I started this writing gig with a vision, an idea in my head of what I wanted to see it turning into as I pushed forward. At first said vision was modest...I was really just interested in giving something a try. I had written mainly poetry before—and even that, a very long time ago. But as my first novel began to fall into place, I started to think more seriously about where I would take this. I even restructured my day job to make more time for my writing, which meant less money for the family—A serious step. But that particular journey isn’t really what I’m talking about today.
What I’m interested in discussing now is the journey that your writing itself takes as you move from one book to another.
Writing that very first book was an eye opener and involved a huge learning curve. It taught me many things about what I enjoyed writing, what I didn’t, my voice, my style. It helped me to hone certain strengths and skills, and to set patterns and habits for the way I write—not all of them good, mind you. And yet, as much as I love that first book, still had a ton to learn after it was finished.
But you keep moving forward. You revise, edit, cut, add, cry, layer, cut, revise. Then finally, you start something new, and in my case, it was a continuation of the characters I had already gotten to know so well. As you progress, hopefully, the writing starts to flow a little smoother, you don’t have to stop to think about every writing rule and whether this is one of those times when you can break it. The Donald Maas book is still on the desk beside your computer as you type madly into the night, but those dog-eared pages get a bit of a break every once in a while.
Maybe by this time, or maybe after the next book, you find that you’ve set yourself on a certain path. You’re halfway into the forest surrounded by demon-sized trees and Immortal-shaped shadows and you’re not sure that it’s going to lead you to grandma’s cottage. (Am I confusing you with the metaphors yet?)
The question arises, was this the plan all along, is it the direction you wanted to go, or did you get caught up in something and now you’re just along for the ride?—Because in some respects it has often felt like that to me. A big blur.
I can’t say that I intentionally decided to become a paranormal author, but when I think back now, I can’t imagine writing anything else for those first few books. Does it pigeonhole me? Yes, it might a little. Does it mean that I can’t ever try something else? Of course not!
I love my Immortals. I love the stories I can tell with them, the world that I can create with them. I love where they take me and how they make me feel, and I don’t want to give that up.
At the same time, I like the challenge of trying something brand new, so I’m veering away from this particular path for a time—just a short time. This new book I’ve started is really sexy and a bit of a thriller, but there’s not a vampire in sight, nor a demon to be had and I’m very excited about it.
I don’t mind when the lines start to blur a little bit. It means I can discover something new, keep my writing fresh. But I never lose my focus, and that is simply, to keep learning, keep getting better, and to keep writing the best way I know how—with an eager passion for it.