By Raymond Esposito
As a business partnership, SK and I don’t post articles the other hasn’t read…until today. I made the exception because she’d never let me post an article about her. Why? Well SK is probably one of the most humble writers, if not person, I have ever met. That characteristic was one of the many reasons I wanted to partner with her on Writers After Dark. Her humility often reminds me to choose my words more wisely and sometimes it convinces me just to shut up.
Today, SK’s first novel, Kinetic, earned a finalist position in the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Contest. Like every writer, she lamented a bit over the fact that she had not achieved first, second, or third place. Among other things, SK is a perfectionist, so I wasn’t surprised at her response. However, the thing of it is is this: Thousands and I mean thousands of writers from all over the world enter that contest. The competition is fierce. Just to qualify for entry you need to have received a 4 or 5-star review (she earned a 5 star). So to place anywhere in the top 8 is a testament to the story and the writing.
But in my opinion, it’s even more amazing because of SK’s backstory.
SK immigrated to the U.S., from South America at the age of fifteen. She didn’t speak English when she entered the New York City public school system. I can’t imagine what that is like except maybe it feels like sitting in a calculus class—a world of sounds and symbols with no meaning and no context.
NYC public schools are no strangers to foreign language speaking students and SK had the opportunity to take all of her classes in her native tongue (or one of them, she spoke two at the time) of Spanish. But, of course, that’s just not her style. She was in America and determined to learn the language.
Now I took three years of college Spanish and to this day all I can manage is to ask where the bathroom is, tell you I’d like eggs for breakfast, and maybe discuss the time.
Here’s what I can’t do.
I can’t write an entire novel in another language, let alone one that would place as a finalist in a competition (Maybe if the plot dealt solely with bathrooms and egg breakfasts). Sure, some may discount the achievement (including SK) because she’s been a citizen now for twenty years. But I know plenty of folks who have spoken English all their lives and can’t string together three coherent sentences never mind an eighty thousand word novel. To learn the spoken language is one thing, to learn the nuances of writing that language is quite another.
But there is more…because there is always more.
She wrote Kinetic while raising (at the time) three-year-old twins. Another experience I can’t imagine, but to use the words of comic Jim Gaffigan, having twins must be like trying to stay afloat in the ocean while holding onto a bowling ball and then someone… hands you an anchor. Personally, I’d give SK an award just for her supernatural ability to concentrate and stay awake long enough to finish the damn book.
Of course, every author has a back story. The past, the obstacles, and the challenges are probably the very things that make us writers. Still, one can’t help but want to see nice people win. One can’t help but wish to cheer for someone who deserves the recognition. Sk certainly does because beyond her obvious writing talent that she is too often too humble to see, beyond a busy mother of twins, beyond her role as my business partner and close friend is a great person.
SK is a writer who sincerely cares about other authors. A person who will shore up your confidence, celebrate your victories before her own, and who never thinks twice about promoting the dreams of her fellow writers—for those qualities alone she deserves the type of award few people could win.
So while you enjoy your Labor Day weekend, think about purchasing a copy of SK’s book. Not only for the great story and beautiful writing that lies within, but also because, in this world, it’s nice when the good people achieve their dreams.