Less than a week ago, I completed my second historical romance, McShannon's Heart. It's the prequel to my debut novel, McShannon's Chance, which came out from Bluewood Publishing in October.
Which brings me to the topic of this, my first post on this blog: Second Book Syndrome. That oh-so-paralyzing feeling that your first book was a fluke, that you don't have another one in you or at least, not one worth reading.
In her autobiography, Agatha Christie talks about what she calls 'the burden of the professional - to write when one doesn't feel like writing and isn't writing particularly well.' She took up that burden after her painful divorce. Rule 1 about writing: life gets in the way.
There have been a lot of changes in my life over the last couple of years, but for me it's been more a matter of my head getting in the way, and a few more craft lessons learned. My writing process mystifies me at times. I've tried to morph from a pantser to a plotter, without success. My characters don't allow me to stick to a plan. For both my books I've written approximately twice the number of words that ended up in the final manuscript. My first book changed from a time-travel to a straight historical. The plot in my second got rerouted three times. Will I ever learn to be efficient?
Probably not, but I think the next phase of my writing journey will be learning to accept my process as it is and go with it. Once I do that, I'll spend less time getting in my own way and more time writing.
I'm a teacher, an amateur musician and, for over thirty years, a writer. I fell in love with words at a very early age, and the affair has been life-long.
Glimpses of the past spark my imagination. There's an archaeologist buried in me somewhere. I'm currently working on a series following the McShannon family as they put down roots and find love in the old world and the new, against the background of the American Civil War. Along with this series, I'm writing a story set at the time of the Halifax Explosion in 1917. I'm really enjoying delving into the history in my own backyard.
I write for children as well as adults. When I'm not writing I garden, play guitar and spend time with my DH, our cat Emily, and our dogs Chance and Echo, the most spoiled Duck Tolling Retrievers on the planet. I live in Nova Scotia, in my opinion the most beautiful place in the world.