Elaine Marie Carnegie
My Writing Career
By Quinn Cooper
Please welcome Quinn Cooper to the Writer's Journey Blog this week with the story of her career.
My writing career began when, at age four, my mother tacked an alphabet poster on the door in our dining room. I loved to study the letters and look at the pretty letters and bright colors. I would then get my lined paper and pencils and try to make the letters the same way. My mom would sit with me and help me to spell our names and I would write them over and over again.
Shortly after that, I started to make up stories and write them all down. I spent hours and hours sitting at the dining room table writing anything and everything that popped into my head.
I never went to kindergarten, it wasn’t mandatory then, so I began my formal education in first grade. We had read a story about a dog named Tippy and the teacher gave us a paper with a bunch of questions about the story. Without looking at the book, we were to answer the questions in complete sentences. I followed the directions to the letter and for this, I was rewarded with an A, but more importantly, the teacher put my paper up on the board where all the best work went and she put star stickers on it as well. I was also commended by the principal and he put gold stars on my paper. I felt somewhat embarrassed, but proud of my accomplishment.
Quite a few years later when I was about twelve, I wrote scripts for Adam-12 but never mailed any of them. As a young adult, I wrote some poems and short stories. I was then introduced to the world of Fanfiction by an extremely talented writer, Jen Barten.
I loved Emergency! I found hundreds of these stories and discovered I enjoyed the SLASH stories best. I also really liked the pairing of Johnny and Mike. I began reading everything available and then thought I could write my own story just as well as these. So I did! Jen Barten was right there kicking me in the butt to publish what I had written and I finally did. I now have quite a few fanfiction stories including a Series out on AO3.
I then thought if I can write fanfiction, why not try a novel? So I started one about six years ago, again with Jen nipping at my heels as to when I was going to get my novel published. It finally came to publication on May 10, 2022. It’s called A Reason for Tomorrow and I honestly feel I gave birth to it. It’s an incredible feeling to hold that first copy of your book in your hands, knowing that every word, every comma, and every thought belongs to you.
It took me longer to write it because, during this time, my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. The tumor was deemed too big to operate on immediately and he had to go through an entire round of chemotherapy before surgery. The doctor was confident he got all of it and we were optimistic. Unfortunately, another tumor formed in almost the same spot along with several more. It spread quickly throughout his body and even popped out on top of the skin in some places. These places were extremely painful for him and they recommended radiation for this. He completed a round of radiation, but never wanted to go back there.
He didn’t want any heroic measures taken and signed a DNR. He wanted to be at home, so we got hospice involved and those people were saints. They were right there whenever I needed anything for my husband. I spent my days taking care of him and worrying. I didn’t think too much about my book during this period of time. He suffered a little over two years and that’s how long I was in limbo. All my energy was focused on him and his needs, right where it should have been. After he passed away, my son and I decided to move as it was too painful to stay in our apartment where so many memories were choking us. So, we moved across town. We were doing okay, but then my social security wasn’t coming through and I didn’t get all of the insurance money because of a loophole, so after a year, we were about out of money and couldn’t pay the rent anymore.
Without understanding it all, we found ourselves evicted with no place to go. We ended up living in a parking lot for eighteen months in our car, while I talked with so many people and organizations trying to keep the relationships and find us a place to live. Through an ad out on Facebook Marketplace, I established contact with someone with a room for rent. It didn’t work out, but she had a small apartment, would I be interested in seeing it?
Oh, yes, definitely! We got the apartment and have been paying it forward ever since. Writing has become even more natural over the past nineteen to twenty months. I have written for several anthologies along with finishing and publishing my book. I have so many people to thank that were helpful along the way, forever grateful to everyone.
BIO: Quinn Cooper is a sixty-two-year-old woman who lives in Fall River, MA, the home of the infamous Lizzie Borden. She lives in a small apartment on the third floor with her twenty-six-year-old son and twelve-year-old calico. She enjoys a good laugh, white wine, and writing. She is grateful for every day and everything she has.
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