I am so happy to have Priscille Sibley here with us on Women’s Fiction Writers today. I’ve known Priscille for years. We were Backspace babies, in a way, cutting our teeth on the forums, sucking in information, learning to share, finding our way. I read Priscille’s novel when it had a different title, before it went through more edits, before she had an agent and before THE PROMISE OF STARDUST sold to William Morrow. Priscille’s debut will be published next year (I’ve heard January rumblings, but that’s unofficial, don’t say you heard it from me).
Please welcome Priscille Sibley to Women’s Fiction Writers. Show her a little WFW love in the comments, would ya?
When did you fall in love with books?
by Priscille Sibley
I was seven when my grandfather moved in with us. Dan Dan, as we called him, brought only a few things from his old house: a blue chair that went into our living room, an upright piano which he played in a speakeasy during Prohibition – and books. So many books! Beautiful books. There were over a thousand volumes he treasured enough to bring with him. Some were older than he was, a few from the 1800s. As we unloaded the crates, I felt like I’d moved into a library, and the sensation was elevating.
The books he brought were all well above my reading level at the time. They had titles like Les Miserables and Ulysses, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and The Descent of Man. There were old bound National Geographics with maps from exotic parts of the world. He brought with him science and fiction and history. He brought with him his love of books.
His son, in other words my father, was an avid reader, too. When my father was a boy, he suffered from rheumatic fever and he spent an entire year in bed unable to stand the so much as the pressure of a sheet on his legs, missing school but not missing out on his education. He always had a stack of books, mostly ones he borrowed from the library, but books were not a luxury out of reach. They were a necessity and as important as food and clothing.
I grew up believing books were virtually sacred. So when I fell in love, it was no surprise I found a man who feels the same way I do about books. My husband and I have no spare bookshelf space in our house (and we have a load of bookshelves.) Each one is double stacked. And my kids have stuffed bookshelves in their rooms as well.
I think Emily Dickinson said it best: “There is no frigate like a book.” With a book and our imagination we can transport across time and space and into the heart of someone very different from ourselves. Isn’t the possibility of transporting a reader one of the most heady experiences of a writer has?
For me the two most enjoyable parts of writing are the research and the times when the characters come alive in my imagination. Suddenly I’m there with these people who are not real to anyone else but me.
When someone, your first reader, your beta reader, your agent, your editor, when someone else tells you your story swept them up, that you transported them to someplace else – that is an amazing feeling. One person told me she read my entire book in one sitting. Wow, I thought. My little inner world became someone else’s if only for a little while.
You see, that is the power of a book.
Neither my father or grandfather is still alive, but I believe each of them would have been thrilled that my novel will be published. And I am grateful to them for instilling a love of books in me.
So…when did you first fall in love with books?
Priscille Sibley is the author of the upcoming debut novel THE PROMISE OF STARDUST (William Morrow, 2013). THE PROMISE OF STARDUST is a love story about a family torn apart by a medical crisis and the ethical dilemma of keeping a pregnant woman with no chance of recovery on life support for months in an attempt to give her unborn baby a chance.
A few people always know what they want to do when they grow up. Priscille Sibley knew early on she would become a nurse. And a poet. Later, her love of words developed into a passion for storytelling.
Born and raised in Maine, Priscille has paddled down a few wild rivers, done a little rock climbing, and jumped out of airplanes. She currently lives in New Jersey where she works as a neonatal intensive care nurse and shares her life with her wonderful husband, three tall teenaged sons, and a mischievous Wheaton terrier.