If you were to write a non-fiction book, what would your topic be?
Well here's the thing - I already wrote a non-fiction book. Actually, come to think of it, I wrote two! Only one was published, though, because right around the time the second one was wrapped up and ready to submit, I went a little nuts and wrote A BAD DAY FOR SORRY and I haven't looked back.
Remember I was telling y'all about my Dad a while back? Well, back in the bad old dot-com era, things were kind of grim around here. We went from being paper millionaires to paupers overnight, like so many folks. I was a merry housewife at the time, but as I cast about for ways to make a little extra scratch (I have promised Dan that I will tell him the worst job I ever had over a beer at Bouchercon next year; it happened during this little interlude in our lives and I swear you will never, ever guess what it was), my Dad had a great idea - that we could collaborate on a book. And so, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr: The Supreme Court and American Legal Thought was born. I think I made $1500 and, for a matter of a few months, knew all there was to know about that Supreme Court bad boy.
Then I promptly forgot every bit of it.
The other book I wrote was on quilting. I created all my own patterns and sewed in the evenings. You would be astonished to know the depth of my quilt knowledge; I bet there's not a single technique I haven't tried or written about or researched - no notion I haven't owned - no fabric I haven't put into service, no fiber or embellishment or batting I haven't experimented with. I made wedding gowns and drapes and baby clothes too, but my quilt madness reached such heights that I started filling notebooks with my designs and notes.
But...the other day I went to fix a hole in Junior's jeans, and I'd forgotten how to thread my machine.
The point here is that I'm a fiction writer now, in the blood, and nothing else will ever hold my interest the same way. I think the stories in my head have shoved all the actual fact-type knowledge into a far corner, where it's piled up carelessly and I can't reach it. There will be no further non-fiction books from me. I tell people I'll turn back to quilting one of these days when I get a spare moment, but the truth is that I probably won't - I'll just keep writing stories. In fact, I finished a book the other day and since then I've written nothing but emails and blog posts and workshop proposals, and if I don't get to start lyin' and carrying on soon I believe I'll just about lose my sanity.
Speaking of a loss of sanity...yes, I really did once sew these fabric chickens