Thursday, April 16, 2009
I'll bet you thought it was my birthday. Nope, that big 5-0 is a memory. As is book number 50. The thing that amazes me is that I just sold my 50th Intrigue-SAVING GRACE-to Harlequin.
Amazing that Intrigue still wants my stories...amazing that the line still exists (remember Young Love? Shadows? Harper Monogram? Bombshell? I wrote for them, too)...amazing that I still want to write for the same line after 25 years.
I'm one of those people who gets bored if I do the same thing for too long. They say that the average person has 3 careers in her or his life, and for me that has been true-media production, writing and teaching. Only I've been published for 26 years now (teaching for nearly 20) far longer than the average career would last in the three career life. When I was supervisor of television production for a community college, I realized I was ready to leave when I'd done all I could to improve and expand the facility and learn every aspect of production that I could. And started to get bored. Luckily, I was already fairly well published. So I made the switch to full time writer.
How have I lasted writing the same type of book for so many years?
Our culture changes. The market changes. Editors change. I made sure my books changed. I didn't want to get bored, and I didn't want my readers to get bored, either.
When I started writing for Intrigue, we couldn't kill off our characters. Romantic suspense without murder-imagine that. So my first few Intrigues were romantic mysteries with a little danger thrown in using a blackmail plot or kidnapping or espionage. Then they relaxed the no murder rule, so I wrote murder mysteries and added more suspense.
Another no-no in the early years was paranormal elements. Eventually, I tried adding one anyway-subtly-and was lucky to sell the story, and since then a few of us have been allowed to write paranormal romantic suspense for Intrigue.
When the idea of continuing characters interested me, I connected three stories and wrote the very first Intrigue series, though for some reason it wasn't given a flash.
My next and most popular (and continuing) series-The McKenna Legacy-stars protagonists with "gifts" inherited from their grandmother. I wanted to play with the different kinds of psychic abilities. I ran out of the original McKennas, but they were so well-received that I was asked to continue. So starting in August, The McKenna Legacy: Family Secrets begins with STEALING THUNDER.
Several years ago, authors Rebecca York and Ann Voss Peterson and I developed the first of three "serial suspense" stories (connected romantic suspense novellas that tell one suspense story) and then more recently, two three book series.
I look back and am somewhat amazed by the progression of the line and my own involvement with it. I feel extraordinarily lucky that I've been given the latitude to experiment and try new things and hope that continues since I intend never to let writing bore me.