solemn voice of his.
So, perching the baby on one hip, I distribute gummy vitamins, all while making microwave French toast sticks, and bending over the sink with the baby to both simultaneously avoid the microwaves emanating from the appliance on the wall and ensure that no coffee is spilt on the baby. Normally, by the time the nanny arrives, I am almost dressed and the kids and I are dancing to Kylie Minogue in my bedroom. Then it’s off to work for me until five o’clock and then from eight o’clock until I can no longer stay awake, I get to be a writer.
This is my life. Or at least it was until approximately four weeks ago, when I decided to chuck it all and become a full-time writer and a full-time Mom. If you had asked me, even a year ago, if I would have ever left my job, I would have called you insane. My job energized me. I was bebopping around the country, teaching people about Communication Skills, Problem Solving, and Customer Service. My work team was made up of several amazing women who impacted me in such a positive way that I’d actually grown as a person. Imagine that.
Then I had my second son, went on maternity leave, and suddenly I found out what my life could be like if I let it. For years, I’d been glued to the smartphone of the day, responding to work e-mails at all hours (as if there was ever really a training emergency). My life was my job, twenty-four seven. However, I didn’t have writing then and even if I had, I wouldn’t have had time to write.
When my maternity leave for my second son rolled around, I was in the process of finalizing The Star Child for self-publication, not realizing that it would be accepted by Inkspell Publishing only a few short months later. This time I got to experience what it was like to spend my days with my two loves: my writing and my children.
In no time at all, I was hooked.
Though my wonderful company did everything possible to try and keep me, the travel and the constant pace soon disinterested me and I knew what I had to do. After a nearly twelve-year tenure, it was time to say goodbye.
Now, when I get up every day is different. We could be hunting for dinosaur fossils or manning a pirate ship. We could be riding a pretend fire truck or floating on an iceberg. Suddenly everyday is an adventure in imagination and I absolutely adore it.
Steph, thanks so much for giving us some insight into your family life. That must have been such a change, switching up your life like that. How’s the adjustment been going so far?
It’s been great. Honestly, I thought I would be a lot harder to adjust than it has been. Who knows, maybe I’ll wake up in a panic one day and say “What have I done?!” However, I have remained friends with so many people that I used to work with that, it feels like I got to keep some of the best parts of my job – the people.
How do you find time to write with two young children?
Time management. My oldest gets two hours of TV time each day and I usually schedule that around the baby’s naps. So when the little one is sleeping, the older one watches TV and I am on my laptop writing. It’s hard sometimes because I may have a ton of things to get organized around the house, but I put them on hold. I’ll also get up extremely early many mornings and just write while folks are sleeping. It’s a peaceful sort of quiet time and I just love it.
One of the things that help me tremendously is that my husband is as supportive as he is. He’s always watching the kids in the evenings so that I can go to my writer’s group or off to write. Between the two of us, we make sure the I get writing time and I also message to the boys that “Mom has to work now” but she gets to do it from home. Yeah!
What’s next in terms of writing for Stephanie Keyes?
There’s quite a bit going on, naturally, as always! I’ve set myself a deadline to finish my next two books by December 15th. I am writing everyday. These are both books from The Star Child Trilogy. Right now, I am working on book two The Fallen Stars. I’m about 40,000 words in, so about the halfway mark, and loving it. Every time I start writing these characters, again it’s like a family reunion. They are so much a part of my life that it’s been great fun to reconnect with them.
Thanks very much for joining me today, Stephanie! Best of luck with the new books!
Here’s a photo of Stephanie talking at loveahappyending.com’s Summer Audience. Stephanie flew to the UK to take part in the event that was held on 16 June 2012 to do a talk on Author Branding. It was a fascinating session and the feedback from it was amazing!
About the Author
For the past twelve years, Mrs. Keyes has worked in Training and Development for an international telecommunications corporation; spending the first eight years of her career as a Software Trainer and Technical Writer and the last four working in Human Resources and Employee Development.
Stephanie holds an undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems and a Master’s in Education. A seasoned, facilitator, Stephanie Keyes is no stranger to presenting. Stephanie has worked extensively as a personal coach and mentor. In her spare time, Keyes also operates a freelance graphic and instructional design business, Sycamore Road Design.
Her debut novel, The Star Child, will be re-released by Inkspell Publishing on September 21st, 2012.
Inkspell Publishing www.inkspellpublishing.com