How this all started

My “novel journey” began in 2011–the beginning of many struggles for me. My husband and I excitedly moved in June from our hometown in Knoxville Tennessee for his blooming career. Before we left, I had a job as a jewelry buyer–but I was having struggles moving up the corporate ladder, so when he was offered a great job three hours from home I decided to leave my job as well and go with him, naturally.

We departed for my husband’s career in engineering, which took us to a very remote (but picturesque) landscape in rural Alabama–where you can inhale pure air and view magical scenery that takes your breath away, and unfortunately where having a job myself or friends was about as likely as a toddler not whining for one thing all day.

Before we left, I prepared (or so I thought) for this lack of work by obtaining my group fitness certification, because not every town has a big corporate office where you can be a buyer, but every town does has a gym! Right? I would later learn that the only gym in that small town wasn’t interested in having instructors, they had a video instructor system (eye roll).

So, there I was, all alone for 12 hours a day with zero friends and zero job. I was by myself in our rental house which was perched on the most majestic bluff I’d ever witnessed, but something was still missing. I began my health and beauty blog (AudrasPicks.com) while we lived there in an attempt to kept my sanity, and luckily we traveled back home about once a month.

After ten months in the beautiful boonies, we were transferred a few states away once more. This was utter culture shock! We originated in suburbia, left for the sticks, then we were thrust into the bustling D.C. metropolis area–where we stayed with my hospitable and gracious friend and her boyfriend.

We were only supposed to be there for a few weeks, so, naturally I didn’t look for a job. After a few weeks turned into a few months I landed a fitness job, and of course we were transferred back to our hometown before I could begin.

Once we moved back home, I began the tireless job searches again. Finally in September 2012, we were on vacation and I got an email from a friend about THE PERFECT job opening in social media at the company where I was a buyer! After turning a few cartwheels on the beach (yes, literally) I quickly applied. I made it to the final two candidates and was beyond ecstatic, I knew in my heart this job must be my calling.

When they eventually went with the other candidate, (after about two months of interviews and elaborate presentations) who, by the way, quit a few months later, (eye roll again) it destroyed me. I was completely shattered. Who was I? What was my purpose?

I felt pressure from everyone to have a job, including myself. I felt judged and was even referred to as “the stay at home wife” by our friends’ wives who worked. I guess they assumed I was dragging my feet, or was unmotivated? I don’t know, but everything combined threw me into a health crisis.

I began having extreme bowel issues (sorry, tmi) all day every day and night for about a month. I thought for sure I had stomach cancer and was dying. I cried all the time from worry and the seclusion I felt, and couldn’t get my head above water. Very few people understood, or tried to understand what I was going through besides my husband, family, and one or two friends. I went to doctor, after doctor, after doctor. They all referred me to someone else and couldn’t tell me what was wrong.

Finally, by the grace of God, I found an immunologist/allergist who went the extra mile, and then some. He finally helped me realize I wasn’t dying, I just had Celiac Disease (which is genetic and can be triggered by severe stress).

After I began to avoid gluten and heal, I began my first novel. I needed it, I wanted to be working…and as you can probably tell I had/have a lot of feelings! I decided to write about a young woman who suffers extreme loss and confusion, and while her story is immensely different than my journey, in the end, we both were led down paths that were unexpected.

I wrote half of my book in 2-3 months, became pregnant, had a miscarriage that crushed my heart to a point I thought was beyond repair, got pregnant again, had extreme morning sickness for 37 weeks and 6 days before delivering baby boy on Christmas Day 2013…and basically, I never finished my book because my lovely son became my #1 priority.

Flash-forward to my second pregnancy in 2016, where I was on bed-rest for five months (yeah, that sucked). I finally finished the second half of my book in 2-3 months because I finally had the time…and here we are (after many months of editing my book to death).

It has been a labor of love! It’s consisted of a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and non-believers, but here I am! I started that novel during an extremely difficult time, and completed it during another. It is my silver lining and my calling. It has been anything but smooth sailing, but I believe it was what I was meant to do.

When doors close on you that you thought you wanted to plow through – take a step back and look all around you, because there may be another hidden door behind you…where you never would have looked.

All thanks to God for my journey.
For me, this quote is me and my journey!
“IN A WEAK MOMENT, I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK.” -MARGARET MITCHELL

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