Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Yes, 15 years. And each one was the equivalent of writing a graduate thesis (I know, because I've done that).
When my kids were younger, I decided one day after seeing the movie Braveheart that I wanted to write an epic historical novel. Well, that one book turned into three and I just kept writing. In between running the kidsters to dance classes, soccer games, track meets and band concerts - not to mention rehabbing two houses and raising the occasional litter of Australian Shepherd puppies - immersing myself in that long ago world was a glorious diversion. I was drawn there. I reveled in it. I felt a part of it.
Now, the kids are gone and I have the house to myself. You might think all this free time would turn me into a writing machine, but I've since figured out that it's living a full life that gives you reason to write. These days, when someone asks me, "When will your next book be out?, my answer is: "I don't know."
I've been doing some intense navel-gazing the last few months. I started a time travel historical romance, got 40,000 words into it and stalled at the historical section. This isn't so much 'writer's block' as it is just feeling pulled in another direction. Honestly, I'm not sure when I'll return to writing the research-intense biographical type of historical I'm known for, the main reason being the length of time it takes to actually (and properly) write such a book.
The other reason is simply that I want to explore issues that everyday people can relate to - love, life, loss and hope - without the restrictions imposed by writing in another time period. While the wall behind my desk is covered with letters from readers saying how much they enjoyed my historical fiction, I also know there's a large portion of the population that doesn't read the genre. I feel like there are things I have to say, experiences I want to share, and there are soooo many people I have yet to reach.
Meanwhile, I've been cleaning out the basement, running on the treadmill, thinking about a part-time job, purging filing cabinets and kitchen cupboards, and patiently waiting for spring to arrive so I can tidy up the garden while I ponder what I'll write next. Or whether I'll finally use that college degree and return to teaching and coaching.
A few days ago I wrote the opening to a new story. It's about a dog and the way she enters the lives of several people at just the right time (think A Dog's Purpose or The Art of Racing in the Rain). It was freeing. I'm excited. And it's all unfolding clearly in my imagination. With 25 years of experience training and raising dogs, I have a LOT of real-life stories I can work into the pages of a fiction book.
Having been hung up at this fork in the road for too long now, I'm going to set my feet down on this path and follow it for awhile. I have a feeling that this is the right thing for me to do right now. I sincerely hope many of my readers will follow me. I think you'll be able to relate.
Thanks to all of you for staying with me so long. I'm simply amazed when someone tells me they've read all six of my books. (Where do you find the time?) I really do have the best readers in the world!