Things are finally settling into something I’m calling my new normal. My kitchen table is down to just three piles–a stack of clothes that need to go to the dry cleaner, a reminder from my realtor that I need to get downtown to file the homestead exemption for my new house, and the stack of documents needed for my tax return. A stack-free table is within my grasp for the first time since I moved.
Preparations for my first public appearance as a romance novelist last week kept me busy. I had to go downtown to the zoning board and get permission to operate a business (Michael Rupured, Author) out of my home. Then I took the paper they gave me (after I paid $5) to another city-county government office where I paid $52 for the business license I had to have to sell my books.
The event was a conference for about four hundred teachers, most of whom know me because they’ve attended teacher training events I’ve done via my day job. The majority are also the same demographic that read gay romance–middle-aged straight women. I hoped I’d have enough books to meet the demand. I ended up selling one book, to a colleague who I think felt bad about the lack of interest in my booth, and gave away three autographed copies for door prizes. Bombing that bad with a group who know me well tells me this show ain’t quite ready for the road.
Until Thanksgiving spent more than a month on the Bestsellers List on the Dreamspinner Press website, peaking at number ten on the overall list (number one for paperbacks) before falling off the lists. My first novel isn’t the next 50 Shades, but it’s done far better than I ever expected so I’m beyond pleased. I’m still waiting to hear the verdict on the prequel, After Christmas Eve, which my writers group is within three weeks of finishing.
For any of you aspiring authors, writing the first book is the hardest. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had to figure a lot of things out along the way that, had I known before I started writing, would have made for a different first novel. The second novel benefited from that experience, but presented new challenges that I had to figure out how to resolve. I assume that’s the way it goes for all authors. Writing fiction is a learning process, and at least for a while, you can expect that each book will be better than the one before.
Whether this is true for others I don’t know, but I’d also say that writing fiction is more addictive than any drug on the market. That’s why I haven’t been blogging much. I’m 25,000 words into my third novel (about 60 pages) and I can’t put it down. We’ll see what others have to say sooner or later, but I feel like it’s my best work yet.
It’s not like anything I’ve written before. For starters, I’m writing it in first person rather than third person limited. This gives me the opportunity to get inside the main character’s head a lot more and to show him thinking things that don’t always jive with his actions. Unlike my previous two books, I stay in the main character’s Point of View from beginning to end. So far, I’m having a blast writing so much internal dialogue.
My first two novels open on one day and continue more or less day-by-day for a couple of months until the end of the story. Number three is episodic. The story continues over several decades with a narrative that often fast forwards or jumps months and years at a time. It’s a different style of writing with a new set of challenges that so far, I’m enjoying.
There’s no serial killer in this one. The tension and stakes are character driven. Talk about a new challenge. Every time I get stuck, I think about throwing a murder into the mix.
Beyond that, there’s not much I can tell you. I have a very loose outline in mind, but for the most part, I’m making the story and subplots up as I go. We’ll see where it goes. I’ll keep you posted.