My Writing Journey: Announcing the Publication of my First Novel, Travails of a Trailing Spouse [Part 5]

My name is Stephanie Chen and I am a 2nd generation Taiwanese American. Like many of my peers, I followed a prescribed path towards success: studied hard, got good grades, went to an Ivy League college. I studied finance and after graduation, started a job at a top-tier investment bank. I then joined an investment fund, where I eventually became a partner. However, if you had asked me when I was in the 6th grade what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said “a writer”. In early 2017, a post on this very website took me down the path to following that dream. In just a few short months, it felt as though my life had changed completely. Follow me on my journey–the new challenges, the overwhelming uncertainties, the small, but cumulative successes–to becoming a published author.

Revisit Part 1: How It Began.
Revisit Part 2: Is It Good Enough? Dealing with Self-Doubt.
Revisit Part 3: The Need for Approval and Praise.
Revisit Part 4: After the Phone Call.

After settling on a date and time, I arrived at the imposing building of Singapore Press Holdings to meet with a team from its book publishing subsidiary, Straits Times Press. It was raining as I pulled up to the security guardhouse and lowered my car window.

“Hi, I’m here to meet with the book division,” I said to him, over the pitter-pattering of the rain.

“What?” the guard mouthed, holding his hand to his ear.

“The book division!” I yelled, cupping my right.

He shook his head again. I leaned over the passenger seat and cupped my hand to my mouth like a megaphone. “BOOKS!” I shouted.

“Ah, yes, books,” he responded back, raising the gate and directing me where to park.

I waited in the lobby, where on one end, a display had been set up showing excerpts from the company’s flagship newspaper, The Straits Times, going as far back as the mid-1800s, during the early days of British colonial rule.

The marketing manager came down to meet me, and led me to the elevator bank, up a couple floors, past the radio division where I could see DJs in their glass booths, and into a library, where the books division’s offices were located. The division’s general manager and one of its editors joined us, both shaking my hand and introducing themselves.

The meeting did indeed start off with coffee, and we started chatting about the background of my book, my motivation for writing it, and my aspirations for it going forward. They mentioned some of their favorite parts, which characters they found most compelling, and certain areas I might have to edit a bit. It was truly unbelievable to be sitting around a table with a publishing team, discussing my novel.

That evening, I received an email which I may someday print out and frame, a message with the slightly SPAM-sounding subject of: “We would love to publish your book!”

And so, I’m thrilled to announce that my debut novel, Travails of a Trailing Spouse, will be published by Straits Times Press in 2018.

The uncertainty and self-doubt still remain, of course, but I’m taking the leap! Thanks so much to those who have been following me along my journey, and to, for allowing me to share my story.

Please visit my author website, for the latest information on my book release and upcoming appearances.

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