My sunshine months continue with a marvelous stay on the East Coast. I spent a weekend on Long Island attending the wedding of a good friend, where I was reunited with several of the Dollbabies. This is the group of extraordinary women that I meet with each year for a week of writing and relaxation at Virginia Beach.
Not a fan of flying anywhere for just a couple nights, I extended my stay to spend a few days with fellow author, editor, and all-around amazing person, Terri-Lynne DeFino. Terri’s home is a veritable sanctuary, a large yet somehow cozy house nestled in a riverside woodland. There are fairies here, I’m certain. And gnomes. There are also bears, coyotes, and turkeys (though I haven’t seen any yet). And four lovely cats (I’ve definitely seen those).
My write time has been devoted this week to The Hunting Grounds. I thought I was just shy of finishing, but then I decided to expand one of the character points of view. So I’ve added several chapters to my to-do list. But I’m getting close, very close.
My work on The Hunting Grounds has taught me something: every novel I craft is somehow closer to my heart than the last. I remember feeling this way when I first wrote Eolyn. Again when I journeyed through Sword of Shadows, and just as intensely when I completed Daughter of Aithne.
Now I’m working on my fourth novel, and like every novel before this one, I find myself thinking that no other story has been closer to my heart, more daring in its intimacy. I like to believe this is a healthy sign; a reflection of an instinct that leads me to craft the appropriate novel in the precise moment; an openness to my inner creative life that is at once thrilling and scary.
Thrilling because, shouldn’t we all dig ever deeper as authors? And isn’t this evidence that I’m doing just that?
Scary because sooner or later someone will read, and presumably judge, this latest baring of my soul. What will be their response? Understanding? Indifference? Scorn and ridicule?
It shouldn’t matter, I know. Once we give our stories to the broader world, they are no longer ours, but rather, belong to the reader. They must have the freedom to interpret our tales, just as we had the freedom to write them.
Still, there’s always a little piece of me that cares about what others might think, and whether they will understand. To deny that would be dishonest to myself and to all of you. And at the end of the day, worrying about their response, at least a little, once in a while, probably makes me a better writer.
One thing’s for certain: if you’re strong enough to bare your soul in the first place, you will be strong enough survive that exposure, no matter what the outcome.
You will also find others who appreciate and share this strength, and as time goes on, they will become your soul mates, bringing as much beauty and depth to your life as you seek to give to your stories.
Join us on Monday, June 20th, for the official cover reveal of SWORD OF SHADOWS, Book Two of THE SILVER WEB.