You forgot to mention all the people who have helped you. We never do it just on our own. There are all those people behind us, our teachers, coaches, pastors, mentors.
That gave me pause because so many people have helped me along my writing journey. So many people over so many years that it would be nearly impossible to name them all.
I learned how to write by taking correspondence courses through the Institute for Children's Literature. After graduating from ICL, I continued to make progress due to The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and to Highlights Foundation Workshops. I owe special thanks to former NJ Regional Advisor, Kathy Temean, to Florida Regional Advisor, Linda Bernfield, and to editor Carolyn Yoder.
When I finally had a first draft, teacher and mentor Joyce Sweeney helped me refine it.
Over the years, I've belonged to three critique groups. Each member of those groups strengthened my writing and provided needed encouragement. Jeannine Norris became more than a critique group leader...she turned into a dear friend.
Many authors further along in the process have shared their knowledge with me. Richard Peck critiqued the first chapter of my novel at an SCBWI conference. He then generously gave me his address and asked to read the completed manuscript. Though he didn't think it was quite ready for publication, he offered advice and encouragement. So I kept revising it. Augusta Scattergood, Barbara Krasner and Joyce Moyer Hostetter have all shared marketing tips with me.
If not for my husband's financial support, this journey would have been nearly impossible. And my son has shown patience and humor when I'm lost in a story.
After my agent resigned, her partner Deborah Warren stepped up to represent me.
But in the end, I owe the biggest debt of gratitude to Stephen Roxburgh. I still remember what he said to me. "This novel really is delicious and exactly the kind of thing I'm looking to publish." To which I now respond, Hallelujah!