I got my first contract in 2008, and since then I’ve published nine books, including three different series for two different publishers. I don’t expect you to be impressed. I’m just telling you that for background.
Those first few novels were like a fever in my blood. I had no idea what was going to happen in the next chapter or even on the next page. I didn’t know if what I wrote was good, bad, or in between. I just knew I had to get it out of my head.
These days things are a little different. Fans ask, “When’s the next Loser novel coming out?” and I know they have questions they want answered about her. Publishers ask, “How many books will the Simon and Elizabeth series contain?” and I know they’re looking at the bottom line. And editors ask, “When can you get the changes for the next Dead Detective book done?” and I know they have schedules to meet.
It’s not just my eager fingers making me write these days.
Published authors know that writing really is work. It becomes a little less of a Great Adventure and more of a Project. There are people out there with expectations, which is different from the days when we used to write as much as we felt like writing, any way we wanted to.
That said, I still look forward to the next book. It’s exciting to turn the ideas in my head into a full novel that people are out there waiting to buy. As I write, things come to mind that add meat to the story’s backbone or flesh to a character’s frame. I’m likely to laugh out loud or do a little celebratory dance when a particularly good idea hits.
And there’s a point where the writing becomes a fever again, when I begin to live inside the book. My characters matter to me—a lot. I forget about publishing houses and editors and even fans. It’s my story. I want to tell it. I know what has to happen, and I know how it has to be told.
When I finish, I emerge from my cloud of fiction to face the real world again. I listen to my editors’ suggestions, do what my publishers request for promotion, and let the fans know that Another One is available. At that point, though, the book isn’t mine anymore. It belongs to the readers, but yes, thank you, I did have fun with it during the brief period when it was only mine.