Any author will tell you that writing is a journey. Sometimes there are smooth roads, other times there are hills. Then let’s talk about those Alps for writers.
My first book was published thirty-two years ago this December. This was a year after my agent called me with the news that a brand spanking new publisher called Silhouette Books wanted to buy my first two books.
The best part was I wouldn’t be a one book writer and it was time to see if I could write more books. Plus, I was fired for selling those books, so I said sink or swim time.
What a journey it’s been
Just like the transition from childhood to adult, it’s an evolution of a writer.
Back in the late 1970s authors were expected to write books with only the heroine’s point-of-view, craft alpha heroes who were usually quite a bit older than the tender-hearted virgin heroines and we won’t even go into the bitchy ‘other woman’ that tended to make the sensitive heroine believe there was no way the brooding hero could love her. And love scenes were behind closed doors. Yawn!
Romance writers were the red-haired stepchildren. Wild to say since I’m a redhead. Story had it romance writers always wore pink, smiled constantly, ate bonbons, and chirped instead of talked. So not me at all. I avoided pink like the plague, smiled but not as if I was in a beauty pageant, preferred See’s Bordeaux, and was shy so talking in groups wasn’t always easy.
Even back then I knew I wanted to write ‘more’ and I pushed the envelope any way I could. So many of us felt the same. It meant coming up more with more innovative storylines, and strong characters that stood out. I tried to break a rule with each book.
I wrote the hero’s point of view in Dancer in the Shadows, my first book. I couldn’t understand why it had to be deleted, but I was determined it would happen in a later book. After all, that third and fourth book were simmering in my imagination
I got to do that and more as I wrote hero oriented plots, role reversal stories such as my male housekeeper book, Caution Man at Work and Guardian Angel that featured a female bodyguard, and other books with a variety of stories. I know this author/avid reader wanted more so why shouldn’t other readers.
Yes, it meant a lot more work, but it was worth it, because it allowed me to grow as a writer and even as a person. It hasn’t always been easy and there were times I wondered whether I should continue writing, but every writer will tell you it’s not something you can easily quit. Your imagination won’t allow it.
We never remain stagnant. I mean, how boring would that be? No way I want to be the same person I was 34 years ago when I started my first book. I wanted to move forward, change my hairstyle a few million times, the way I dress and how I think.
I always knew I couldn’t write what I wrote in the beginning because I’ve progressed so far. And I’d like to think it’s all for the better. That my evolution knew what to do with me.
Even now, I wonder what my next evolution will bring me.
What about you? Do you feel you’ve evolved over the years? That even if there have been bumps in the road, you’ve kept going?