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The Author Next Door

I had the privilege of being on a conference call yesterday with many of the authors that Carina has signed to date. We were gathered to meet the team at Harlequin HQ that is behind this new imprint/press, and to talk about some of the initial marketing plans for our stories. It was interesting, but what I really loved was hearing the voices of the other authors.

Voices are not reliable indicators of anything but vocal cord length and possibly cigarette addiction, but I still came out of the meeting with some impressions. The authors of Carina vary from their 20s to possibly their 60s. We live from Australia to Canada to California to Maryland. There are people with perfect television news diction, and people with rural drawls. Some of us are gregarious, and others are painfully shy. (Some of us are painfully shy but have faked vivacity for so long that we can fool people.) There are established writers, and there are people who just made their first sale.

There’s no single type at all.

Most of you reading this probably found the link from a writer’s forum where we both hang out. Some of you might be struggling with doubt. I know I do. But here goes:

If you have completed a work of fiction, you are a writer. There’s no graduation ceremony, and you don’t get a badge. But you are still a writer. If someone buys your work, you are a published writer.

Sometimes I feel a little silly, writing. A writer ought to have a pot of tea or a glass of bourbon sitting beside them on a clean oak desk that gleams with the patina of age. A writer should be intellectual and be able to quote important books. I am certain that jackets with leather elbow patches are involved somewhere.

Right now, my desk (some kind of brown wood from Crate and Barrel) features:

– A box of crayons I took from my son when I realized he was feeding them to the dog.

– A bottle of antibacterial kitchen cleaner I took from my son when I realized he had figured out how to drag a ladder to the laundry room shelf where such things are stored. (In his defense, he was cleaning up dog barf. A two year old cleaning up dog barf ends up needing to be cleaned, though.)

– Holding up the printer is a heap of papers with things like “IRA statement” and “dental insurance” and “thank you for your donation” on them.

– Under the paper heap is a single fork even though I promised my husband I would stop eating at the computer.

– Ink pens are corralled in a plastic photo mug featuring a picture of myself in college, flashing the peace sign,  surrounded by my friends.

– A framed snapshot of my husband taken the day I realized I had fallen in love with him.

– A toy car taken from my son, or more accurately, the floor after he chucked it at the dog.

– Fourteen sticky notes are plastered on the CPU case, featuring ideas for marketing, plot points, books I want to read, and the exact longitude and latitude of my house so I can look up which satellites are passing overhead on any given night.

– A half-eaten banana.

I’m still a writer. So are you.

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Categories: Thinking Tags: ,
  1. March 5, 2010 at 11:29 PM

    Sometimes I feel a little silly, writing. A writer ought to have a pot of tea or a glass of bourbon sitting beside them on a clean oak desk that gleams with the patina of age. A writer should be intellectual and be able to quote important books. I am certain that jackets with leather elbow patches are involved somewhere.

    This really spoke to me. What a hoot! I always longed for one of those antique roll-top desks myself. Jackets with leather elbow patches…most of the time I seem to write in my pj’s. lol

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