Picture it: little M.M., stapling paper together and calling them novels. I used to sit in my
grandpa’s home office and “write books” with his legal-size office paper.
“No, this is how you spell it,” I had wined to my dad about the word Octopus at the
tender age of about five. Back then, I was just a little kid with white hair who enjoyed the
fulfillment of walking out of Grandpa’s house with my paper book.
Now picture it: junior year of college. I’m standing before my professor, asking, “Can
you look over my proposal?”
The proposal was for my book, Between the Ocean and the Stars. Of course, my
professor had said yes, she would look over it and critique it, and then, hopefully, and publisher
would pick it up.
I’d waited on pins and needles while she had it, read it, wondered whether it was ever
going to be good enough for a pub to sign.
I’d asked her that question at the end of Fiction Writing, a class of hers I was in, and two
of my friends had said confidently to me, “I just know one day I’m going to walk into
Barnes & Noble and see your book on a shelf.”
Picture it: last month. I’m sitting before a new Fiction Writing class, instructed by my old
professor, and she introduces me as M.M. Cochran, author of her debut novel.
“I never thought I’d be here. I remember sitting here thinking I’d never be an author. It
took literal sweat and tears to get here.”
I had said this to the class I spoke to at North Greenville University last month. My old
college professor had asked me to come speak with her class of a few writers about the
publishing process and how I got to where I am today.
“She sat in this class a few years ago,” Dr. Collier had said.
“I never thought I would be here doing this,” I had responded.
Flashforward to this time last week.
Picture it: about 18 years later, I sat there signing my own novels at my own launch
party. When you walked in, the books were strategically stacked by my pens. Circling to a table
in the back, I had strewn out some press coverage of my release, my original manuscript, and
those little paper books I’d stapled together in my grandpa’s house long over a decade ago. I
had chosen, the night before, to display them, because I felt as though they represented my
progress over the ages.
Alas, the ending to my column is much like the ending to my story: bittersweet.
Because all the hard work was finished last week at my launch party, where several of
the beautiful faces reading this made an appearance! I have you, dearest readers, to thank for
For now, cheers to the rest of my chapters.
M.M. Cochran is the author of YA novel Between the Ocean and the Stars and has an educational background in English and creative writing. She has worked in the journalism industry, as well as the agenting and publishing industry, and she is currently a news reporter for The Greer Citizen. M.M. can be found collecting coffee mugs, slipping into an oversized sweater, and hanging out with her standard poodle. Her debut novel, Between the Ocean and the Stars, can be found online at Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. To keep up with her writing journey, follow her on Instagram @m.m.cochran_writer.