Friday, January 4, 2013

Looking ahead to the new year

It's 2013.

Last year was a tough year in a lot of ways, but it was also a turning point. I challenged myself and branched out more with my writing and found a new agent whom I couldn't be more happy with.

I get a lot of emails from readers who want me to continue my tattoo shop mysteries and even Annie Seymour has fans who would love to see me write more of her stories. It's hard to explain to people why when I wrote "the end" on Ink Flamingos and Shot Girl that it really was The End. I don't like to look back; when I'm done with something, I'm done with it. I thoroughly enjoyed writing Annie, since she was the reporter I always wished I could be, and Brett, who was so entirely not of my world that it was fun to spend a couple of years with her.

But I am not inclined, as many have suggested, to write and then self-publish more books in both series online. I have been watching the rise of the ebook self-publishing phenomenon, but I am not yet ready to take that leap myself. I feel I still need to have my work vetted by a publishing professional. Are there problems in traditional publishing? Sure, as in every business. But my ego is not big enough to think that my work can go out in the world based solely on the fact that I think it's just fine the way it is and people should read it.

So with two series over and no desire to self-publish, I am perched on the aforementioned turning point. I have written a young adult novel and a middle grade boy adventure book. I have tons of short starts on my flash drive, one of which I have focused on at the moment. I also have another idea for a young adult book and am fleshing out the characters and a plot. I have no idea what will happen with any of these projects, but they are all completely different than what I've published before.

I don't like writing the same thing over and over. I like to stretch myself creatively, and that's what I plan to do in this new year. I want to hear new voices and embark on new adventures, pulling myself out of my comfort zone just to see if I can do it. My agent said recently that when he opens one of my files, he has no idea what he'll be reading. That's exactly the reaction I'm looking for. I know readers do like the "sameness" of series and an author's voice, but writers like Stewart O'Nan and Jess Walter intrigue me because I never know what I'm going to read when I open one of their books.

So here's to the new year!