I had one of those dark years where everything in life changes and it takes a long time to put the pieces back together and find “the new normal” – but here’s what I learned from the experience:
1.) Books transport you out of the stress and despair and into a whole other world where people have bigger problems than you. In this way, they give you perspective and they entertain you when you think there’s nothing on the planet that you can focus on. I will be forever grateful to Mercy Thompson (a great heroine from Patricia Briggs) and Jane Yellowrock (another of my “girlfriends” from Faith Hunter) for keeping me company on some really dark days. Those two series brought me through the scariest time in my life – and even made me laugh when I didn’t think I could. I went from therapy writing to therapy reading but I’m on my way back again.
2.) Writing takes tremendous concentration – and when I’m stressed I have the attention span of a gnat. I haven’t been able to string two coherent sentences together for an entire year but…
3.) Research is the first step toward recovery. I might not have been able to write, but I sure did put in some late nights at the computer researching for my next books. I haven’t lost the passion to write, just the time and focus – but that’s shifting back. Arienne’s on a new adventure, there’s a new heroine with a mystery to solve, and two other books I’m co-authoring with my good friend April Chanderon. 2016 should be an exciting year!
4.) At my core, I weathered the storm quite well. My characters have the same ability – when other people might crumble, they don’t – when sane people would give up, they forge ahead. There’s a little part of the author in every character – and I’m sure I’m not the only author who stitches together characters with bits and pieces of myself.
5.) I still write “smart, fun fantasy” because everyone needs an escape. That won’t change because I learned that escaping into a good book is salvation – and I am more than willing to have Arienne, Callie, and Cleo hold someone else’s hand through the scary times life sometimes brings.