You see, my life is … hectic. I still work as a lawyer (I am a partner in a law firm), and I write books in my spare time (the answer to the question you are asking yourself is: robots). Since my first publication in Canada in 2010, my books have been coming out at the pace of one book a year (and sometimes more when you put in French releases and US releases) which, while it took me much longer to write them than that (I had three completed manuscripts when I got my first deal), has meant that I have essentially been on a publicity hamster-wheel for some book or another since the fall of 2009.
Now, I’m not complaining. I am extremely lucky. I have both a secure job, which I enjoy and pays the bills, and some success as a writer. But the reality of the writer’s life these days – as so many people have written before me and will likely remark on again – is that it is not just about the writing. Sometimes it feels like it is not even principally about the writing, which makes me a little sad to tell the truth. And it’s not that I don’t love connecting with readers or other writers – I find resources like this one, or the online book club I run, to be a source of support and inspiration. But there is a part of me that longs for the quiet I used to write in, where the only noises were the voices in my head saying, “Write about me. I’m interesting. I promise.”
I first started to realize this in a concrete way this spring when my fourth novel came out in the States. A funny thing happened this time around. This novel was being published by Lake Union, a division of Amazon Publishing. [Insert Evil Empire joke here if you must.] Whatever you might say about Amazon, my own publishing experience with them has been fantastic all down the line from the professionalism of the people at the publishing house to the marketing efforts they put behind the book. You see, I had something really magical happen. I got hit by what I call the “pretty stick”™. I was one of the titles they chose to focus their mighty marketing machine on in the months following the book’s release. Which meant I didn’t really have to do anything. No chasing after blog tours (though I did one with some fabulous bloggers who’ve been supportive of me since the very beginning). No constantly feeling like I needed to post about the book. Or tweet about it. Or stand on my head in a YouTube video strumming my guitar. Or find some cute kittens to post about because I don’t have any kids or animals and … You get the picture.
Suddenly, there was quiet. Suddenly, there was space.
It took me a while to notice it, but when I did, I wanted more of it. Because, suddenly, I could write with an ease that I haven’t felt in years. I had room to let my mind roam free and find words and let the characters speak to me. I had the energy to do what they wanted, exceeding the 500 words a day (if that) pace I’d been writing at for the last couple of years. Suddenly, my fifth novel, which seemed a distant possibility, was halfway done. [Read more…]