It’s been about a month since Chosen By A Killer was published, and it’s been a great few weeks. I’ve loved hearing about people’s enjoyment of the book, loved signing copies and meeting people, and yes, I’ve loved seeing the sales every day.
Someone asked me at the book signing at Vertillo’s the other night when I started writing. I told them that I used to tell stories and ask Mom to write them down before I was able to write myself. I think my first story was about my, who were nice, and they liked ice. What can I say? I loved Dr. Seuss, so naturally the story rhymed.
I remember writing a story about a girl who lived on a farm in third grade, inspired by my love of the Little House on the Prairie series. Then my love of Judy Blume comforted me during the awkward phase, and I wrote a book about a girl who was skinny with glasses who was picked on at school. I hadn’t learned the term “Mary Sue” yet. The book was 58 pages, written on pink-colored notebook paper. For my 10-year-old self, it was an epic accomplishment.
In high school I favored short stories and poetry, and one of my English teachers entered some of my work into the Alabama Penman. That poem, “Tempesto,” won the region, and it felt good to be recognized. In college I submitted works to campus publications. Some were published, but most were seen as “too sweet.” I was a sheltered romantic who binged shows such as Sarah, Plain and Tall and the Anne of Green Gables movies. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, writing had moved on from heroes and heroines who spoke in poetry to drug addicts and gang violence. I didn’t have the perspective to keep up with those types of stories, so I went back to poetry, ranting my thoughts on paper.
When I was ready to write fiction again, I pulled a bit of that Judy Blume fanfiction from the past and decided to write a children’s book. I called it True Confessions of a Kickball Reject. Teaching colleagues found it funny a-la Lemony Snicket. But it was far from polished. It’s still on my Google Drive. Maybe one day I’ll resurrect and perfect it. I also began a more serious young adult book, The Traveling Shoebox, about a junior high school girl whose mother attempted suicide, so she went to stay with the father she had never met. Parts of it are sitting on another blog, and the rest was sadly lost on an old flash drive somewhere.
I’ve always had a wide range of interests. I have never read or watched or paid the price of a movie ticket for just one genre. My writing is much the same. The customary advice is to stick to one. Crime, Fantasy, Romance. Choose one and stay in that lane, building a following and an audience. It is very good advice. But I haven’t been good at following it. My debut novel, released a month ago, is suspense. In August I’ll be releasing a historical romance, set in my hometown and New Orleans. I have another suspense novel and a Christian novel about a decades-long friendship in notebooks scattered over my desk.
Writing has always been my passion, my favorite hobby, my lifeline, even my therapy. It makes sense that my writing would take on the themes of my life and interests, even when those are varied.
I am loving the “author life.” I love the motivation it has provided to write even more. I love that the dream from childhood has come true. I love hearing from friends that they enjoyed reading. Mostly I love being creative, waking up with an idea in the middle of the night, and the images that swirl around in my mind all day long. I think I’ll keep on doing it for at least another 30 or 40 years. 🙂